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Gift giving guide gives good guidance

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- As summer approaches and PCS season begins, it's time to say goodbye to many co-workers as they PCS or retire. But, please ensure you and your office comply with the ethical guidelines of gift giving in the federal government.

The general rule is that a superior may not accept a gift from a subordinate, but there are some exceptions. First, on a special occasion, such as marriage, PCS or retirement, a supervisor may receive a gift of up to $10 per-person, or $300 total from the combined gifts of subordinates. For example, 30 people in an office may voluntarily contribute $10 each, totaling $300, to a shadow box for a retiring service member from their office. Remember, gifts are voluntary and may not be coerced.

Second, a gift may be accepted on an occasional basis when gifts are ordinarily exchanged, such as a birthday or holiday. But such "special occasion" gifts may not exceed $10. For example, during the holidays a supervisor may accept a poinsettia valued at $8 from his or her secretary.

For more guidance on ethics or other legal issues, contact the 21st Space Wing Judge Advocate office at 556-4871 or email

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