San Mateo County Code of Ethical Conduct

This Code of Ethical Conduct is designed to provide guidance and standards for San Mateo County (SMC or the “County”) staff so they may serve the residents fully while holding themselves accountable to the highest standards of government. Staff will abide by and uphold this Code of Ethical Conduct.

Ethical Procurement

Public employees are stewards of public funds and must ensure that expenditures of public funds, such as through the procurement and contracting process, occur in an ethical and responsible manner.  The following Code of Ethical Conduct must be followed in relation to all procurement activities:


In public procurement accountability means that staff are responsible for their own actions and have an obligation to report or seek further guidance on actions that they believe may not follow the Code of Ethics.

It is our shared responsibility to immediately report any concerns regarding ethical conduct to a supervisor, manager, or County human resources representative and to seek guidance when in doubt.

Whistleblower Process

Further information, including contact information, is available on the Department of Human Resource’s website at


Solicitations for procurement should be conducted in a fair, open, consistent and transparent manner. Information regarding the manner in which good and services are procured should be available to all parties at the same time. Once the solicitation process has been completed, the information about the solicitation should be available to the public.


Staff should maintain the confidentiality of the procurement and proposer information until the solicitation process has been completed.


Staff must be impartial when designing and implementing the solicitation and award of contract. This includes selecting unbiased panelists for award selection.


Staff are representatives of the County and must conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner.


Staff shall comply with the Contract Handbook and any other applicable rules.

Sustainability and Social Responsibility

The County is committed to reducing emissions and finding innovative ways to conserve energy and cut waste which includes sustainable purchasing.

Department Specific Practices

It is recognized that individual departments and agencies may benefit from their own declarations of ethical principles in addition to those listed here. The same are encouraged and deemed consistent with the County’s overall purpose.