Is it a prohibited gift of public funds if the agency allows public employees and members of the public to charge their personal vehicle at an agency charging station without imposing a fee?
Can employees be provided with free charging as an employee benefit?
Should an agency require that employees enter into an employee agreement for use of the EV charging stations?
The gift of public funds consideration seems to be the biggest legal concern among government agencies, and there are two ways to analyze the issue. As a reminder, the gift of public funds prohibition in the Washington State Constitution (article 8, section 7) is mandatory and must be strictly observed. It prohibits a local government from giving “any money, or property, or loan[ing] its money, or credit to or in aid of any individual, association, company or corporation, except for the necessary support of the poor and infirm.”
The threshold question under the gift of public funds analysis is whether providing EV charging for personal vehicles is a “fundamental governmental purpose?” If yes, no gift of public funds occurs. If no, then the question turns to whether there is consideration and donative intent.