CEO 75-56 -- March 31, 1975
STANDARDS OF CONDUCT
PROPRIETY OF BOARD RETAINING BOARD MEMBER'S FIRM TO MAINTAIN BOOKS AND ACCOUNTING RECORDS
To: Michael J. Appleton, Attorney, Orange County Civic Facilities Authority, Winter Park
Prepared by: Gene L. "Hal" Johnson
Section 473.30(1), F. S., prohibits Florida public accountants from bidding competitively for public accounting services within the state. Thus, the requirement set forth in s. 112.313(2), F. S. (1974 Supp.), requiring competitive bid procedures to be followed by a public officer seeking to do business with the agency of which he is an officer precludes the accounting firm in which Mr. Karl Osburn, member of the Orange County Civic Facilities Authority, owns a material interest from contracting with the authority to maintain its books and accounting records.
May the Orange County Civic Facilities Authority retain an accounting firm one of whose members, Mr. Karl Osburn, owns a material interest in the firm and also is a member of the authority itself?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In general, a public officer owning a material interest in a business entity may enter into a business transaction with an agency of which he is an officer so long as the business is contracted on a competitive bid basis. Section 112.313(2), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida. As we have noted in previous opinions raising questions under s. 112.313(2), F. S., certain laws exist over which we have no advisory jurisdiction which must be considered by public officers seeking to comply with all of the requirements of the law. See, for example, ss. 839.07 and 839.10, F. S.
As to the facts presented in the present case, we call your attention to s. 473.30(1), F. S., which states in part:
A Florida practitioner (i.e., a certified public accountant or public accountant) shall not make a competitive bid for the performance of public accounting services in this state.
Reading ss. 112.313(2) and 473.30 in concert, we must conclude that Mr. Osburn is prohibited from bidding upon the accounting contract of the Orange County Civic Facilities Authority by reason of the public accountancy law, even though the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees would permit him to own a material interest in a private business entity which contracts for the accounting services with his agency through competitive bidding.