CEO 75-94 -- April 28, 1975
STANDARDS OF CONDUCT
USE OF SERVICES OF STATE AGENCIES BY STATE EMPLOYEE FOR PURPOSES OF PRIVATE BUSINESS VENTURE
To: Albert L. Kemmesies, Division of Youth Services, Tampa
Prepared by: Carol Ann Turner
The use by a state employee of the services of the Florida State Employment Service or the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in order to recruit employees for a private business enterprise creates no conflict prohibited by part III, Ch. 112, F. S. (1974 Supp.). It is not the intent of the Code of Ethics to prevent any public officer or employee from pursuing private business interests so long as such private interests do not conflict with public duty. Such employee is also free, under the Code of Ethics, to solicit sales of his privately manufactured product from the Division of Youth Services so long as any sales are contracted with full public competition pursuant to s. 112.311, F. S.
1. Will a conflict of interest be created if I, as an employee of the Division of Youth Services, utilize the services of the Florida State Employment Service or the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to obtain employees for my part-time business?
2. Would it constitute a conflict of interest for me, as a state employee with the Division of Youth Services, to solicit rubber stamp sales to state agencies?
Question 1 is answered in the negative.
We are of the opinion that neither the letter nor the spirit of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees would be violated by your utilization of these state agencies inasmuch as you exert no control over either. Furthermore, in construing the employment restrictions of this law we are guided by s. 112.316, F. S. (1974 Supp.), which states in pertinent part:
It is not the intent of this part, nor shall it be construed, to prevent any officer or employee of a state agency . . . from accepting other employment or following any pursuit which does not interfere with the full and faithful discharge . . . of his duties to the state.
Question 2 is also answered in the negative.
Section 112.313(2), F. S. (1974 Supp.), specifically permits an employee of an agency to own a material interest in a business entity doing business with the agency by which he is employed so long as such business is contracted with full public competition. Section 112.311, supra, provides in part:
Public officials should not be denied the opportunity, available to all other citizens, to acquire and retain private economic interests except where conflicts with the responsibility of such officials to the public cannot be avoided.
Assuming that your department has no regulations restricting your employment, we are of the opinion that you, as a state employee, are permitted to engage in a business which contracts with state agencies on the basis of competitive bidding.