CEO 75-206 -- November 6, 1975
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
VICE-MAYOR AND ELECTED MEMBER OF TOWN COUNCIL EMPLOYED BY COMPANY DOING BUSINESS WITH MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES
To: Burton B. Loebl, Town Attorney, Town of Surfside
Prepared by: Gene Rhodes
Reference is made to CEO 75-127. A vice-mayor and member of the town council may not solicit the sale of financial services among employees of the municipality in which he serves. Such solicitation places employees in an untenable position and therefore constitutes a violation of s. 112.311, F. S. (1974 Supp.), which provides "that public office not be used for private gain other than remuneration provided by law."
Does a conflict of interest exist under the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees where Mr. Girardeau, Vice-Mayor and elected member of the Town Council of the Town of Surfside, does business with municipal employees as a representative of I.D.S., a company offering deferred financial compensation plans?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
Your letters of August 27 and September 22, 1975, inform us that Mr. Girardeau is an exclusive representative for I.D.S., a financial service organization. As representative, he receives a commission upon the sale of financial services or particular products. We also understand that the Surfside Town Manager, rather than the town council, possesses the authority to hire and terminate municipal employees.
Regardless of its inability to directly hire or terminate town employees, however, the town council is the regulatory body for such persons. For example, the council's power to approve a budget determines the very existence of most municipal positions. We therefore believe that the rationale set forth in a previous opinion of this commission, CEO 75-127, is equally applicable to your inquiry. It is our view that a municipal employee is placed in an untenable position when offered a business proposition by a vice- mayor/councilman.
We therefore view such solicitation as constituting a violation of the legislative intent of the Code of Ethics which provides, in pertinent part, "that public office not be used for private gain other than remuneration provided by law." Section 112.311, F. S. (1974 Supp.).
Enclosed please find a copy of CEO 75-127. Your question is answered accordingly.