CEO 76-47 -- March 16, 1976
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
CITY COUNCILMAN EMPLOYED BY BUSINESS RECEIVING CITY SERVICES
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Gene Rhodes
The Code of Ethics provides that no public officer may hold employment with a business entity subject to the regulation of or doing business with the officer's agency. See Fla. Stat. s. 112.313(7)(1975). Where a city councilman is employed by a mobile home park which receives water, sewer, and garbage services from the city, however, no conflict is deemed to exist pursuant to s. 112.316(1975), inasmuch as the purchase of such municipal services, unavailable elsewhere, does not interfere with the full and faithful discharge of the subject councilman's public duties.
Does a prohibited conflict of interest exist where a city councilman is employed as assistant manager of a mobile home park which is provided with water, sewer, and garbage collection by the city?
Your question is answered in the negative.
You have advised us that the subject city councilman's father owns a mobile home park which is located in the city. The councilman does not own an interest in his father's business; however, he is employed as assistant manager of the park. The facts which give rise to this inquiry have created some doubt as to whether a conflict of interest exists inasmuch as the park is provided with water and sewer services and with garbage collection by the city.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees states in relevant part:
CONFLICTING EMPLOYMENT OR CONTRACTUAL RELATIONSHIP. --
(a) No public officer or employee of an agency shall have or hold any employment or contractual relationship with any business entity or any agency which is subject to the regulation of, or is doing business with, an agency of which he is an officer or employee . . .; nor shall an officer or employee of an agency have or hold any employment or contractual relationship that will create a continuing or frequently recurring conflict between his private interests and the performance of his public duties or that would impede the full and faithful discharge of his public duties. [Emphasis supplied; Fla. Stat. s. 112.313(7)(1975).]
The above-quoted provision prohibits a public officer from having employment with a business entity which is doing business with his agency; however, we must read this provision in light of another section of the Code of Ethics which states:
CONSTRUCTION. -- It is not the intent of this part, nor shall it be construed, to prevent any officer or employee of a state agency or county, city, or other political subdivision of the state or any legislator or legislative employee from accepting other employment or following any pursuit which does not interfere with the full and faithful discharge by such officer, employee, legislator, or legislative employee of his duties to the state or the county, city, or other political subdivision of the state involved. [Fla. Stat. s. 112.316(1975).]
The above-quoted provision makes it clear that the Code of Ethics shall not be construed to prohibit a public officer from accepting employment which does not interfere with the full and faithful discharge of his duties. In our view, the purchase of municipal services of the type described which are not obtainable from another source by the employer of a city councilman would not interfere with the full and faithful discharge of the councilman's duties. Accordingly, we find no prohibited conflict of interest in the situation you describe.