CEO 76-113 -- June 17, 1976
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
CITY ENGINEER PRIVATELY EMPLOYED BY LOCAL ENGINEERING FIRM
To: Oscar G. Rawls, City Engineer, Jacksonville
Prepared by: Gene Rhodes
A public employee is prohibited by Florida Statute s. 112.313(7)(1975) from holding employment with any business entity subject to the regulation of that employee's public agency. An employee of the plans and permits section of a city's engineering division consequently may not accept outside employment with a private engineering firm, for the engineer's agency, the plans and permits section, must review and approve for the issuance of permits work submitted by the private firm.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were an engineer in the plans and permits section of a city's engineering division to accept part-time employment with a local engineering firm?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
You advise us in your letter of inquiry that the subject engineer is employed in the plans and permits section of your city's engineering division and has been offered a part-time job by a local engineering firm. This outside employment would not involve work on anything requiring review or approval by the city or related to the city's interest. However, the local firm does prepare plats, plans for private buildings, subdivision plans, and other private development plans that require city review, approval, and the issuance of permits. The plans and permits section performs many of the review and approval operations on such submittals.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees states in relevant part:
CONFLICTING EMPLOYMENT OR CONTRACTUAL RELATIONSHIP. -- 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. . . . [Fla. Stat. s. 112.313(7)(1975).]
This provision prohibits a public employee from having employment with a business entity subject to the regulation of his public agency. For purposes of the Code of Ethics, the subject engineer's agency is the engineering division. See Fla. Stat. s. 112.312(2)(1975). The engineering division regulates the concerned engineering firm, as it must review, approve, and issue permits relating to the firm's plats and plans.
Consequently, the Code of Ethics prohibits the subject engineer from holding his public employment while concurrently being employed by a private firm subject to the regulation of the engineering division.