CEO 76-174 -- September 13, 1976
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
SCHOOL TEACHER OWNER OF BUSINESS SELLING TO SCHOOL AND SCHOOL BOARD
To: Eric Annett, Instructor, Sebring Middle School, Sebring
Prepared by: Bonnie Johnson
Reference is made to CEO 76-172. A conflict of interest would be created were a business entity owned by a public school teacher to sell services to the district school board or to the school in which he teaches. No conflict would exist, however, in his selling services to other schools within the district.
1. Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were a charter coach service of which I am owner to sell services to the public school in which I teach and to the district school board by which I am employed?
2. Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were the charter coach service of which I am owner to sell services to individual schools in the district other than the school at which I teach?
Question 1 is answered in the affirmative.
It is our understanding, based on your letter of inquiry and subsequent correspondence with our staff, that you are employed as an industrial arts and agriculture teacher in Sebring Middle School. Privately, you are the sole owner of the only charter coach service in Highlands County, and you wish to do business with the Highlands County School Board and with Sebring Middle School.
Enclosed please find a copy of a recent opinion of this commission, CEO 76-172, the rationale in response to question 1 of which is equally applicable to the above inquiry.
Question 2 is answered in the negative.
Question 2 of the enclosed CEO 76-172 is substantially the same as the above inquiry, and the rationale of our response thereto is equally applicable to your situation. Accordingly, we find no conflict in your selling coach services to schools other than your own.
We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated September 4, 1976, in which you point out that no charter service currently is available locally, and that charter rates, which are set by the Interstate Commerce Commission, are nonnegotiable. We have determined in a previous opinion, however, that the availability of supply sources, or lack thereof, does not affect the prohibition contained in Florida Statute s. 112.313(3)(1975). See CEO's 76-31 and 76-91. Similarly, the law provides no exemptions for businesses whose rates or prices are nonnegotiable. In our view, the intent underlying this prohibition looks not only to the potential for private profit through manipulation of charges, but also to the potential for generating private business, at whatever price, by virtue of one's public position.