CEO 76-202 -- November 18, 1976
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER SERVING AS MEMBER OF ADVISORY BOARD OF FLORIDA COUNCIL ON ECONOMIC EDUCATION
To: Charles J. McGlave, Member, Clay County School Board, Keystone Heights
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
Where a member of a district school board sits on the Advisory Board of the Florida Council on Economic Education, no conflict of interest is created pursuant to Florida Statute s. 112.313(3)(1975), because the school board does not do business with the council. Neither is s. 112.313(7)(a)(1975) violated, as appointment to the advisory board constitutes neither employment nor a contractual relationship.
Does a prohibited conflict of interest exist where I, an elected member of a district school board, am also a member of the Advisory Board of the Florida Council on Economic Education?
Your question is answered in the negative.
We understand from your letter of inquiry that the Florida Council on Economic Education (FCEE) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan, incorporated educational organization and that you have been appointed by the Florida Commissioner of Education to serve gratuitously as a member of the advisory board to the FCEE. You further advise that the Florida Legislature has appropriated funds to the FCEE which may be given to the school board on which you serve, presumably to be spent to foster the economic education of students in your county.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides as follows:
DOING BUSINESS WITH ONE'S AGENCY. -- No employee of an agency acting in his official capacity as a purchasing agent, or public officer acting in his official capacity, shall either directly or indirectly purchase, rent, or lease any realty, goods, or services for his own agency from any business entity of which he or his spouse or child is an officer, partner, director, or proprietor or in which such officer or employee or his spouse or child, or any combination of them, has a material interest. Nor shall a public officer or employee, acting in a private capacity, rent, lease, or sell any realty, goods, or services to his own agency, if he is a state officer or employee, or to any political subdivision or any agency thereof, if he is serving as an officer or employee of that political subdivision . . . . [Fla. Stat. s. 112.313(3)(1975).]
We understand that the district school board does not purchase, rent, or lease any realty, goods, or services from the FCEE and that the FCEE merely provides funds to the school board without receiving consideration from the board for the use of those funds. Therefore, we find that under this section of the Code of Ethics you do not have a prohibited conflict of interest. The Code of Ethics further provides as follows:
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, excluding those organizations and their officers who, when acting in their official capacity, enter into or negotiate a collective bargaining contract with the state or any municipality, county, or other political subdivision of the state; 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)(a)(1975).]
This provision prohibits a public officer from having employment or a contractual relationship with any business entity which does business with an agency of which he is an officer. In addition, it prohibits an officer from holding employment or having a contractual relationship that will create a frequently recurring conflict between his private interests and his public duties. We find that you do not have an employment relationship with the FCEE because you are serving without pay. See CEO 76-21. We further find that you do not have a contractual relationship with the FCEE because you are an appointed member of its advisory board. Accordingly, we find no prohibited conflict of interest under this provision between your duties as a member of the school board and your duties as a member of the Advisory Board of the FCEE.