CEO 77-3 -- February 1, 1977
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
SPOUSE OF MAYOR SERVING ON CHARTER REVIEW COMMITTEE
To: Grace D. Walker, Mayor, Melbourne Village
Prepared by: Bonnie Johnson
No provision of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees prohibits spouses from holding public offices within the same political subdivision. Accordingly, no conflict is found to be created where the spouse of a municipal mayor serves on that municipality's charter review committee.
Is a prohibited conflict of interest created where I, the mayor of a municipality, am the wife of one who sits on that municipality's charter review committee?
Your question is answered in the negative.
You advise us in your letter of inquiry that you are Mayor of the Town of Melbourne Village and that your spouse is a member of the town's charter review committee. You further advise that the charter review committee serves in an advisory capacity to the town commission, which either approves or changes the work of the committee. A public hearing is then called before changes in the town charter are submitted for public referendum.
There are only two subsections of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees which specifically deal with a public officer or employee and his or her spouse:
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 . . . . [Section 112.313(3), F. S. 1975.]
UNAUTHORIZED COMPENSATION. -- No public officer or employee of an agency or his spouse or minor child shall, at any time, accept any compensation, payment, or thing of value when such public officer or employee knows, or, with the exercise of reasonable care, should know, that it was given to influence a vote or other action in which the officer or employee was expected to participate in his official capacity. [Section 112.313(4), F. S. 1975.]
As you can see, neither of the above relates to spouses holding office within the same political subdivision. Accordingly, we find no prohibited conflict of interest where you serve as mayor of a municipality while your spouse serves on the charter review committee of that municipality.