CEO 77-9 -- February 1, 1977
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
COUNTY CHARTER REVIEW COMMISSIONER CONTRACTING WITH PARTY DOING BUSINESS WITH COUNTY
To: Gilmer A. MacDougald, Broward County Charter Review Commission, Fort Lauderdale
Prepared by: Bonnie Johnson
Section 112.313(7)(a), F. S. 1975, prohibits a public officer from having employment or a contractual relationship with a business entity which does business with the officer's public agency or which would interfere with the discharge of public duties. This provision is not violated, however, where a member of a county charter review commission advises a party relative to a financial proposition to the county commission, because the officer's agency is the charter review commission rather than the county commission with which the business is proposed. See s. 112.312(2), F. S. (1976 Supp.).
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were I, a member of a county charter review commission, to advise a party relative to a financial proposition to the county commission for the building of a county facility?
Your question is answered in the negative.
You advise in your letter of inquiry that you serve on the Broward County Charter Review Commission which, by a 5-2 or greater majority vote, proposes amendments to the county charter to be placed on the ballot for acceptance or rejection by the electorate. In your private capacity, you wish to advise a party relative to making a financial proposition to the county commission for the purpose of building a new facility. Should the county accept the proposal of the party and transaction be consummated, you would be compensated by the party. You further advise that you would have no role in the commission's decision-making process.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides in relevant part as follows:
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. [Section 112.313(7)(a), F. S. 1975.]
A public officer thus is prohibited from having employment or a contractual relationship with a business entity which does business with the officer's public agency or which would interfere with the discharge of his public duties.
For purposes of the Code of Ethics, your agency is the county charter review commission. See s. 112.312(2), F. S. (1976 Supp.). Accordingly, the party you propose to advise, which constitutes a business entity pursuant to s. 112.312(3), would be doing business not with your agency, but with the county commission. We therefore find no violation of the first clause of the above-quoted s. 112.313(7)(a). As you would not participate in the commission's consideration of the proposal, neither do we perceive any interference with your public duty pursuant to the second clause.
Consequently, we find no prohibited conflict of interest in your advising a party relative to a financial proposal to be made to the county commission.