CEO 77-21 -- February 17, 1977
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
MEMBER OF DHRS DISTRICT ADVISORY COUNCIL SERVING ON BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND AS TREASURER OF NONPROFIT MENTAL HEALTH CORPORATION
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
Reference is made to CEO 77-16. No violation of the standards of conduct provisions of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees is constituted where a member of a district advisory council to the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services also serves on the board of directors and as treasurer of a nonprofit mental health corporation which receives funds from the department.
Does a prohibited conflict of interest exist where a member of a district advisory council for the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (DHRS) also serves on the board of directors and as treasurer of a nonprofit, mental health corporation which receives funds from DHRS?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of request you have stated that Mr. Richard Fenton is an appointed member of the District V Advisory Council for the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services. In addition, he is on the Board of Directors and serves as Treasurer of Pasco Mental Health Services, Inc.
District advisory councils of DHRS have been established pursuant to s. 20.19(5), F. S. (1976 Supp.), in order to assist in the coordination and integration of the health, social, and rehabilitative services provided by DHRS with those provided in the district by other public and private agencies and in order to provide citizen input on departmental policies. The duties of such councils include:
1. Advising the district administrator with respect to the administration of the department's service programs within the district and the improvement of coordination and integration of the department's programs and services with those provided within the district by other public and private agencies.
2. Advising the Assistant Secretary for Program Planning and Development and the staff directors of the program offices with respect to client needs within the district.
3. Assisting the department in the evaluation of its operation.
4. Interpreting to the community, through the personal contacts and involvements of its members, the various services provided by the department.
5. Providing a forum for receiving citizen complaints on general problems relating to the department.
6. Advising on the coordination of service delivery within the district. [Section 20.19(5)(a), F. S. (1976 Supp.).]
Pasco Mental Health Services, Inc., is a nonprofit corporation organized to provide mental health services within the county. It is funded primarily by DHRS pursuant to a contract with that department. The subject councilman receives no compensation for his services on the advisory council or as treasurer and member of the board of directors of the corporation.
In CEO 77-16, a copy of which is enclosed, this commission found no conflict of interest where an employee of DHRS wished to serve on the board of directors of a nonprofit corporation which provided mental health services. We find that the rationale of that opinion is equally applicable to the subject councilman in the present case, and we accordingly find that no prohibited conflict of interest exists in the instant situation.