CEO 77-69 -- April 21, 1977
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
CITY COUNCIL MEMBER SERVING AS CERTIFIED RESERVE POLICE OFFICER FOR THE CITY WITHOUT PAY
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
Reference is made to CEO 76-21. Where services are provided without compensation and without employee benefits, "employment" is not deemed to be constituted. Thus, a city councilman who serves without pay and without workmen's compensation as a certified reserve police officer is not engaged in conflicting employment within the terms of s. 112.313(7)(a), F. S. 1975.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest exist were a member of a city council to serve as a certified reserve police officer for the city without pay?
Your question is answered in the negative.
According to information provided by Ms. Barbara Fitzgerald, the City Clerk of the City of Edgewood, in a telephone conversation with our staff, Mr. Dan Drummond, a member of the City Council of the City of Edgewood, wishes to serve as a certified reserve police officer for the city. The city police department consists of four officers, one investigator, and the Chief of Police, who is hired by the city council. In addition, there are approximately eight to ten reserve officers who are paid to provide additional help to the police department when needed and who occasionally fill in for a regular officer who is unable to work his shift. The subject city councilman, on the other hand, would serve as a volunteer reserve officer and would not be compensated for his work; nor is he covered by workmen's compensation while serving as a police officer.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides in relevant part:
EMPLOYEES HOLDING OFFICE. -- No employee of a state agency or of a county, municipality, special taxing district, or other political subdivision of the state shall hold office as a member of the governing board, council, commission, or authority, by whatever name known, which is his employer while, at the same time, continuing as an employee of such employer. [Section 112.313(10)(a), F. S. 1975.]
This provision prohibits a member of a city council from also being employed by the city which he serves. However, because the subject city councilman will not be compensated for his service as a reserve police officer, he will in effect be donating his time to the city. In addition, he is not considered to be an "employee" of the city for purposes of workmen's compensation. We therefore find that he will not be an employee of the city. See CEO 76-21.
Accordingly, we find that the Code of Ethics does not prohibit a member of a city council from serving as a certified reserve police officer for the city without pay.