CEO 77-77 -- May 19, 1977
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT FOR LEGISLATURE SERVING ON CITY PLANNING AND ZONING BOARD PLANNING AND ZONING BOARD MEMBER APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
Because appointment to a municipal planning and zoning board does not constitute having employment or a contractual relationship with such board, and because a municipality does not regulate the State Legislature, s. 112.313(7)(a), F. S. 1975, is not violated where an administrative assistant for the Legislature accepts appointment to a city planning and zoning board. However, members of planning and zoning boards are subject to the annual filing of statements of financial interests pursuant to the mandate of s. 112.3145(1)(a)2. and (2)(b), F. S. 1975.
1. Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were I, an administrative assistant to the Florida Legislature, to serve on a city planning and zoning board?
2. Am I, as a member of a municipal planning and zoning board, a "local officer" for purposes of financial disclosure?
Question 1 is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry and in a telephone conversation with our staff you have stated that you are presently employed as an administrative assistant to the Legislature and that you have been appointed as a member of the Planning and Zoning Board for the City of Dania. You have also stated that you will receive no salary as a member of the board and that the board merely advises the city commission, which takes final action. The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides in relevant part:
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 . . . ; 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.]
This provision prohibits a public officer or employee from having an employment or contractual relationship with an agency which is subject to the regulation of his agency. In addition, it prohibits a public officer or employee from having an employment or contractual relationship which would create a frequently recurring conflict between his private interests and his public duties.
As an administrative assistant and a member of a municipal planning and zoning board, you are a public employee whose agency is the Legislature and a public officer whose agency is the municipality. Section 112.312(2), F. S. 1975. We find that the first portion of the above-quoted provision does not apply to your situation first because you do not have an employment or contractual relationship with the city by virtue of your serving on its planning and zoning board, and secondly because the Legislature is not subject to the regulation of the city. Nor do we feel that your serving in both capacities would present a frequently recurring conflict, so long as you confine your activities as a board member to times other than during your regular working hours with the Legislature or for which you have taken leave from your employment.
In addition, the Code of Ethics provides:
No full-time legislative employee shall be otherwise employed during the regular hours of his primary occupation, except with the written permission of the presiding officer of the house by which he is employed, filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives or with the Secretary of the Senate, as may be appropriate. Employees of joint committees must have the permission of the presiding officers of both houses. This section shall not be construed to contravene the restrictions of s. 11.26. [Section 112.3141(2), F. S. 1975.]
However, we find this provision also to be inapplicable because you will not be "employed" as a member of the planning and zoning board.
Accordingly, we find that the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees does not prohibit you from serving as a member of a municipal planning and zoning board.
Question 2 is answered in the affirmative.
The Code of Ethics requires that each "local officer" file annual financial disclosure. Section 112.3145(2)(b), F. S. 1975. The term "local officer" is defined to include any appointed member of a municipal board, excluding any member of an advisory body unless that body has land planning, zoning or natural resources responsibilities. Section 112.3145(1)(a)2., F. S. 1975.
Accordingly, as a member of a municipal planning and zoning board, you are a "local officer" and therefore you are required to file financial disclosure annually. Please note that under s. 112.3145(2)(b) each local officer is required to file a statement of financial interests within 30 days from the date of his appointment.