CEO 77-166 -- October 24, 1977
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER EMPLOYED BY SCHOOL AND/OR COMMUNITY COLLEGE WITHIN DISTRICT
To: Margaret Sirianni, Guidance Director, Fort Myers High School, Fort Myers
Prepared by: Bonnie Johnson
Section 112.313(10), F. S., prohibiting a public employee from holding office as a member of the governing board which is his employer, would preclude an employee of a high school from accepting appointment to the district school board while retaining her employment with the high school. As the school board has no jurisdiction over a community college, which is governed by a board of trustees, no conflict would be created were the petitioner to accept appointment to the school board while holding employment with a community college.
1. Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were I to accept appointment to fill a vacancy on a district school board while retaining my current employment by a school within that district?
2. Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were I to accept appointment to fill a vacancy on a district school board and concurrently to be employed by a community college geographically located within that school district?
Question 1 is answered in the affirmative.
You advise in your letter of inquiry that you currently serve as Guidance Director at Fort Myers High School and have been asked to submit your name for possible appointment to the Lee County School Board, within whose district the high school is located. Should you receive such appointment, you are uncertain as to what effect it would have on your current employment.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides in relevant part as follows:
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.]
As an employee of the subject high school, you are an employee of the school board to which you may seek appointment. Accordingly, the above-quoted provision would be violated were you to receive such appointment and remain an employee of the high school within that school district.
Question 2 is answered in the negative.
Section 112.313(10), quoted above, would not be applicable to the situation posed in this inquiry inasmuch as the community college's governing board is its board of trustees rather than the district school board. Section 230.753, F. S. 1975. Section 112.313(7), prohibiting a public officer from holding employment with an agency subject to the regulation of his agency, is inapplicable for the same reason. Nor, under that provision, do we perceive that such employment would create a continuing or frequently recurring conflict with the performance of your public duties as a school board member or would impede the full and faithful discharge of such duties.
We therefore find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were you to accept appointment to the subject school board while holding employment with a community college located within the boundaries of that school district.