CEO 78-72 -- October 20, 1978
CONFLICT OF INTEREST; VOTING CONFLICT
COUNTY COMMISSIONER EVALUATING QUALIFICATIONS OF CONSULTANTS AND VOTING ON RECOMMENDATIONS OF ADVISORY COMMITTEE
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
No provision of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees would prohibit a county commissioner from participating as a voting member of an advisory committee charged with reviewing qualifications of applicants for consultants and subsequently voting as a member of the commission upon the recommendation of the committee. Nor would a voting conflict under s. 112.3143, F. S., be created when he voted upon the recommendation of the committee, assuming he has no personal interest in connection with any one of the applicants so as to benefit himself or a principal by whom he is retained as a result of his vote. Your question is answered in the negative.
Does a prohibited conflict of interest exist when a county commissioner participates as a voting member of an advisory committee reviewing the qualifications of applicants and ranking applicants for consultants, if he will be voting as a member of the county commission upon the recommendation of the committee?
In your letter of inquiry you advise that ____ County, in acquiring professional architectural, engineering, landscape architectural or land surveying services, follows the procedure set forth in s. 287.055, F. S., the Consultants' Competitive Negotiation Act. In so doing, the county commission has adopted a procedure whereby a committee composed of the county administrator, county attorney, county engineer, and one county commissioner acts as an advisory board to the county commission by evaluating the qualifications of applicants and ranking them in order of preference for final action by the county commission. Normally, you advise, all formal presentations are made to the committee, with the committee discussing the qualifications, presentations, and other relevant data.
We have examined the provisions of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees and find nothing which would prohibit this practice, which we perceive as being similar to the appointment of a subcommittee for the study of a particular problem. Nor would the county commissioner who serves on this advisory committee be required to file a memorandum of voting conflict under s. 112.3143, F. S. 1977, when voting upon the recommendation of the committee, unless he has a personal interest in connection with any one of the applicants so as to benefit himself or a principal by whom he is retained as a result of his vote.