CEO 81-85 -- December 18, 1981
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
COMMUNITY COLLEGE TRUSTEE WHOSE SPOUSE TEACHES AT COLLEGE
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created were the spouse of a part-time instructor at a community college to accept a position on the board of trustees of the community college. In this instance, the subject instructor has been hired by the president of the college rather than by its board of trustees. As to voting conflicts of interest which might arise, CEO 77-57 is referenced.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were the spouse of a part-time instructor at a community college to accept a position on the board of trustees of the community college?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that .... is employed full- time as a curriculum coordinator at a public elementary school. In addition, one night a week he teaches two classes at Indian River Community College. He has been doing this for approximately seven years, teaching three semesters a year. You also advise that .... has been offered a position as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Community College.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides:
DOING BUSINESS WITH ONE'S AGENCY. -- No employee of an agency acting in his official capacity as a purchasing agent, or public officer acting in his official capacity, shall either directly or indirectly purchase, rent, or lease any realty, goods, or services for his own agency from any business entity of which he or his spouse or child is an officer, partner, director, or proprietor or in which such officer or employee or his spouse or child, or any combination of them, has a material interest. Nor shall a public officer or employee, acting in a private capacity, rent, lease, or sell any realty, goods, or services to his own agency, if he is a state officer or employee, or to any political subdivision or any agency thereof, if he is serving as an officer or employee of that political subdivision. The foregoing shall not apply to district offices maintained by legislators when such offices are located in the legislator's place of business. This subsection shall not affect or be construed to prohibit contracts entered into prior to:
(a) October 1, 1975.
(b) Qualification for elective office.
(c) Appointment to public office.
(d) Beginning public employment.
[Section 112.313(3), F. S.]
This provision prohibits a member of the board of trustees of a community college from acting in her official capacity to directly or indirectly purchase any services for the college from a business entity of which her spouse is a proprietor. However, we need not determine whether the teaching services provided to the College by the subject instructor are provided in the form of a business entity of which he is the proprietor, since in a telephone conversation with our staff you advised that the Board of Trustees has not hired the subject instructor. Rather, you advised, the President of the College is responsible for hiring.
Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest exists where the spouse of a part-time instructor at Indian River Community College serves on the Board of Trustees of the College. As you have noted in your letter of inquiry, there may be instances in which the Board of Trustees would consider matters, such as pay raises, affecting instructional personnel. CEO 77-57 would be helpful in this regard.