CEO 82-3 -- January 25, 1982
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
COUNTY DEPUTY COMPTROLLER SERVING ON SCHOOL BOARD
To: Eugene A. Galvin, Assistant Comptroller, Orlando
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created under the Code of Ethics were a chief deputy comptroller of a county to be elected to the county school board, since the board of county commissioners which governs the county and the district school board are separate, distinct, and independent political subdivisions. It is suggested that advice be sought from the Attorney General regarding the possible application of the dual officeholding prohibition of Article II, Section 5, Florida Constitution, and the Resign-to-Run Law, Section 99.012, Florida Statutes, to the position of chief deputy comptroller.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were you, the chief deputy comptroller of Orange County, to be elected as a member of the Orange County School Board?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that in Orange County the functions of the constitutional officers of Clerk of the Circuit and County Courts are performed by the Clerk of the Circuit Court and by the County Comptroller, who is an elected statutory officer serving as County Recorder, County Auditor, and Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, as well as Custodian of County Funds, Treasurer, and Accountant. You also advise that you have been appointed under Section 28.06, Florida Statutes, as Chief Deputy Comptroller, in which position you assist the Comptroller in exercising any of the powers of his office, except for the power of appointing of other deputies.
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. (1981).]
In a previous opinion, CEO 77-95, we found that this provision does not apply to situations in which an individual is holding two offices, as opposed to one position which is an office and another position which is an employment. Although you advised that your position is an "appointed employment" with the County Comptroller, it is not clear that as Chief Deputy Comptroller you are an employee, rather than an officer, of the County.
However, we need not resolve this question, since we find that even if you are an employee rather than an officer, Section 112.313(7)(a) would not prohibit your serving as an elected member of the School Board. In a previous opinion, CEO 76-59, we advised that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created under the Code of Ethics were a member of a district school board to be employed as county building inspector within the same county. We find that the rationale of this opinion equally is applicable to the situation you have presented, since the Board of County Commissioners and the District School Board are separate, distinct, and independent political subdivisions.
Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created under the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees were you, a Chief Deputy Comptroller, to be elected to the County School Board. In addition, we would suggest that you seek an opinion from the Attorney General regarding the application of the dual officeholding prohibition of Article II, Section 5, Florida Constitution, and the Resign-to-Run Law, Section 99.012, Florida Statutes, to your position as Chief Deputy Comptroller.