CEO 82-19 -- March 4, 1982
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
DETENTION DEPUTY SERVING AS CITY COMMISSIONER
To: Mr. Louis G. Alston, Detention Deputy, Broward County Sheriff's Department
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees would not prohibit a detention deputy employed by a sheriff's department from serving as a city commissioner. Employment as a detention deputy would not create a conflict of interest with the duties of a city commissioner, and the sheriff's department is not doing business with and is not subject to the regulation of the city.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest exist under the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees were you, a detention deputy with a sheriff's department, to be elected to serve as a city commissioner?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you are employed as a Detention Deputy for the Broward County Sheriff's Department. You also advise that you have qualified for election to the Fort Lauderdale City Commission.
You also advise that as a Detention Deputy you are an employee of the Sheriff's Department, as opposed to Deputy Sheriffs, who are public officers. Murphy v. Mack, 358 So. 2d 822 (Fla. 1978). As a Detention Deputy, you primarily are involved in security work in maintaining order and discipline among prisoners held in County detention facilities.
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).]
This provision prohibits a City Commissioner from being employed by an agency which is doing business with, or subject to the regulation of, the City. In this regard, we note that you have presented no facts or circumstances which would indicate that the County Sheriff's Department is doing business with or is subject to the regulation of the City of Fort Lauderdale. Nor does it appear that your responsibilities as a Detention Deputy would create a continuing or frequently recurring conflict with, or would impede the full and faithful discharge of, the duties of a City Commissioner.
Accordingly, we find that the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees would not prohibit you from serving as a City Commissioner. However, you may wish to contact the Attorney General regarding the applicability of the resign-to-run law (Section 99.012, Florida Statutes) to the situation you have described.