CEO 82-24 -- April 8, 1982
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
SPOUSE OF VICE-MAYOR OF CITY EMPLOYED BY CITY
To: Dr. Leonard Haber, Vice-Mayor, Miami Beach
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created were the wife of the vice-mayor of a city to be employed as a practicing psychologist by the city physician to provide psychological testing of city police applicants and city employees. Although s. 112.313(3), Florida Statutes, would prohibit a vice-mayor from acting in his official capacity to purchase services for the city from a business entity in which is wife is involved, here the wife's services would be purchased for the city by the city physician.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were your wife, a practicing psychologist, to be employed by the city physician of the city which you serve as vice- mayor for psychological testing of city police applicants and city employees?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you are the Vice-Mayor of the City of Miami Beach. You also advise that your wife is a practicing psychologist, with a practice completely independent from yours. In this respect, she maintains her own office and business accounts without co-mingling of your two practices in any manner whatsoever. You also advise that the City Physician may employ your wife for psychological testing of police applicants or city employees. This agreement will not require action by the City Commission.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides in relevant part:
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 you from acting in your official capacity to directly or indirectly purchase any services for the City from a business entity of which your spouse is a proprietor. However, we find that this provision does not apply, because your wife's services would be purchased for the City by the City Physician and not by the City Commission.
The Code of Ethics also provides:
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.]
This provision prohibits you from having a contractual relationship with a business entity, such as your wife when acting as a psychologist, which is doing business with the City. However, nothing in the situation you have presented indicates that this would be the case.
Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were your wife to be employed by the City Physician for psychological testing of police applicants and employees.