CEO 83-53 -- July 28, 1983
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
CITY COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBER EMPLOYED BY ENTITY RECEIVING COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT FUNDS FROM CITY
To: Mr. George A. Maida, Member, Jacksonville Community Development Advisory Committee
A prohibited conflict of interest exists where a member of a city community development advisory committee responsible for advising the city regarding use of community development block grant funds is employed as executive director of a nonprofit corporation receiving those funds from the city. However, as described in CEO 82-58, this conflict of interest on the part of an advisory board member may be waived as provided in Section 112.313(12), Florida Statutes (Supp. 1982).
Does a prohibited conflict of interest exist where you, a member of a city community development advisory committee responsible for advising the city regarding use of community development block grant funds, are employed as executive director of a nonprofit corporation receiving those funds from the city?
Your question is answered in the affirmative, subject to the exemption noted below.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you serve as a member of the Jacksonville Community Development Advisory Committee, which has been created to advise the Mayor and City Council on the use of community development block grant funds. You advise that the final decision on all allocations rests with City officials.
You also advise that you are employed as Executive Director of a nonprofit corporation which receives community development block grant funds through contracts with the City to provide loan money to the community or to administer special projects to meet the needs of the community. Finally, you advise that the block grant funds do not pay your salary as Executive Director and do not pay any other operational expenses of the nonprofit corporation.
In a previous advisory opinion, CEO 82-58 (Question 2), we advised that a prohibited conflict of interest would be created were a member of a city social services allocations committee, responsible for recommending the distribution of city funds to social services agencies, to be employed as director of an agency applying to the committee for funds. However, we also advised that the following exemption from the Code of Ethics would apply:
EXEMPTION. -- The requirements of subsections (3) and (7) as they pertain to persons serving on advisory boards may be waived in a particular instance by the body which appointed the person to the advisory board, upon a full disclosure of the transaction or relationship to the appointing body prior to the waiver and an affirmative vote in favor of waiver by two-thirds vote of that body. In instances in which appointment to the advisory board is made by an individual, waiver may be effected, after public hearing, by a determination by the appointing person and full disclosure of the transaction or relationship by the appointee to the appointing person . . . . [Section 112.313(12), Florida Statutes (Supp. 1982).]
We have promulgated Commission on Ethics Form 4A, Disclosure of Business Transaction, Relationship, or Interest, for use in making the disclosure required by this provision. In our view, the rationale of CEO 82-58 applies equally to your situation.
Accordingly, we find that unless a waiver is obtained from the body which appointed you to the Committee in accordance with the provisions of Section 112.313(12), Florida Statutes, you may not serve as a member of the Community Development Advisory Committee while being employed as Director of an entity receiving funds which are subject to the recommendation of that Committee.