CEO 83-59 -- July 28, 1983
VOTING CONFLICT OF INTEREST
CITY COMMISSIONER VOTING ON MATTER AFFECTING PROPERTY OWNED BY SPOUSE
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
A voting conflict of interest requiring the filing of a memorandum of voting conflict would be created under Section 112.3143, Florida Statutes, were a city commissioner to vote on an issue concerning real property owned by her spouse and sister-in-law. CEO's 83-29, 80-84, 80-6 are referenced.
Would a voting conflict of interest be created were a city commissioner to vote on an issue concerning real property owned by her spouse and sister-in-law?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that Mrs. Anita Protos is a member of the Tarpon Springs City Commission. She questions whether she may vote on an issue concerning a tract of real property owned by her husband and sister-in-law as tenants in common. The proposed item for consideration involves an agreement terminating excavation on that property which has taken place over the past ten years. Finally, you advise that the Commissioner resides with her spouse.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides in relevant part:
Voting conflicts. -- No public officer shall be prohibited from voting in his official capacity on any matter. However, any public officer voting in his official capacity upon any measure in which he has a personal, private, or professional interest and which inures to his special private gain or the special gain of any principal by whom he is retained shall, within 15 days after the vote occurs, disclose the nature of his interest as a public record in a memorandum filed with the person responsible for recording the minutes of the meeting, who shall incorporate the memorandum in the minutes. [Section 112.3143, Florida Statutes (1981).]
Under this provision, a public official may vote on a matter in which she has a conflict of interest, so long as the nature of that interest is disclosed on Commission on Ethics Form 4, Memorandum of Voting Conflict, which is to be filed with the minutes of the meeting.
We previously have advised that if the matter being voted on would inure to the gain of the spouse of a public officer, the public officer has a personal or private interest in the matter, and further that, if the matter would inure to the spouse's special private gain and the spouse contributes to the support of the public officer, the matter would inure to the special private gain of the officer. See CEO 83-29, CEO 80-84, and CEO 80-6. As the subject Commissioner resides with her spouse, it appears that her spouse contributes to her support.
Accordingly, we find that a voting conflict of interest necessitating the filing of a Memorandum of Voting Conflict would arise if the subject Commissioner were to vote on the issue affecting property owned by her spouse.