CEO 83-60 -- September 22, 1983
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
CITY ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES DIRECTOR INVOLVED WITH PROJECT IN CITY'S REDEVELOPMENT AREA
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created were a corporation owned by an administrative services officer with a city finance department to become involved as a principal or as a hired consultant with the development of a project in the city's redevelopment area. As the city finance department is not involved in redevelopment matters and as the employee's responsibilities do not involve the city's functions in redevelopment activities, the employee's proposed activity would not violate Section 112.313(7)(a), Florida Statutes.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were a corporation owned by you, an administrative services officer with a city finance department, to become involved as a principal or as a hired consultant with the development of a project in the city's redevelopment area?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you are employed as an Administrative Services Officer with the Finance Department of the City of St. Petersburg. In that position, you are responsible for developing and implementing automated finance and accounting systems for the City, as well as for directing and supervising activities involving special assessments by the City.
You also advise that you are the only officer in a corporation which performs consulting services regarding construction management. You question whether your corporation may become involved, either as a principal or as a hired consultant, with the development of a project in the City's redevelopment area, if assistance from the City is requested in the form of low interest loans, grants, bonds, or public improvements. This involvement would include locating possible investors or developers, informing them of redevelopment opportunities in the City, providing them with information, and putting them in contact with City officials responsible for redevelopment. You would have no direct involvement with negotiations between the developer and the City, you advise. Once the actual building began, you would act as construction manager for the job and work with the engineer, architect, and contractor to complete the work on time and under budget. In this role, you could have some contact with City employees from the building department or the planning department, rather than employees or officials involved with redevelopment. In addition, it is possible that your corporation could become involved as a partner as well as construction manager for the redevelopment project, in which case you would share in the profits of the project.
The Code of Ethics 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), Florida Statutes (1981).]
This provision prohibits you from having any employment or contractual relationship with a business entity which either is doing business with, or is subject to the regulation of, your agency.
You have advised that the City Finance Department, in which you are employed, is not responsible for redevelopment activities within the City. In addition, you advise that you have no role at all in redevelopment matters. It is the City's Economic Development Department which works with developers and others interested in downtown development, and which is responsible for financial matters relating to redevelopment. The City Council acts as the redevelopment agency and has final approval on all grants, loans, bonds, and public improvements.
As your agency, the City Finance Department, is not involved in redevelopment matters, it is apparent that your proposed activity would not result in a contractual relationship with a business entity doing business with or subject to the regulation of your agency. Nor does it appear that your proposed activities would result in a continuing or frequently recurring conflict of interest, or would impede the full and faithful discharge of your public duties, in violation of Section 112.313(7)(a), since your responsibilities as a public employee do not involve the City's functions in redevelopment activities.
Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were your corporation to become involved as a principal or as a consultant with the development of a project in the City's redevelopment area.