CEO 84-15 -- March 8, 1984
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
CITY DEPARTMENT DIRECTOR CONSULTING WITH COMPANY DOING BUSINESS WITH GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created were the Director of the City of Miami Department of Off- Street Parking to consult regarding competitive bidding procedures with a company seeking to do business with governmental agencies other than the Department. As the company would not be doing business with the employee's "agency," the Department, Section 112.313(7)(a), Florida Statutes, would not be violated.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were you, the Director of the City of Miami Department of Off-Street Parking, to consult regarding competitive bidding procedures with a company seeking to do business with governmental agencies other than the Department?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you are employed as the Director of the City of Miami Department of Off-Street Parking, which originally was created by Chapter 30997, Laws of Florida (1955). As presently constituted under the City Charter, the Department is a quasi-autonomous agency of the City, governed by the Off-Street Parking Board, and is responsible for operating the off-street parking facilities of the City. As Director of the Department, you are its chief executive officer.
You question whether you may work for a furniture sales company advising the company on appropriate procedures for preparing bids to government organizations. You state that the Miami Parking System would not acquire any furniture from the company and that you would not assist the company in any efforts with the City.
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), Florida Statutes (1983).]
This provision prohibits you from being an officer, director, or owner of a business entity which is selling any goods to the City. However, as your position with the company would only be that of a consultant, we find this provision to be inapplicable.
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), Florida Statutes (1983).]
This provision prohibits you from being employed by, or having a contractual relationship with, a business entity which is doing business with your agency. We find your "agency" as that term is defined in Section 112.312(2), Florida Statutes, to be the City's Department of Off-Street Parking. As you have advised that the Department would not acquire furniture from the company for which you would be working, it is apparent that this provision also would be inapplicable.
Finally, we are of the opinion that your proposed employment would not create a continuing or frequently recurring conflict of interest or impede the full and faithful discharge of your public duties, in violation of Section 112.313(7)(a). In particular, we note the Department's great degree of independence from City government and your assertion that you would not assist the company in any effort with the City.
Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were you to consult with the furniture sales company regarding competitive bidding procedures while being employed as Director of the City's Department of Off-Street Parking.