CEO 84-25 -- April 26, 1984
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
PART-TIME CITY POLICE OFFICER PROVIDING LEGAL SERVICES TO CITY CODE ENFORCEMENT BOARD
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created were a part-time city police officer serving without compensation to be retained to provide legal services to the city's code enforcement board. Because there is no relationship between the board and the police department, the officer's service as attorney for the board would not conflict with his responsibilities as a police officer. CEO's 76-6, 76-10, 76-12 and 83-80 are referenced.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were you, a part-time city police officer serving without compensation, to be retained to provide legal services to the city's code enforcement board?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you serve as a part- time police officer for the City of Palm Bay Police Department, with the title of Legal Advisor for the Police Department. You also advise that you receive no compensation or other benefits from the City for your services, except that you are covered by the City's workers' compensation insurance policy. You question whether you may be appointed as attorney for the City's Code Enforcement Board, for which you would be paid on an hourly basis for services provided.
In a telephone conversation with our staff, you advised that the Police Department would not be involved in your hiring as attorney for the Code Enforcement Board. Rather, the Board would nominate you and you would be hired upon approval by the City Council. In addition, you advise that there is no relationship between the Code Enforcement Board and the Police Department, as the City's Code Enforcement Officer is not connected with the Department, and as police officers are not charged with the authority to enforce City Code provisions.
In CEO 83-80 we advised that the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees would not prohibit a county administrator from serving as a reserve deputy sheriff. In that opinion we did not reach the question of whether a reserve deputy sheriff is a public employee. Similarly, here, we do not decide whether you are a public officer or public employee by virtue of your position as a non- compensated, part-time police officer, because we find no prohibited conflict of interest regardless of your status.
Section 112.313(7)(a) prohibits a public officer or employee from having any employment or contractual relationship which would present a continuing or frequently recurring conflict of interest, or which would impede the full and faithful discharge of his duties. Because there is no relationship between the Code Enforcement Board and the Police Department, we find that your service as attorney for the Board would not conflict with your responsibility as a police officer.
In addition, Section 112.313(3), Florida Statutes, generally prohibits a municipal officer or employee from acting in a private capacity to sell services to any agency of that municipality. However, we have found an exception to this general rule where the officer or employee is not in a position to supervise, regulate, approve, or give advice or recommendations regarding the business being transacted. See, for example, CEO's 76-6, 76-10, and 76-12. The rationale of these opinions clearly applies under the facts you have presented here.
Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were you to be retained to provide legal services to the City Code Enforcement Board while also serving as a non- compensated, part-time City police officer.