CEO 85-48 -- July 11, 1985
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
PART-TIME DEPUTY SHERIFF LEASING OR SELLING VEHICLES TO SHERIFF'S OFFICE
To: Mr. Glenn C. Bundy, Deputy Sheriff, Manatee County Sheriff's Office
A prohibited conflict of interest would be created under Section 112.313(3), Florida Statutes, were a part- time deputy sheriff who serves without compensation to sell or lease vehicles to the sheriff's office. However, sales or leases could be made through a system of sealed, competitive bidding, if the requirements of Section 112.313(12)(b), Florida Statutes, are met.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were you, a part-time deputy sheriff who serves without compensation, to sell or lease vehicles to the sheriff's office?
Your question is answered in the affirmative, subject to the exception noted below.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you are a certified part-time Deputy Sheriff in Manatee County and that you serve without pay and receive no benefits from the Sheriff's Office. As you are in the automobile business, you question whether you may sell or lease vehicles to the Sheriff's Office.
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 a public officer or employee from acting in a private capacity to lease or sell any goods to his agency.
The initial question we must answer is whether, as a part-time Deputy Sheriff serving without compensation, you are a public officer or employee subject to the restrictions of the Code of Ethics. We conclude that you are. In AGO 077-63, the Attorney General advised that a certified reserve police officer is a public officer for purposes of the dual office-holding prohibition of Article II, Section 5(a), Florida Constitution. In addition, we note that the law regarding certification of law enforcement officers defines a "part-time law enforcement officer" as "any person employed or appointed less than full time . . . with or without compensation" who has certain authority and responsibilities in the enforcement of criminal laws. [E.S.] Section 943.10(5), Florida Statutes (Supp. 1984).
We previously have advised that a deputy sheriff would be prohibited from selling an automobile to the sheriff's office unless the sale were made through a system of sealed, competitive bidding. See CEO 79-28, which also describes the requirements of the competitive bidding exemption contained in Section 112.313(12)(b), Florida Statutes.
Accordingly, we find that as a part-time deputy sheriff you are prohibited from selling or leasing vehicles to the Sheriff's Office, unless the sale or lease is made by competitive bid in accordance with the requirements of Section 112.313(12)(b), Florida Statutes.