CEO 86-47 -- June 19, 1986
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
CITY COUNCIL MEMBER REPRESENTING CLIENTS BEFORE OTHER CITY BOARDS
To: Mr. Ted G. Yeatts, City Council Member, City of Venice
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created were a city council member to represent clients as a consulting engineer or land surveyor before boards of the city other than the city council. CEO's 76-13 and 79-7 or referenced. However, Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes, requires the quarterly disclosure of representations of clients before agencies of one's political subdivision.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were you, a city council member, to represent clients as a consulting engineer before boards of the city other than the city council?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you serve as a member of the Venice City Council and that you are a professional civil engineer and land surveyor. You question whether you may represent clients before boards of the City other than the City Council.
In CEO 76-13 we advised that a city council member who was a realtor could appear before the city planning and zoning board seeking rezonings or variances, despite the fact that the city council appointed the members of the planning and zoning board. In CEO 79-7 we found that a city planning board member would not be prohibited from representing clients before the planning department and other city departments. In that opinion, we distinguished between the representation of clients before one's own board, which we have found to be prohibited, and the representation of clients before other agencies of the political subdivision in which one serves.
We advised in both of these opinions that it is the policy of the Code of Ethics to require disclosure of representations before agencies of one's political subdivision rather than to prohibit them. See Section 112.3145(4), Florida Statutes, which requires each local officer to file a quarterly report of the names of clients represented for a fee or commission before agencies at his level of government. We have promulgated Commission on Ethics Form 2, Quarterly Client Disclosure, for use in making this disclosure.
Our conclusion also is supported by Article II, Section 8(e), Florida Constitution, which was ratified by the voters in 1976. That provision prohibits a member of the Legislature from personally representing a client for compensation before any State agency other than a judicial tribunal. The provision also states: "Similar restrictions on other public officers and employees may be established by law." To date there has been no amendment to the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees which would implement this language.
Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were you to represent as an engineer or land surveyor clients before boards of the City other than the City Council.