CEO 86-80 -- October 29, 1986
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER EMPLOYED AS REFEREE AT COUNTY SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAMES
To: Mr. Richard H. Anders, Member-Elect, Columbia County School Board, Lake City
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created were a school board member to serve as a referee at county school basketball games. The official would not be prohibited from such employment as his payment for each game would not exceed $500, thereby bringing the transaction within the exemption of Section 112.313(12)(f), Florida Statutes (1985).
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were you, a school board member-elect, to continue to serve as a referee at county school basketball games after assuming office?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you are a member-elect of the Columbia County School Board. In the past, you have refereed at local junior high and high school basketball games. You are a member of the Southern Association of Basketball Officials, and you receive your assignments to referee high school games from that organization. Compensation for this work is paid by the individual schools. You question whether you may continue to referee basketball games in Columbia County when you take office as a School Board member.
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 (1985).]
This provision prohibits a school board member from selling any services to his school district or to any school within that district.
Nevertheless, the Code of Ethics contains several exceptions to this provision, including an exemption where:
The total amount of the subject transaction does not exceed $500. [Section 112.313(12)(f), Florida Statutes (1985).]
We have interpreted paragraph (f) to exempt a single transaction in an amount not exceeding $500. You state that you receive between $10.00 and $27.50 per game for refereeing the various games. Since your work at each game would not result in payment to you of more than $500, no prohibited conflict of interest would be created.
Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were you, a Columbia County School Board member- elect, to continue to referee County school basketball games upon taking office.