CEO 87-6 -- January 29, 1987
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
COUNTY COMMISSIONER SERVING AS
VOLUNTEER FIRE CHIEF WITHIN COUNTY
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
A county commissioner is prohibited by Sections 112.313(7)(a) and 112.313(10)(a), Florida Statutes, from serving as a volunteer fire chief with compensation from the county. Previous opinions CEO 78-28, CEO 76-187, and CEO 76-109 are referenced.
Does a prohibited conflict of interest exist where a county commissioner serves as chief of a volunteer fire department for which he receives compensation from the county?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that .... serves as a member of the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners. You also advise that he serves as Chief of the Marathon Volunteer Fire Department. As Chief, the Commissioner receives monthly compensation from the County and is insured by the County's workers' compensation coverage. Further, you advise that the County Commission votes to approve and adopt a budget for the County's departments, including a budget for the volunteer fire department.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides in relevant part:
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 (1985).]
EMPLOYEES HOLDING OFFICE. -- No employee of a state agency or of a county, municipality, special taxing district, or other political subdivision of the state shall hold office as a member of the governing board, council, commission, or authority, by whatever name known, which is his employer while, at the same time, continuing as an employee of such employer. [Section 112.313(10)(a), Florida Statutes (1985).]
We previously have advised that a city commissioner who serves as a volunteer fireman for compensation within that city does so in violation of both of these provisions of the Code of Ethics. See CEO 76-109, CEO 76-187, and CEO 78-28. Similarly, here, the County Commissioner's service as volunteer fire chief for compensation places him in the position of having employment with an agency which is subject to the regulation of the County Commission, in violation of Section 112.313(7)(a), Florida Statutes, and in the position of being employed by the County while holding office as a member of the County's governing board, in violation of Section 112.313(10)(a), Florida Statutes.
Accordingly, we find that a prohibited conflict of interest exists where the subject County Commissioner serves as Chief of the Volunteer Fire Department for compensation.