CEO 87-19 -- April 23, 1987
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
COUNTY COMMISSIONER EMPLOYED BY STATE UNIVERSITY
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
No prohibited conflict of interest exists under Section 112.313(7), Florida Statutes, where a county commissioner is employed as an assistant dean at a State university. The university is not subject to the regulation of the board of county commissioners. Although the university is involved with the county commission through a research and development park and through the university's occasional requests for assistance from the county commission, such intergovernmental relationships do not give rise to a prohibited conflict of interest under the prohibition of Section 112.313(7). CEO 84-18 is referenced.
Does a prohibited conflict of interest exist where you, a county commissioner, are employed as an assistant dean at a State university?
Under the circumstances presented, your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry, you advise that you serve as a member of the Leon County Board of County Commissioners and that you are employed by Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University as the Assistant Dean of the College of Pharmacy. In addition, you advise that as part of your duties with the University, you are participating in negotiating with a national pharmaceutical firm to locate a facility in a research and development park within the County. The park is operated by a research and development authority that was created by the County pursuant to Part V of Chapter 159, Florida Statutes. One of the members of the authority is a representative of the University.
You also advise that from time to time the County Commission is called upon to support the park in various ways, one of which is the funding of capital improvements. Further, the University requests assistance from the County Commission, which may take the form of requests for support of various civic projects, seminars, or special projects.
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).]
The first part of this provision prohibits a public officer from having any employment with a public agency which either is subject to the regulation of, or is doing business with, his agency. Clearly, the University is not subject to the regulation of the Board of County Commissioners. In addition, although the University is involved with the County Commission through the research and development park and through the University's request for assistance from the County Commission, we have not considered such intergovernmental relationships to constitute "doing business" within the contemplation of this prohibition. See CEO 84-18, CEO 81-5, CEO 80-5, CEO 76-77, and CEO 76-2 (question 9).
Section 112.313(7)(a), Florida Statutes, also prohibits a public officer from having any employment that will create a continuing or frequently recurring conflict of interest or that would impede the full and faithful discharge of his public duties. Under the circumstances presented, we see no reason to believe that such a conflict of interest is created by virtue of your service on the County Commission and your employment with the University.
Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest exists in your employment as an assistant dean at the State university while serving as a member of the Board of County Commissioners.