CEO 87-32 -- April 23, 1987
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
COUNTY PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSIONER
REAL ESTATE BROKER INVOLVED IN SALE OF DRI PROPERTY
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created were a county planning and zoning commission member to act as a real estate broker in the sale of property which will be developed as a development of regional impact. CEO 81-84 is referenced. However, the Commission member should abstain from voting and make the appropriate disclosures as required by Section 112.3143(3), Florida Statutes.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were you, a county planning and zoning commission member, to act as a real estate broker in the sale of property which will be developed as a development of regional impact?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you serve as Chairman of the DeSoto County Planning and Zoning Commission and that you are a real estate broker involved in the sale of property which will be going through a development of regional impact study for a proposed travel trailer and recreational vehicle park. You advise that you plan to assist the owner through the development of regional impact process. Finally, you advise that you will abstain from any and all voting or discussion relating to the proposed park.
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).]
In a previous opinion, CEO 81-84, we advised that this provision would not prohibit an individual who was the president of a construction and land development company from serving on a town planning commission. However, we noted in that opinion that the planning commission member would be prohibited from representing any clients before the commission. In our view, this advice applies equally to your situation.
As you have indicated that you will abstain from voting and participating in discussion relating to the proposed park, we wish to call to your attention the provisions of the following statute:
No county, municipal, or other local public officer shall vote in his official capacity upon any measure which inures to his special private gain or shall knowingly vote in his official capacity upon any measure which inures to the special gain of any principal, other than an agency as defined in s. 112.312(2), by whom he is retained. Such public officer shall, prior to the vote being taken, publicly state to the assembly the nature of his interest in the matter from which he is abstaining from voting and, within 15 days after the vote occurs, disclose the nature of his interest as a public record in a memorandum filed with the person responsible for recording the minutes of the meeting, who shall incorporate the memorandum in the minutes. However, a commissioner of a community redevelopment agency created or designated pursuant to s. 163.356 or s. 163.357 or an officer of an independent special tax district elected on a one- acre, one-vote basis is not prohibited from voting. [Section 112.3143(3), Florida Statutes (1985).]
In addition to requiring you to abstain from voting on matters relating to the park, this provision requires you to announce the nature of your interest prior to any vote being taken and to file a memorandum disclosing your interest with the person responsible for keeping the minutes of the meeting. You may use Commission on Ethics Form 8B, Memorandum of Voting Conflict, when filing this written disclosure.
Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were you to act as a real estate broker in the sale of property which will be developed as a development of regional impact while serving on the County Planning and Zoning Commission.