CEO 87-39 -- June 11, 1987
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
TOWN PLANNING AND ZONING BOARD MEMBER EMPLOYED AS
CONTACT WORKER UNDER COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT
To: Curtis Schell, Town of Orange Park Planning and Zoning Board Member, Orange Park
No conflict of interest exists where a town planning and zoning board member is employed as a contact worker by a consultant to the town under a community development block grant. The planning and zoning board has no role in approving applications for block grant funds.
Does a prohibited conflict of interest exist where a member of a town planning and zoning board is employed as a contact worker with a consultant to the town for a community development block grant?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you are a member of the Town of Orange Park Planning and Zoning Board. You further advise that you are employed as a contact worker by a consultant to the Town of Orange Park for a Community Development Block Grant program. In your role as a contact worker you explain the housing rehabilitation program and take applications from people interested in the program. Once an application is processed and an inspection of the property is made, a rehabilitation committee approves or disapproves the applicant. If the rehabilitation committee approves the application, it goes to the Town Council for final approval. You question whether a prohibited conflict of interest exists by virtue of your service on the Board and your employment as a contact worker.
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).]
This provision prohibits a public officer from having any employment or contractual relationship with a business entity which is doing business with his agency. We find your "agency," as that term is defined in Section 112.312(2), Florida Statutes, to be the Town Planning and Zoning Board.
We are of the opinion that no prohibited conflict exists in your situation, as the Town Planning and Zoning Board plays no role in the Community Development Block Grant process. In a telephone conversation with our staff you advised that the Board does not regulate or do business with any entity involved in the block-grant process.
Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest exists where a member of the Town of Orange Park Planning and Zoning Board is employed as a contact worker by a consultant to the Town under a Community Development Block Grant.