CEO 87-48 -- June 11, 1987
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
COUNTY FIRE LIEUTENANT/PARAMEDIC EMPLOYED BY CITY
AS FIRE LIEUTENANT/EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIAN
To: Charles W. Scholl, Fire Lieutenant/Paramedic, Brevard County
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created under Section 112.313(7)(a), Florida Statutes, were a county fire lieutenant/paramedic to be employed as a city fire lieutenant/emergency medical technician. The two agencies do not regulate or do business with each other. Under the circumstances, employment with the city would not tend to lead to disregard of the employee's responsibilities to the county. CEO 76-2 is referenced.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest exist were a county fire lieutenant/paramedic to be employed by the city as a fire lieutenant/emergency medical technician?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you are employed by the Brevard County Commission as a fire lieutenant/ paramedic on a specialized response team (hazardous materials) engine company. You further advise that you have been offered employment with the City of Cape Canaveral as a fire lieutenant/emergency medical technician during your days off from Brevard County employment. The City is a separate and distinct political subdivision from the County, and the County provides no funding to the City. A mutual-aid contract exists, where a central County dispatching agency may request the City to respond to County area calls. Through an agreement between the two agencies, the County has a fire/rescue ambulance housed in the City's fire station. As a City employee, you would work at this facility. You would also oversee the County fire/rescue crew as far as station activities are concerned. You do not supervise these County fire/rescue crews in your capacity as County Fire Lieutenant; however, you occasionally are a ranking officer to these crews on emergency scenes.
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 employee from being employed by an agency which is subject to the regulation of, or doing business with, his agency. We are of the opinion that this provision would not be violated by your proposed employment. The County and City fire squads are separate agencies, with neither one regulating the other. The two agencies also are not "doing business" with each other by virtue of the mutual aid contract and the agreement to house a County ambulance in the City fire station. In previous opinions we have not considered such intergovernmental relationships to constitute "doing business" within the contemplation of Section 112.313(7)(a), Florida Statutes. See CEO 76-2.
The second part of this provision prohibits a public employee from holding any employment relationship that would impede the full and faithful discharge of his public duties. In our view, this provision would not be violated under the circumstances presented. You would work for the City only during your off-duty hours, and both of your employers would share a mutual interest in fire prevention and control and in providing assistance in emergency situations. Further, we do not perceive that your position with the City would tend to lead to disregard of your responsibilities with the County, regardless of whether your position with the City would involve supervisory responsibilities which you do not have in your County employment.
Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were a County fire lieutenant/paramedic to be employed as a City fire lieutenant/emergency medical technician. As we previously advised in CEO 86-81, Section 112.313(7)(a), Florida Statutes, does not limit a public employee's secondary employment on the basis of the fact that there might be a conflict at some time in the hours worked on both jobs. Without intending to suggest that there would or would not be a conflict between these two positions on this basis, we note that the County could take this factor into consideration when deciding whether to allow your employment with the City.