CEO 87-90 -- December 10, 1987
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
D.H.R.S. EMPLOYEE WORKING AS ASSISTANT
BUILDING MANAGER FOR DEPARTMENT LANDLORD
To: Ms. Carmen Singleton, Secretary Specialist, District IV, Subdistrict B, Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (Deland)
A prohibited conflict of interest would be created were a secretary specialist with a district of the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services to be employed as assistant building manager by the owner of property being leased to the Department. Section 112.313(7), Florida Statutes, prohibits a public employee from being employed by a business entity which is doing business with her agency. Here, the secretary's public duties would involve her private employer, as she is designated as building alternate and is responsible for informing the landlord of any problems with or repairs to the building.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were you, a secretary specialist with a district of the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, to be employed as assistant building manager by the owner of property being leased to the Department?
Under the circumstances presented, your question is answered in the affirmative.
Through your letter of inquiry and a telephone conversation with our staff, we have been advised that you are employed as a Secretary Specialist with District IV, Subdistrict B, of the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services. Part of your responsibilities in that capacity include informing the landlord of any problems with or repairs to the building. You advise that your supervisor is the building manager and that you have been designated as the building alternate, in which case you would be notified by the police if it were necessary for them to be let into the building after hours.
You also have advised that you have been approached by the owner of the property which is being leased by the Department to become his assistant building manager. This outside employment would occur after your normal working hours, with the exceptions of contacting the landlord during the day for problems or repairs under unusual circumstances, receiving supplies ordered for the building, working directly with the vendors who are making repairs, and issuing purchase order numbers to vendors during their working hours. You advise that presently you are the contact person for vendors who may be working on the building. In effect, you advise, if you were employed in this capacity you would deal with the vendors directly, instead of calling the landlord to have him see that the necessary work is done.
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 employee from having any employment with a business entity which is doing business with her agency, or that would create a continuing or frequently recurring conflict of interest. We conclude that this provision would prohibit your employment with the owner of a building which is being leased to your agency.
Although in some cases we have made an exception where the public employee's duties are totally unrelated to the business being transacted, that is not the case here, as your public duties already involve working with the landlord of the building. In our view, therefore, your employment with the landlord would place you in a position of being responsible both to the Department and to your private employer at the same time.
Accordingly, we find that a prohibited conflict of interest would be created were you to be employed as assistant building manager by the owner of property being leased to the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services while you are employed by the Department.