CEO 87-93 -- December 10, 1987
VOTING CONFLICT OF INTEREST
CITY COUNCIL MEMBER VOTING ON ZONING REQUEST
OF DEVELOPER CONTRACTING WITH COUNCIL MEMBER'S EMPLOYER
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
A city council member is not prohibited by Section 112.3143, Florida Statutes, from voting on an amendment to a planned unit development zoning requested by a developer who has contracted with the guard service company that employs the council member. Under the circumstances presented, the proposed amendment would not inure to the special gain of the council member or of the guard service company which employs him. CEO 85-21 is referenced.
Are you, a city council member, prohibited from voting on a planned unit development, where the developer has contracted with the guard service which employs you for security services for the developer's property?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you serve as a member of the Jacksonville City Council and as Chairman of the Council's Urban Affairs Committee, which makes recommendations to the Council on matters concerning zoning, land use, developments of regional impact, and similar interests. You advise that currently there is pending before the City Council and the Committee a bill which would amend a planned unit development zoning that originally was passed by the Council in 1982. The proposed bill, requested by the landowner, would provide for changing certain development conditions in the zoning for its proposed development.
You further advise that in 1985 the developer entered into a contract with the guard service which employs you as Director of Sales to provide security services to the developer's properties. You advise that the contract, which still is in effect, was handled totally by other persons employed by the company and that you had no prior knowledge of the contract. As an employee of the guard service, you receive a salary, without commissions, and do not participate in any of the security services provided by the company. Finally, you advise that you do not have any financial interest or ownership in the company.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides in relevant part:
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).]
This provision prohibits a local official from voting on a measure which inures to his special private gain or to the special gain of a principal by whom he is retained.
Under the circumstances presented, we do not find that the proposed amendment of the planned unit development zoning would inure to your special gain or to the special gain of the guard service company which employs you. In CEO 85-21 we advised that a city council member who was an employee of a travel agency was not prohibited from voting on a measure benefiting a customer of the travel agency where neither the council member nor the travel agency stood to benefit directly from the measure under consideration. In our view, the rational of that opinion applies equally here.
Accordingly, we find that you are not prohibited from voting as a member of the City Council on the amendment of the planned unit development zoning proposed by a developer which is contracting with the guard service by which you are employed.