CEO 90-31 -- April 26, 1990
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
CITY HOUSING OFFICIAL SERVING AS MEMBER
OF MAYOR'S COMMISSION ON HOUSING
To: J. E. McDonald, Chief, Housing Safety Division, Department of Housing and Urban Development, City of Jacksonville
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created under Section 112.313(7)(a), Florida Statutes, were a City's Chief of Housing Safety to serve as a member of a standing committee of the Mayor's Commission on Housing, as there appears to be a unity of interests between the duties of the Housing Safety Chief and the function of the Mayor's Commission on Housing.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were you, the Chief of Housing Safety for a City, to serve as a member of a committee within the Mayor's Commission on Housing?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you serve as the Chief of the Housing Safety Division of the City of Jacksonville and that you have been invited to serve on a standing committee of the Mayor's Commission on Housing. That Committee, the Housing Rehabilitation Committee, plans to initiate projects and incentive programs to reduce the number of substandard housing units in the City.
As Chief of the Housing Safety Division, you are responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Housing Safety Code and the Unsafe Buildings and Structures Code. You also are responsible for the administration of single-family rehabilitation programs. You believe that your service on the Committee may constitute a conflict of interest, as rehabilitation projects implemented by the Commission would be regulated by the Housing Safety Division for compliance with minimum housing standards.
In regard to your question, Section 112.313(7)(a), Florida Statutes, provides:
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.
This provision prohibits a public employee from having a contractual relationship with any agency which is subject to the regulation of or doing business with his agency. In your case, however, we perceive a unity of interests rather than a conflict between the duties of the Housing Safety Chief and your service on the Committee. See CEO 87-5 and CEO 83-35. Presumably, the Mayor requested you to serve on the Committee to give guidance to assist the Committee's projects in complying with applicable guidelines and codes. In addition, we are unaware of any private interests which could conflict with your public duties. Therefore, we believe that Section 112.316, Florida Statutes, should be applied:
CONSTRUCTION.--It is not the intent of this part, nor shall it be construed, to prevent any officer or employee of a state agency or county, city, or other political subdivision of the state or any legislator or legislative employee from accepting other employment or following any pursuit which does not interfere with the full and faithful discharge by such officer, employee, legislator, or legislative employee of his duties to the state or the county, city, or other political subdivision of the state involved.
Accordingly, we find that you are not prohibited from serving on the Housing Rehabilitation Committee of the Mayor's Commission on Housing while remaining employed as Chief of the City's Housing Safety Division.