CEO 92-6 -- January 24, 1992
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
ASSISTANT MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL SELLING INSURANCE
AND ANNUITIES TO DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD EMPLOYEES
To: Ms. Marsha Hardin, Assistant Middle School Principal, (Naples)
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created under Section 112.313(7)(a), Florida Statutes, were an assistant middle school principal to sell insurance and tax-sheltered annuities to School District employees other than employees at the school she serves. Because of the assistant principal's authority over employees in the middle school where she is employed, she should not sell to employees at that school. CEO's 88-14, 85-51, 80-68, 79-83, and 75-127 are referenced.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were you, an assistant middle school principal, to sell insurance and tax-qualified annuities to school board employees during the summer and after school hours?
Your question is answered in the negative, subject to the condition noted below.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you are employed as an assistant principal at a middle school. In that capacity, you advise that your only authority over fellow employees is in a supervisory or evaluative capacity involving school-based curriculum matters.
You further advise that you wish to sell insurance and tax-qualified annuities to School District employees during the summer and after school hours, where the companies whose products you sell have undergone a screening process by the School Board and are permitted to offer their products to employees of the school system.
The applicable provision of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees is Section 112.313(7)(a), Florida Statutes, which 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 you from having an employment or contractual relationship with a business entity which is doing business with, or is regulated by, your public agency. It also prohibits you from having an employment or contractual relationship which creates a continuing or frequently recurring conflict between your private interests and the performance of your public duties, or which impedes the full and faithful discharge of your duties as an assistant principal.
As noted in CEO 88-14, the "agency" of an assistant school principal is the school at which she serves. See also CEO 79-83. There is no indication from the information you have provided that the insurance companies whose products you sell are doing business with or are regulated by your middle school. The question then, is whether your selling life insurance and annuities to other District employees would create a continuing or frequently recurring conflict between your private interests and the performance of your public duties. In CEO 75-127, we opined that a school board member should not solicit the sale of life and disability insurance to school personnel at their residences during non-duty hours because of the school board's authority over its personnel. A similar result was reached in CEO 80-68. However, in CEO 85-51, we concluded that a city council member would not be prohibited from soliciting and selling insurance, securities, annuities, and tax shelters to city employees because the council member did not have such direct and immediate authority over city employees who might be approached by his company that an employee would feel compelled to purchase from him.
You have indicated that you have authority over fellow employees at your middle school concerning school-based curriculum matters. We are of the view that because you are in a position to supervise and evaluate other employees at your school, you should not solicit or sell tax-sheltered annuities to the employees of the middle school where you are assistant principal. With that restriction, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created under the second portion of Section 112.313(7)(a), Florida Statutes, were you to sell tax-sheltered annuities to other employees of the School District.
Your question is answered accordingly.