CEO 74-59 -- November 15, 1974
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
DUTIES OF CITY COUNCILMAN WITH LABOR UNION WHICH REPRESENTS CITY WORKERS
To: Karlton M. King, Councilman, City of Cocoa
Prepared by: Gene L. "Hal" Johnson
Section 112.313(5), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida, prohibits a public officer from accepting employment with a business entity doing business with the agency of which he is an officer. Mr. King, as a councilman of the City of Cocoa, is a public officer as defined in s. 112.312(7), F. S. Further, Mr. King is business agent for a labor union which is a business entity designated by the terms "enterprise" or "association" in s. 112.312(2), F. S., and ss. 447.01 and 447.02(1), F. S. Since the labor union represents municipal employees in contract negotiations with the City of Cocoa, Mr. King's employment is within the specific prohibitions of s. 112.313(5), supra. He must divest himself either of his employment or of his public office. Further, he must comply with disclosure provisions of s. 112.313(3), F. S., by filing the appropriate forms with the Circuit Court Clerk of Brevard County.
Does a conflict of interest exist between my duties as a city councilman and my employment with a labor union which represents some city workers?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
From the information provided in your letter, a few items are readily established. First, you as a city councilman are a public officer within the meaning of that term as used in the Code of Ethics, which states that a public officer includes "all elected public officers . . . whether state, county, municipal or local." Section 112.312(7)(a), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida. Second, the labor union of which you are a business agent is a business entity as designated by the terms "enterprise" or "association" in s. 112.312(2), F. S., and ss. 447.01 and 447.02(1), F. S., describing labor organizations. See also American Federation of Musicians, Local 806 v. City of West Palm Beach, 179 So.2d 134 (2 D.C.A. Fla., 1971). Further, the labor union by which you are employed represents some city employees in contract negotiations on such matters as wages, working conditions, and other employee benefits. Since the outcome of such negotiations is a contract between the employees' representative, the labor union, and the City of Cocoa, it is apparent that the labor union is "doing business" with the City of Cocoa.
Under the terms of the act:
No public officer or employee of an agency shall accept other employment with any business entity subject to the regulation of, or doing business with, an agency of which he is an officer or employee nor shall an officer or employee of an agency accept other employment that will create a conflict between his private interests and the performance of his public duties or will impede the full and faithful discharge of his public duties . . . . [Section 112.313(5), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida; emphasis supplied.]
In summary, you are a public officer currently employed by a business entity, the labor union, which is doing business with, by representing city employees, an agency of which you are an officer, the City of Cocoa. In our opinion you are therefore within the specific prohibitions of the above-quoted section, and must either divest yourself of such employment or of your public office. In addition, you must comply with the disclosure provisions of s. 112.313(3), F. S., by completing and filing CE Form 3 with the Circuit Court Clerk of Brevard County within 45 days of receipt of this letter. Enclosed for your convenience is a copy of CE Form 3, Statement of Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest by Public Officers, Employees and Candidates.