CEO 75-74 -- April 4, 1975
STANDARDS OF CONDUCT
CITY COUNCILMAN PROHIBITED FROM MAKING RETAIL SALES TO THE CITY
To: Robert B. Cook, Attorney for Village of Palm Springs, North Palm Beach
Prepared by: Bonnie Johnson
Section 112.313(2), F. S. (1974 Supp.), prohibits a public officer or employee from owning a material interest in a business entity which is doing business with the agency of which he is an officer or employee unless the business is contracted through competitive bid procedures. Retail sales by a city councilman to the city he represents would therefore constitute a prohibited conflict of interest unless awarded as lowest or best bid. Attention is also called to ss. 839.07 and 839.10, criminal statutes lying outside the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission, which prohibit a public officer from involvement with public works.
Does a prohibited conflict of interest arise if Mr. Richard Bieter, a councilman for the Village of Palm Springs, sells batteries to the village at full list price?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
The newly revised Code of Ethics provides that:
No public officer or employee of an agency shall own a material interest in any business entity doing business with the agency of which he is an officer or employee, except in those cases when the business is contracted with full public competition and award is made to the lowest or best bidder or to a consultant in accordance with Chapter 287.055, Florida Statutes. [Section 112.313(2), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida; emphasis supplied.]
This section clearly prohibits a public officer, which Mr. Bieter clearly is under s. 112.312(7)(a), F. S., from owning a material interest in a business entity which transacts business with that officer's agency. The only recognized exception to this general prohibition applies to those instances in which the business is contracted with full public competition and award is made to the lowest or best bidder.
We also call to your attention ss. 839.07 and 839.10, F. S., carrying criminal penalties, which prohibit public officers from bidding for public works. These statutes are not within the purview of the Ethics Commission's advisory jurisdiction, but nevertheless may be construed to affect the situation described. The Ethics Commission is awaiting an advisory opinion from the Attorney General as to the effect of the revised Code of Ethics upon these laws, and we will provide you with a copy when it is available.