CEO 75-153 -- July 9, 1975






To:      (Name withheld at the person's request.)


Prepared by:   Jeff Trammel




A university faculty member on a continuing 9-month contract who engages during his noncontract months in consulting work with a private firm is deemed to be a public officer within the meaning of s. 112.312(7)(h), F. S. (1974 Supp.). A university professor is considered to be a full-time state employee in spite of the fact that the traditional format of his employment is based on the 9-month academic year. Interstices in his ongoing employment do not exempt him from the provisions of the Code of Ethics, including the requirement to file financial disclosure by a full-time employee who engages in consultation.




Is ____, a university faculty member who is on a 9-month contract, required to disclose compensation from consulting work that constitutes 10 percent or more of his income when the consultation occurs during the 3 months of the year he is not under contract with the university?


This question is answered in the affirmative.


As you indicate in your letter of inquiry, ____ is an Assistant Professor at ____, employed on a 9-month contract. He is so employed this academic year and apparently will be next academic year. During the 3 summer months, ____ will be employed by a private firm from which he will receive compensation for consulting work.

Public officers are defined in s. 112.312(7)(h), F. S. (1974 Supp.), to include:


All full time state employees who, in addition to their regular duties, accept compensation for consultations with other state agencies or with other government or private entities.


The nature of a university professor's employment is such that he may be required to perform his duties only during the 9-month academic year. As a full-time state employee during the academic year, a university professor who does consultant work is patently a public officer within the purview of the above subsection. Since the traditional format of a university professor's employment is such that he may fulfill, during the 9-month academic year, duties contracted for on an annual basis, we are of the opinion that his status as a public officer will not be negated by the interposition of the 3-month break between academic years. Within this context, ____ is a public officer and must adhere to the Florida Code of Ethics, including the financial disclosure provisions.

If such interstices in ongoing employment did exempt an individual from the Code of Ethics, the financial disclosure provisions could easily be evaded through manipulation of pay periods and termination dates. We are of the opinion that ____, as an ongoing state employee who accepts compensation for consultation with a private firm, must report this if it amounts to 10 percent or more of his gross income. See s. 112.3145, F. S.