CEO 75-154 -- July 9, 1975
VOTING CONFLICT OF INTEREST
COUNTY COMMISSIONER MEMBER OF BOARD OF TELEPHONE CORPORATION
To: H. D. Robuck, Jr., Lake County Attorney, Tavares
Prepared by: Bonnie Johnson
Section 112.314(2), F. S. (1974 Supp.), provides that no public officer may be prohibited from voting in his official capacity. Therefore, when a county commissioner is called upon to vote on issues relating to a telephone corporation with which he serves on the board of directors, he is not required to abstain from voting. When a voting conflict exists, however, officers are encouraged to abstain. In either case, a disclosure of the conflict must be filed on CE Form 4 with the county commission and the Ethics Commission.
Must Mr. James R. Carson, Jr., a member of the Lake County Board of County Commissioners, abstain from voting on matters relating to telephone company right-of-way utilization permits where Mr. Carson is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Florida Telephone Corporation?
Your question is answered in the negative.
Based upon s. 112.314(2), F. S. (1974 Supp.), no public officer is prohibited from voting on any matter which comes before him in his official capacity. We are enclosing a copy of a previous opinion of this commission, CEO 74-13, which sets forth under question 2 the general policy of the commission with regard to voting conflicts. Your question is answered accordingly, based strictly upon existing law and precedent.
However, in the exercise of reasonable discretion, prudence would suggest that a public officer recuse himself from voting on any matter which gives rise to the appearance of conflict.
In either case, CEO Form 4, Disclosure of Voting Conflict of Interest, should be filed with the county commission and the Ethics Commission within 15 days of the vote in question.