CEO 76-40 -- February 13, 1976
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
COUNTY COMMISSIONER PARTICIPATING IN TRAINING PROGRAM SPONSORED BY THE COUNTY
To:(Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Bonnie Johnson
Where a county department of manpower training is charged with the administration of the manpower training program sponsored by that county, a member of the board of county commissioners is prohibited by Fla. Stat. s. 112.313(7)(1975) from participating as an employer in said program. The director of the department of manpower training, who is primarily responsible for the selection of program participants, is employed by and serves at the pleasure of the board. The subject commissioner therefore may not enter into a contractual relationship with this department which is subject to the regulation of the board.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were a county commissioner to participate as an employer in a manpower training program sponsored by the county?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
It is our understanding that the subject county commissioner is the sole owner of a farm and wishes to take part in the manpower training program in order to employ and train an equipment operator for work on his farm.
The Manpower Training Program, established by Title One of the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of 1973, Public Law 93-203, is a federally funded program designed to provide job training and employment opportunities for economically disadvantaged, unemployed, or underemployed persons. Toward this end, payments are made to public or private employers who participate in the program in an effort to expand job opportunities. The subject program is sponsored by ____ and ____ Counties via an inter-local agreement and is administered in the latter county through the county department of manpower training whose staff selects, through certification of eligibility, those who will participate in the program. Federal moneys are given directly to the county, which then disburses program funds. Potential trainees and employers are introduced by the department, the trainee is placed on the employer's payroll, and the employer is reimbursed approximately 50 percent of the trainee's wages by the county.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers provides in relevant part:
CONFLICTING EMPLOYMENT OR CONTRACTUAL RELATIONSHIP. --
(a) 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 . . . . [Fla. Stat. s. 112.313(7)(1975).]
As an agency of the county, the department of manpower training is subject to the regulation of the board of county commissioners. The director of the department, who is primarily responsible for the selection of program participants, serves at the pleasure of the board, and the department's budget is subject to approval by the board. Accordingly, the above-quoted provision of the Code of Ethics would be violated were the subject county commissioner to contract with the county department of manpower training to participate as an employer in the manpower training program.