CEO 76-145 -- July 26, 1976
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
CITY EMPLOYEES BIDDING ON SURPLUS PROPERTY SOLD AT AUCTION BY CITY
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Bonnie Johnson
Although Florida Statute s. 112.313(3)(1975) prohibits a public employee from selling goods to his own agency, and s. 112.313(7) prohibits a public employee from having a contractual relationship with an agency subject to the regulation of his agency, neither provision is applicable where a municipal employee wishes to purchase, at public auction, surplus property to be sold by the city. Inasmuch as the sale is public and was properly advertised, no special privilege or advantage is accorded city employees. Accordingly, no prohibited conflict of interest is deemed to exist.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were a city employee to participate in a public auction held by the city for the sale of surplus tangible property?
This question is answered in the negative.
You advise us in your letter of inquiry that the City of ____ will conduct a public auction for sale of surplus tangible property on Wednesday, August 4, 1976. You further have advised our staff that the auction has been properly advertised and that sale will be made to the highest bidder. Heretofore, employees of the city were ineligible to participate in such auctions due to a prohibition contained in a city ordinance. That ordinance has been rescinded, however, but the employee wishes to ascertain if the state Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees prohibits such activity.
Although Florida Statute s. 112.313(3)(1975) prohibits a public employee from selling goods to his own agency, the statute is not applicable in the instant case for the employee wishes to purchase from, rather than sell to, the city. A public employee also is prohibited by s. 112.313(7) from having a contractual relationship with an agency subject to the regulation of his agency. This provision, too, is inapplicable in this case as the employee's agency, pursuant to s. 112.312(2), is his municipal department, which does not regulate the city.
Inasmuch as the sale of property will be through public auction, of which the general public was made aware through advertisement, we perceive no special privilege or advantage enjoyed by the employee by virtue of his position with the municipality. Accordingly, we find no provision of the Code of Ethics which would be violated by the above-described participation by an employee of the city in such auction.