CEO 76-165 -- September 13, 1976
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
DISTRICT GOVERNING BOARD MEMBERS OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS OF BANKS DOING BUSINESS WITH DISTRICT
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Gene Rhodes
Reference is made to CEO's 76-20 and 76-73. Although a water management district encompasses sixteen counties and therefore does not constitute a district within a county as stipulated by Florida Statute s. 136.02(5), for purposes of the Code of Ethics the exemption provided therein is deemed to be equally applicable. Accordingly, no prohibited conflict of interest is deemed to be created where a bank of which a water management district governing board member is an officer and director serves as a depository for district funds and sells certificates of deposit to the district.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were a bank, of which a water management district governing board member is an officer and director, to serve as a depository for that district's funds and sell certificates of deposit to the district?
Your question is answered in the negative.
Your letter of inquiry advises us that the water management district board of governors desires to deposit funds in and buy certificates of deposit from a bank of which one of the governing board members is an officer and director.
Please find enclosed copies of two previous opinions of this commission, CEO's 76-20 and 76-73, the rationale of which is equally applicable to your inquiry. We have considered the fact that the water management district encompasses sixteen counties and therefore is not a district within a county as stipulated by Florida Statute s. 136.02(5), referenced in the two enclosed opinions. However, every provision of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees must be read in light of the following section:
Construction. -- It is not the intent of this part, nor shall it be construed, to prevent any officer or employee of a state agency or county, city, or other political subdivision of the state or any legislator or legislative employee from accepting other employment or following any pursuit which does not interfere with the full and faithful discharge by such officer, employee, legislator, or legislative employee of his duties to the state or the county, city, or other political subdivision of the state involved. [Fla. Stat. s. 112.316(1975).]
In enacting s. 136.02(5), the Legislature obviously felt that there is no conflict of interest where a district within a county deposits funds in a bank which has an officer or director who is also a member of the district's governing body. For purposes of the Code of Ethics, we perceive no distinction between such districts and a regional water management district and therefore feel it reasonable to apply the exemption contained in s. 136.02(5) to regional districts.
Your question is answered accordingly in the negative.