CEO 76-203 -- November 18, 1976
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
CITY COMMISSIONER EMPLOYED AS BUYER FOR COUNTY WITHIN WHICH CITY IS LOCATED
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
Florida Statute s. 112.313(10)(a)(1975) prohibits an employee of a political subdivision from holding office as a member of the governing board of that subdivision, and s. 112.313(7)(a) prohibits a city commissioner from being employed with an agency which is regulated by or is doing business with that city. Neither provision is violated, however, where a city commissioner is employed as a buyer for the county within which the city is located, for the city in no way regulates the county.
Does a prohibited conflict of interest exist where I, a city commissioner, am employed as a buyer for the county within which my city is located?
Your question is answered in the negative.
Your correspondence indicates that you are an elected city commissioner of ____, which is administered by a city manager, and that the city commission is the final authority on most city affairs, though the commission has no authority outside the city limits or within the county at large. You have also stated that you are presently employed by ____ as a buyer, in which capacity you purchase materials for various county departments. You do not negotiate or buy on behalf of any municipality within ____ because each city maintains its own purchasing department.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees states in relevant part:
EMPLOYEES HOLDING OFFICE. -- No employee of a state agency or of a county, municipality, special taxing district, or other political subdivision of the state shall hold office as a member of the governing board, council, commission, or authority, by whatever name known, which is his employer while, at the same time, continuing as an employee of such employer. [Fla. Stat. s. 112.313(10)(a)(1975).]
The above-quoted provision prohibits a county employee from holding office as a member of the governing board which is his employer while retaining employment subject to that board's supervision. Because the ____ City Commission is a separate and distinct political subdivision from your employer, ____ County (Art. VIII, State Const.), your employment is not prohibited by this provision.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees further provides:
CONFLICTING EMPLOYMENT OR CONTRACTUAL RELATIONSHIP. -- 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)(a)(1975).]
This provision prohibits a city commissioner from being employed with an agency which is regulated by or is doing business with that city. The agency which employs you is the purchasing department of ____. See Fla. Stat. s. 112.312(2)(1975). The purchasing department of ____ is not regulated by the City of ____ nor can the purchasing department, a governmental entity, be considered to be doing business with ____, even if there were in fact transactions between the two. See CEO 76-2. Accordingly, we find no prohibited conflict of interest in your serving as a city commissioner while employed as a buyer for the county within which your city is located.