CEO 77-39 -- March 9, 1977
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEE SELLING REAL ESTATE WITHIN MUNICIPALITY
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Bonnie Johnson
Section 112.313(7)(a), F. S. 1975, prohibits a public employee from having employment or a contractual relationship with a business entity subject to the regulation of or doing business with his public agency, or which will create a recurring conflict with his public duties. This provision is not violated, however, where a municipal employee operates a real estate brokerage business and engages in the selling of real estate within the municipality by which he is employed, because the real estate firm neither is regulated by nor plans to transact business with the employee's agency, his municipal division. As his public position does not relate to realty within the city, and as he intends to engage in the private practice of real estate sales only after working hours and on weekends, there is no recurring conflict or interference with his public duties.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were I, the supervisor of a municipal division, privately to operate a real estate brokerage business and engage in the selling of real estate within the municipality by which I am employed?
Your question is answered in the negative.
You advise in your letter of inquiry that you are the Refuse Division Supervisor for the City of ____, which division is responsible for the collection, removal, and disposal of garbage, trash, and street debris. You are responsible to the city's director of public works and supervise some 120 employees. You control the division's budget of approximately $3 million and are primarily responsible for all division personnel and administrative matters.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides in relevant part as follows:
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, excluding those organizations and their officers who, when acting in their official capacity, enter into or negotiate a collective bargaining contract with the state or any municipality, county, or other political subdivision of the state; 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. [Section 112.313(7)(a), F. S. 1975.]
A public employee thus is prohibited from holding employment or having a contractual relationship with a business entity subject to the regulation of or doing business with his public agency, or which will create a recurring conflict with his public duties. As the contemplated real estate firm neither will be regulated by nor plans to transact business with your agency, the refuse division [see s. 112.312(2), F. S. (1976 Supp.)], no conflict is created pursuant to the first clause of the above-quoted provision. Further, as your public position does not relate to realty within the city, and as you intend to engage in the private practice of real estate sales only after working hours and on weekends, we find no recurring conflict or interference with your public duties.
Accordingly, based on the facts before us and described herein, no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were you, a municipal employee, privately to engage in the sale of realty within that municipality during your off-duty hours.