CEO 77-121 -- July 21, 1977
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
MEMBER OF MUNICIPAL CIVIL SERVICE BOARD EMPLOYED BY NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION RECEIVING FUNDS FROM MUNICIPALITY
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
Although s. 112.313(7), F. S. 1975, prohibits a public officer from having an employment or contractual relationship with a business entity which is doing business with or is subject to the regulation of his agency, this provision is not violated where a member of a municipal civil service board is employed by a nonprofit organization which receives municipal funds, inasmuch as the organization is not regulated by the officer's agency, the civil service board. Neither does the relationship create a conflict which would interfere with the officer's public duties, as the responsibilities of the civil service board in no way relate to the nonprofit organization.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest exist were a member of a municipal civil service board to be employed by a nonprofit organization which receives funds from that municipality?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry and in a telephone conversation with our staff, you have advised that Mr. John Thomas, a member of the Duval County Civil Service Board, has been offered employment with the Jacksonville Urban League, a private nonprofit corporation, as a housing counselor. The league provides the services of housing counselors pursuant to an annual contract with the City of Jacksonville, under which the city allocates a portion of the federal funds it has received to the league. You also have advised that under the city charter civil service board members have no input into legislation or the negotiation of contracts, although they do have control over the personnel practices of the city's housing and urban development department which generally is charged with administration of community redevelopment.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides in relevant part:
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. [Section 112.313(7)(a), F. S. 1975.]
This provision prohibits a public officer from having an employment or contractual relationship with a business entity which is doing business with, or is subject to the regulation of, his agency. As the definition of agency includes any department, commission, or authority within a municipal government entity, the subject officer's agency is the civil service board which he serves. Section 112.312(2), F. S. 1975. From the information you have provided, it is clear that the league is not doing business with, nor is it subject to the regulation of, the civil service board.
The above-quoted provision also prohibits a public officer from having an employment or contractual relationship that would impede the full and faithful discharge of his public duties. Again, it is clear that the responsibilities of the civil service board do not relate to the league.
Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were a member of a municipal civil service board to be employed by a nonprofit organization which receives funds from that municipality. Please note that we have no jurisdiction under Ch. 112, F. S., to advise you as to the application of any provision in Ch. 163, F. S., and that this opinion does not consider whether a violation of s. 163.435 would constitute a breach of public trust under s. 8(f), Art. II, State Const.