CEO 78-77 -- October 20, 1978
VOTING CONFLICT OF INTEREST
VILLAGE COMMISSIONER WHO SERVES AS A MEMBER OF COUNTY TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY VOTING AS A MEMBER OF THE COMMISSION ON MATTERS AFFECTING THE AUTHORITY
To: F. Don Durham, Executive Director, Brevard Transportation Authority, Melbourne
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
Under s. 112.3143, F. S. 1977, a voting conflict of interest requiring disclosure is created whenever a public officer votes on a measure which inures to his special gain or to that of a principal by whom he is retained. When a village commissioner also serves as chairman of a county transportation authority, no special private gain is derived in his voting as a commissioner on matters affecting the authority. Accordingly, no voting conflict of interest is created by such vote.
Does a voting conflict of interest exist where a village commissioner who is also chairman of a county transportation authority votes as a member of the commission on matters affecting the transportation authority?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that the Brevard Transportation Authority is a public body created by an agreement of local governments. Members of the governing board of the authority are local elected officials who have occasion to represent the authority before their cities' governing councils or commissions. You question whether it could be considered a conflict of interest when the authority member must present to his council such matters as the amount of municipal funds to be contributed to the authority.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides in relevant part:
Voting conflicts. -- No public officer shall be prohibited from voting in his official capacity on any matter. However, any public officer voting in his official capacity upon any measure in which he has a personal, private, or professional interest and which inures to his special private gain or the special gain of any principal by whom he is retained shall, within 15 days after the vote occurs, disclose the nature of his interest as a public record in a memorandum filed with the person responsible for recording the minutes of the meeting, who shall incorporate the memorandum in the minutes. [Section 112.3143, F. S. 1977.]
Under this provision, the measure being voted on must inure to a public officer's special private gain or the special gain of a principal by whom he is retained in order to require that officer to file a memorandum of voting conflict. We are of the opinion that a municipal commissioner would derive no private gain within the meaning of this provision from a measure pending before his commission which relates to the transportation authority, unless the measure itself in some aspect touches upon the commissioner's personal, private, or professional interests. This situation is similar to that referenced in a previous advisory opinion, CEO 77-159, in which we advised that no voting conflict of interest would exist when a public defender votes as a member of a criminal justice commission upon grant applications relating to his office.
Accordingly, we find that no voting conflict is created where a village commissioner who is also the chairman of a county transportation authority votes as a member of the commission on matters affecting the transportation authority.
Your remaining questions concern the Sunshine Law, Ch. 286, F. S., over which we have no jurisdiction. Inquiries concerning that law should be addressed to the Attorney General.