CEO 79-72 -- November 16, 1979
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
CITY COMMISSIONER CAMPAIGNING FOR CANDIDATE FOR CITY COMMISSION OR MAYOR
To: Jerry L. Bowen, City Commissioner, Callaway
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees contains no provision which would prohibit a public officer from campaigning for another person who is seeking a seat on his board or commission. However, an officer's conduct in this respect, as in all respects, should be governed by s. 112.313(6), F. S., prohibiting the misuse of public position for private gain.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were I, a city commissioner, to campaign for an individual seeking a seat on the city commission or the office of mayor?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you are a member of the City Commission of the City of Callaway. You also advise that you wish to actively campaign for an individual who may be seeking a seat on the city commission or who may be seeking the mayor/commissioner seat.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees contains no provision which would prohibit a public officer from campaigning for another person who is seeking a seat on his board or commission. However, just as in all of your actions as a city commissioner, your conduct in this respect should be governed by the following provision of the Code of Ethics:
MISUSE OF PUBLIC POSITION. -- No public officer or employee of an agency shall corruptly use or attempt to use his official position or any property or resource which may be within his trust, or perform his official duties, to secure a special privilege, benefit, or exemption for himself or others. This section shall not be construed to conflict with s. 104.31. [Section 112.313(6), F. S.]
Accordingly, so long as you do not use or attempt to use your official position, or any property or resource within your trust, or perform your official duties in order to assist a candidate for the city commission, the Code of Ethics would not prohibit your active campaigning for an individual seeking a seat on the city commission or the office of mayor/commissioner.