CEO 82-61 -- July 29, 1982
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
CITY COMMISSIONER SERVING AS DEPUTY SHERIFF OR MUNICIPAL POLICE OFFICER
To: Mr. Albert R. Cook, City Attorney, City of Winter Springs
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees does not prohibit a city commissioner from holding another public office, as opposed to holding certain types of employment or contractual relationships. CEO's 77-95 and 77-143 are referenced in this regard. However, were a city commissioner to serve as a deputy sheriff or municipal officer, there may be a violation of the dual officeholding prohibition of Article II, Section 5, Florida Constitution. The Attorney General should be contacted for an opinion regarding that provision of the Constitution.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created under the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees were a city commissioner to serve as a deputy sheriff or as a municipal police officer in another city?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry and in a telephone conversation with our staff, you advise that Ms. Maureen Boyd is a member of the Winter Springs City Commission. You also advise that she is training as a police officer and would like to serve as a deputy sheriff or as a municipal police officer in a city other than Winter Springs.
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), Florida Statutes (1981).]
This provision prohibits a city commissioner from having certain types of employment or contractual relationships. We previously have advised that this Section does not address the issue of whether a public officer may hold another public office, as opposed to employment. See CEO's 77-95 and 77-143.
A deputy sheriff is a public officer. Murphee v. Mack, 358 So. 2d 822 (Fla. 1978). We also have advised that a police officer is a public officer under the Code of Ethics. See CEO 77-93. This is in accordance with the advice of the Attorney General given in AGO 069-2 and with the apparent understanding of the Legislature as expressed in the resign-to-run law, Section 99.012, Florida Statutes.
Accordingly, we find that the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees does not prohibit the subject City Commissioner from serving as a deputy sheriff or as a police officer within a municipality other than the one which she serves. Please note, however, that this opinion does not address the application of the dual officeholding prohibition of Article II, Section 5, Florida Constitution. You may wish to contact the Attorney General regarding the applicability of that provision since we have no jurisdiction to interpret it in an advisory opinion.