CEO 82-69 -- September 20, 1982
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
STATE HOSPITAL EMPLOYEE WORKING FOR PRIVATE PROFIT SEEKING CORPORATION LICENSED IN PART BY D.H.R.S.
To: Dr. Munir A. Madiwale, Treatment Team Director, South Florida State Hospital, Hollywood
No prohibited conflict of interest exists where a Treatment Team Director with the South Florida State Hospital provides and directs psychiatric services without pay at a home for emotionally disturbed children which is licensed by the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services and run as part of a private, profit-seeking corporation owned by his spouse. As the employee is providing his services to the private organization without compensation, he does not have any employment or contractual relationship with the private corporation. Therefore, no prohibited conflict of interest exists under Section 112.313(7), Florida Statutes, which prohibits certain conflicts of interest based upon employment or contractual relationships.
Does a prohibited conflict of interest exist where you, an employee of the South Florida State Hospital, provide and direct psychiatric services without pay at a home for emotionally disturbed children which is licensed by the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services yet run as a part of a private, profit-seeking corporation owned by your wife?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you are a psychiatrist who is employed at the South Florida State Hospital. Your current position with the Hospital, Treatment Team Director, involves clinical supervision of six treatment teams. You advise that you do not make specific recommendations for placement of children or adolescents outside of the Hospital.
In a telephone conversation with our staff, you also advised that you provide services without compensation for a private, profit- seeking corporation owned by your wife, the purpose of which is to provide group homes to treat emotionally disturbed children. The corporation has no contractual agreement with the State, except that it serves State clients, just as it would private clients, if they so desire. You further advise that the corporation receives no funding from the State. Your work for the corporation involves providing and directing professional services at the first of its residential treatment group homes, which opened recently. This home is licensed by District X of the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services.
Section 112.313(7)(a), Florida Statutes states:
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.
This provision prohibits a public employee from having any employment or contractual relationship with a business entity which is regulated by or doing business with his agency. It also prohibits a public employee from having any employment or contractual relationship which would create a continuing or frequently recurring conflict between his private interests and the performance of his public duties. In a previous advisory opinion, CEO 76-21, we found that a person who is not paid for his services by an organization is not employed by or under a contractual relationship with that organization for purposes of this statute. See, also, CEO's 77-16 and 80-90. As you receive no compensation from the corporation, it follows that you are not employed by that organization. Therefore, you cannot be in violation of either part of Section 112.313(7)(a).
Accordingly, it is our opinion that no prohibited conflict of interest exists where you provide noncompensated psychiatric services at the residential treatment group home while being employed as Treatment Team Director at the South Florida State Hospital.