CEO 82-85 -- October 29, 1982
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
SCHOOL DISTRICT EMPLOYEE PHOTOGRAPHING SCHOOL FUNCTIONS
To: Mr. Robert D. Buffmire, Director of Food Service, Brevard County School District
A prohibited conflict of interest would be created under Section 112.313(3), Florida Statutes, were the director of food services for a school district to serve as the photographer at school dances or for other school functions unless the aggregate amount of purchases from the school district and schools within the district does not exceed $500 per calendar or fiscal year [Section 112.313(12)(f), Florida Statutes], or unless his services are paid for directly by the students or other individuals involved from private funds.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were you, the director of food service for a school district, to serve as the photographer at school dances or for other school functions?
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you are employed as the Director of Food Service for the Brevard County School District and that you also are a professional photographer. You question whether you may serve as the photographer at local high school dances or for other school functions, such as athletic team pictures.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides in relevant part:
DOING BUSINESS WITH ONE'S AGENCY. -- No employee of an agency acting in his official capacity as a purchasing agent, or public officer acting in his official capacity, shall either directly or indirectly purchase, rent, or lease any realty, goods, or services for his own agency from any business entity of which he or his spouse or child is an officer, partner, director, or proprietor or in which such officer or employee or his spouse or child, or any combination of them, has a material interest. Nor shall a public officer or employee, acting in a private capacity, rent, lease, or sell any realty, goods, or services to his own agency, if he is a state officer or employee, or to any political subdivision or any agency thereof, if he is serving as an officer or employee of that political subdivision. The foregoing shall not apply to district offices maintained by legislators when such offices are located in the legislator's place of business. This subsection shall not affect or be construed to prohibit contracts entered into prior to:
(a) October 1, 1975.
(b) Qualification for elective office.
(c) Appointment to public office.
(d) Beginning public employment.
[Section 112.313(3), Florida Statutes (1981).]
This provision prohibits an employee of a School District from acting in a private capacity to sell any goods or services to the School District or any school within the District. See CEO 77-42, CEO 77-125, CEO 79-83, and CEO 80-35. Therefore, you are prohibited from selling your services as a photographer to the School District and to schools within the District, which would include purchases of your services from internal accounts at those schools.
However, as noted in the above opinions, there are a number of exemptions to the strict application of this prohibition. Of these exemptions, the one most likely to be applicable provides that Section 112.313(3) does not apply when
[t]he total amount of the subject transaction does not exceed $500. [Section 112.313(12)(f), Florida Statutes (1981).]
In CEO 77-182, we advised that this prohibition would exempt a total of no more than $500 worth of business in any given twelve-month period.
Section 112.313(3) applies to the sale of goods or services to a public body. Therefore, where your services as a photographer are paid for directly by the students at a dance or by other individuals involved, and not from public funds such as internal accounts of the school, Section 112.313(3) would not apply.
Accordingly, we find a prohibited conflict of interest would be created were you to serve as the photographer at school dances or for other school functions unless the aggregated amount of purchases from the School District and schools within the District does not exceed $500 per calendar or fiscal year, or unless your services are paid for directly by the students or other individuals involved from private funds.