CEO 84-44 -- June 7, 1984
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT SECURITY EMPLOYEE PRIVATELY EMPLOYED BY REHABILITATION AGENCY
To: Ms. Nancy J. Osborne, Job Service Supervisor III, Department of Labor and Employment Security, Division of Labor, Employment and Training
A prohibited conflict of interest would be created were an individual employed part-time with a private rehabilitation agency involved in job placements to be employed as an employment counselor in a job service branch office of the Division of Labor, Employment, and Training, Department of Labor and Employment Security. Because of the employment counselor's access to confidential information of value to a private employment agency, Section 112.313(7), Florida Statutes, prohibits such dual employment. CEO 79-8 is referenced.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were an individual who is employed part-time with a private rehabilitation agency involved in job placements to be employed as an Employment Counselor II in a job service branch office of the Division of Labor, Employment and Training, Department of Labor and Employment Security?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
In your letter of inquiry and in a telephone conversation with our staff, you have advised that you currently are trying to fill a position of Employment Counselor II within a branch office of the Florida Job Service, Division of Labor, Employment and Training, Department of Labor and Employment Security. You also advise that a qualified applicant, Dr. Flora A. Pinder, holds a part-time position with a private rehabilitation agency in which she contracts to provide assistance to clients who have workers' compensation claims. One of the services she provides for these clients is job placement.
You advised that an Employment Counselor with the Job Service is responsible for providing in-depth assistance to persons who are having difficulties in finding employment to enable them to locate employment. Employees of the Job Service have access to a great deal of information that is not available to the general public and which generally is not made available to private employment or rehabilitation agencies without a court order. The information is used to assist in the job placement of applicants and includes such things as scores on aptitude tests, names and addresses of employers with job openings, records showing employers who might be good sources for employment opportunities, applicant records, and unemployment compensation statements showing employers' records of reimbursement. This information, as well as other data, would be of benefit to a private employment agency and could be very useful to the subject applicant in her private work.
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 (1983).]
This provision prohibits a public employee from having any employment or contractual relationship that would create a continuing or frequently recurring conflict of interest or that would impede the full and faithful discharge of the employee's public duties.
In a previous opinion, CEO 79-8, we advised that this provision would prohibit a deputy clerk of the circuit court in charge of county recording from being associated with a local real estate firm because of the clerk's access to information not available to the general public and of potentially great benefit to the real estate firm.
For the reasons presented in that opinion, we conclude that the subject applicant's private employment also would create a frequently recurring conflict of interest and would impede the full and faithful discharge of public duties were she to be hired as an Employment Counselor with the Job Service.
Accordingly, we find that the Code of Ethics would prohibit the subject applicant from retaining her part-time employment were she to be employed as an Employment Counselor II with the Job Service.