CEO 85-47 -- July 11, 1985






To:      Mr. Philip L. Rosenthal, Fire Chief, City of Pembroke Pines




No prohibited conflict of interest would be created were a city fire chief to serve on the board of directors of a local hospital, where the hospital is not doing business with the fire department. CEO's 80-45 and 80-46 are referenced.




Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were you, a city fire chief, to serve on the board of directors of a local hospital?


Your question is answered in the negative.


In your letter of inquiry you advise that you serve as the Fire Chief of the City of Pembroke Pines, in which position you are responsible for emergency medical services as well as fire suppression. You also advise that your patient distribution is to five area hospitals, with 2% outside the County, 53% to hospitals outside the City limits, and 45% to a private, for profit hospital located within the City.

In addition, you advise that the local hospital for the past ten years has provided contributions to the City ranging from equipment to annual medical physicals for all Fire Department personnel. To the best of your knowledge, the Fire Department does not purchase anything from the hospital. Recently, you advise, the hospital was sold to a major hospital corporation which is considering a new board of directors which would include two members from the community. You have been asked to serve as a director of the hospital, an unpaid, volunteer position.

Two provisions of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees are of particular importance in this situation. The first provision is Section 112.313(7), Florida Statutes, which prohibits a public officer or employee from having certain types of conflicting employment or contractual relationships. However, we previously have advised that uncompensated service as a member of a board of directors does not constitute an employment or contractual relationship. See CEO 80-45 and CEO 80-46.

The second provision of the Code of Ethics which bears on your question is Section 112.313(3), Florida Statutes, which would prohibit you from being a director of a business entity which is selling any goods or services to the Fire Department. However, you have indicated that the Fire Department does not make purchases from the hospital.

Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were you to serve on the board of directors of the hospital while remaining in your position as Fire Chief.