CEO 85-69 -- October 3, 1985
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
COUNTY FIRE/RESCUE SERVICE USING CAR WASHING FACILITY OF CAR RENTAL FIRM
To: Mr. Richard A. Graddock, Assistant County Attorney, Palm Beach County
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created under the Code of Ethics were a county fire/rescue department to accept an offer of free use of a car rental firm's car washing facility, where the department inspects the firm for fire code enforcement. CEO's 83-51 and 83-79 are referenced.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were a county fire/rescue department to accept an offer of free use of a car rental firm's car washing facility, where the department inspects the firm for fire code enforcement?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that the Palm Beach County Fire/Rescue Department serves the unincorporated area of the County as well as thirteen municipalities within the County which receive service pursuant to contracts and interlocal agreements. You also advise that a national car rental firm which has facilities at the local airport has offered to the County, and in particular the Fire/Rescue Department, free use of its car washing facility when not being used by the car rental firm. The service is being offered to the County and not to any individuals for use of their personal automobiles. Finally, you advise that the car rental firm is subject to routine governmental inspections, which include fire code enforcement by the Fire/Rescue Department.
In CEO 83-51 we advised that the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees prohibits certain conflicts of interest on the part of individual public officers and employees, but would not prohibit a governmental agency from contracting with another agency to exchange or provide services. To similar effect is CEO 83-79, in which we advised that the Code of Ethics would permit a city police chief to solicit donations of funds for the police department to establish a mounted police patrol. As the use of the car washing facility would benefit the County and not any individual officer or employee of the County, we conclude that the rationale of these opinions applies equally to the situation you have described.
Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created under the Code of Ethics were the County Fire/Rescue Department to accept the car rental firm's offer of free use of its car washing facility for Department vehicles.