CEO 86-28 -- April 3, 1986
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
CITY COMMISSION MEMBER EMPLOYED BY COUNTY
To: Mr. Neal D. Bowen, County Attorney, Osceola County
No prohibited conflict of interest exists where a county employee who serves as convention sales manager for the county tourist development council also serves on the city commission of a city located within the county. Previous opinions CEO 76-203 and CEO 83-5 are referenced.
Does a prohibited conflict of interest exist where a county employee who serves as convention sales manager for the county tourist development council also serves on the city commission of a city located within the county?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry and in a telephone conversation with our staff, you have advised that Mr. Kenneth Maher is employed by Osceola County as a convention sales manager for the County Tourist Development Council and Visitors Bureau established by the County Commission pursuant to Section 125.0104, Florida Statutes. You question whether the employee may serve on the city commission of a city located within the county. You advise that neither the city nor the county has regulatory authority over the other and that each has various contracts, interlocal agreements, and other arrangements with the other, although none of these deal directly with tourist development activities.
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 (1985).]
This provision prohibits a city commission member from being employed by an agency which is regulated by or doing business with that city. In CEO 76-203, we advised that no prohibited conflict of interest existed where a city commissioner was employed as a buyer for the county in which his city was located. Similarly, in CEO 83-5, we advised that a city council member could be employed by the local county government as director of its civil defense office and its emergency medical service.
Here, also, it is clear that the City does not regulate the County. Based on the rationale of CEO 83-5, we find that the City is not doing business with the County by virtue of the various contracts and agreements between them. Finally, none of the circumstances you have presented indicate that there would be a continuing or frequently recurring conflict of interest in this situation or that employment with the County would impede the full and faithful discharge of a city commissioner's public duties, so long as the employment would not impede the commissioner's ability to attend meetings and otherwise perform the functions of his office.
Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were the subject County employee to serve as a member of the City Commission.