CEO 86-50 -- June 19, 1986
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
D.H.R.S. PUBLIC HEALTH PHYSICIST MANAGER CONSULTING WITH STATE UNIVERSITY REGARDING NUCLEAR MEDICINE TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM
To: Mr. Gary L. Tomaszewski, Public Health Physicist Manager, Office of Radiation Control, Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, Tallahassee
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created were a public health physicist manager with the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services who is responsible for the Department's radiologic technology program to consult with a State university regarding its proposed nuclear medicine technology program. As the Department will approve the program upon its approval by an AMA committee, the rationale of previous opinions CEO 81-22, CEO 80-77, and CEO 79-78 would be applicable.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were you, a public health physicist manager with the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services who is responsible for the Department's radiologic technology program, to consult with a State university regarding its proposed nuclear medicine technology program?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you are employed as a Public Health Physicist Manager with the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, Office of Radiation Control. In that position you are responsible for managing the radiologic technology and nonionizing programs of the Department. A major portion of your duties involves planning, coordinating, and implementing the certification of radiologic technologists.
You also advise that you have been approached by the University of Central Florida Radiologic Sciences Program regarding employment as a consultant to aid that program in designing didactic and clinical educational components of a proposed nuclear medicine technology program. Under Section 468.304, Florida Statutes, applicants for certification by the Department as radiologic technologists are required to complete an educational program approved by the Department. The Department's Rule 10D-74.48, F.A.C., prescribes two methods by which educational programs may be approved by the Department. The first method is through accreditation by the American Medical Association's Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation, or other accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The second method requires proof of compliance with certain guidelines. To date, the Department has received only requests for approval regarding programs approved by the AMA Committee. You advise that the staff of the program at the University has informed you that they will be seeking approval through the AMA method.
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 you from having any contractual relationship with an agency which is subject to the regulation of your agency.
In a previous opinion, CEO 80-77, we advised that employees of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles could be employed by local safety councils to teach a defensive driving course, even though the Department was authorized to approve defensive driving courses. In that case, the Department had approved the course because of its designation by the Supreme Court under the Florida Rules of Practice and Procedure for Traffic Courts. In CEO 81-22 we advised that the Executive Director of the State Board of Independent Colleges and Universities could serve on the board of trustees of a nonpublic college. There, the college had been accredited by an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, thus excluding the college from the licensing requirements and regulatory jurisdiction of the State Board. Finally, in CEO 79-78 we advised that the Executive Director of the State Board of Accountancy could teach an accounting course at a State university, despite the fact that the Board was authorized to determine what courses and hours would constitute a major in accounting, with such a major being required under certain circumstances in order to obtain a license as a certified public accountant.
Here, the Department in effect has chosen to delegate its approval authority to the AMA Committee. Although it appears that the Department is authorized to do more in the way of regulating educational programs in the radiologic technology area, until such time as it does so or until the University seeks approval of its program other than through AMA accreditation, we find the above- referenced opinions to be persuasive.
Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were you to consult with the University of Central Florida regarding its proposed nuclear medicine technology program.