CEO 86-51 -- June 19, 1986
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
CITY COUNCIL MEMBER PRESIDENT OF CRUISE COMPANY CONTRACTING WITH CITY
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
A prohibited conflict of interest would be created were a city council member to be employed as president of a cruise company which would contract with the city for the use of a city port facility, docking, and parking spaces. Section 112.313(7), Florida Statutes, prohibits a city council member from being employed by a business entity which is doing business with the city.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were you, a city council member, to be employed as president of a cruise company which would contract with the city for the use of a city port facility, docking, and parking spaces?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you serve as a member of the Pensacola City Council. You also advise that you have been contacted about possible employment as the president of a cruise company which is interested in locating a cruise ship operation at the City. In order to do so, an agreement or contract between the City Council and the company will have to be approved.
In a telephone conversation with our staff, you advised that under the contract or agreement the company would obtain and pay for the use of a terminal facility and docking at the City port; the company additionally may lease parking space from the City. The City also would stand to benefit, you advised, from the collection of wharfage and docking fees arising out of the cruise ship operation.
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 public officer from being employed by a business entity which is doing business with his agency. Here, it is apparent that the company with which you may be employed would be doing business with the City. See CEO 86-37 (development company leasing city land and constructing development project for city would be "doing business" with city), and CEO 80-25 (corporation contracting with county to lease county arena is "doing business" with county).
We have examined the exemptions to this prohibition which are contained in Section 112.313(12), Florida Statutes, and conclude that none of the exemptions are applicable here. See CEO 86-37, CEO 80-10, and CEO 79-10. For your information, we have advised that a public official should not represent his employer or a client before the body upon which he serves. See CEO 78-86 and CEO 77-126.
Accordingly, we find that a prohibited conflict of interest would be created were you, a City Council member, to be employed as president of a cruise company which would contract with the City for the use of a City port facility, docking, and parking spaces.