CEO 87-59 -- July 30, 1987
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
CITY FIRE MARSHAL WORKING AS FIRE PREVENTION CONSULTANT
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created under Section 112.313(7)(a), Florida Statutes, were a city fire marshal to serve as a fire prevention consultant for various entities which are not subject to the regulation of or doing business with the city.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were a city fire marshal to work outside the city as a consultant in the fire prevention field?
Under the circumstances presented, your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you are the Fire Marshal for the City of Pensacola. As Fire Marshal, you are responsible for fire code enforcement within the City. In a telephone conversation with our staff, you further advised that your duties include inspection of sprinklers, alarms and other fire safety equipment, design of fire safety and evacuation plans, arson investigations, and public education. You question whether you may work as a fire prevention consultant for insurance companies, builders, developers, and municipalities. All of the consulting work would be performed outside the City of Pensacola in areas where there are not authorities regulating fire codes. You basically would provide the same kinds of services to these entities as you do in your public position for the City.
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 employee from having any employment or contractual relationship with a business entity or agency which is subject to the regulation of, or doing business with, his agency. However, you also advised that none of the groups that you propose to work with are regulated by or doing business with the City.
Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were you, the Fire Marshal for the City of Pensacola, to provide these types of fire prevention consulting services outside the City.