CEO 88-7 -- February 8, 1988
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
FORMER STATE UNIVERSITY FACULTY MEMBER CONTRACTING WITH
UNIVERSITY TO PROVIDE CONSULTING SERVICES
To: Mr. Carl W. Proehl, Former Chairman of Department of Technical and Vocational Studies, University of West Florida (Pensacola)
No prohibited conflict of interest would be created were an individual who has retired as a faculty member at a state university to contract with that university to provide consulting services. Under the circumstances presented, Section 112.3185(3) and (4), Florida Statutes, would not be violated, as the project for which the individual would be contracting was developed after his retirement and as he had no responsibility over any portion of the contracting process while being employed by the university. Section 112.3185(5), Florida Statutes, would not be violated as the amount of money to be paid to him under the contract during the first year after his retirement would not exceed his annual salary prior to retirement.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were you, the former chairman of a department of a state university who has retired from employment with the university, to contract through a corporation of which you are president to provide consulting services in connection with a contract with the university?
Under the circumstances presented, your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that recently you retired from the University of West Florida as Chairman of the Department of Technical and Vocational Studies. You further advise that you intend to remain active in the educational consulting field. You propose to offer consulting services as a private corporation, of which you are the president, to provide vocational training and leadership development to vocational administrators in the public schools and community colleges of this State.
You advise that a project entitled "Leadership Development for Leaders of Single Parents and Homemakers in Vocational Education Training" was assigned by the Department of Education's Division of Vocational, Adult, and Community Education to the University of West Florida and to a community-based organization. The project was developed by the Division subsequent to your retirement, you advise, and you had no responsibility over any portion of the contracting process at any time while a University employee. Finally, you advise that the amount to be paid your corporation during the first year would be less than 25 percent of your previous annual salary.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides in relevant part:
No agency employee shall, after retirement or termination, have or hold any employment or contractual relationship with any business entity other than an agency in connection with any contract in which the agency employee participated personally and substantially through decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, rendering of advice or investigation while an officer or employee. [Section 112.3185(3), Florida Statutes (1987).]
No agency employee shall, within 2 years of retirement or termination, have or hold any employment or contractual relationship with any business entity other than an agency in connection with any contract for contractual services which was within his responsibility while an employee. [Section 112.3185(4), Florida Statutes (1987).]
We previously have advised that these provisions would not prohibit a former State employee from contracting with the agency by which he was employed to provide services where he left his employment with the agency before the contract was entered into and where he had no responsibility over the contracting process while serving as a State employee. See CEO 83-94, CEO 84-30, and CEO 84-115. Therefore, we find that these provisions of the Code of Ethics would not prohibit your contracting with the University in connection with this project.
The Code of Ethics also contains the following limitation:
The sum of money paid to a former agency employee during the first year after the cessation of his responsibilities, by the agency with whom he was employed, for contractual services provided to the agency by him, shall not exceed the annual salary received by him on the date of cessation of his responsibilities. The provisions of this subsection may be waived by the agency head for a particular contract if the agency head determines that such waiver will result in significant time or cost savings for the state. [Section 112.3185(5), Florida Statutes (1987).]
This provision limits the amount of money which a State agency may pay to a former employee for contractual services provided by him during the first year after leaving employment with the agency. As you have advised that the amount of money to be paid to your corporation would be less than 25 percent of your previous annual salary, we find this provision also to be inapplicable.
Accordingly, we find that no prohibited conflict of interest would be created were you to contract through a corporation of which you are the president with the University to provide services in connection with this project.