CEO 75-174 -- August 26, 1975
DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS BECAUSE OF BUSINESS DEALINGS
To: Eugene F. Shaw, Bradford County Attorney, Starke
Prepared by: Gene Rhodes
Section 112.313(3), F. S. (1974 Supp.), requires that disclosure be made by public officers and employees of any office or material interest held in specified businesses, including credit unions. Where an officer is a member of a credit union but holds neither an officer nor a material interest in such credit union, he is not required to disclose credit union membership on CE Form 3 pursuant to s. 112.313(3), supra. Nor is such public officer required to abstain from voting on matters relating to the credit union. Where a voting matter would inure to the officer's particular private gain or create a conflict between his private interests and his public duties, however, he may choose to abstain from voting. In either case, where a voting conflict exists, the officer must file CE Form 4, Disclosure of Voting Conflicts of Interests, with the body of which he is an officer and with the Ethics Commission. After October 1, 1975, such disclosure is required to be made via a memorandum to the person recording the minutes of the meeting at which the conflict occurred, in lieu of the filing of Form 4.
1. Is Commissioner Bryan required to file a Statement of Disclosure of Specified Interests, CE Form 3, because of his relationship with DuPont Mining Employee's Credit Union (DMECU)?
2. Is Commissioner Bryan required to file a Statement of Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest by Public Officers in Voting Situations, CE Form 4, because of his membership in DMECU?
Question 1 is answered in the negative.
Your letter of inquiry advises us that Commissioner Bryan is a member of the DuPont Mining Employee's Credit Union, but does not own 10 percent of the Credit Union.
He is a member of the supervisory committee of DMECU, an auditing group, but is not considered an officer of the Credit Union. DMECU conducts no business with Bradford County.
The Code of Ethics states in relevant part:
Disclosure of Conflicts. -- If a public officer or employee of an agency is an officer, director, partner, proprietor, associate or general agent (other than a resident agent solely for service of process) of, or owns a material interest in, any business entity which is granted a privilege to operate, or is doing business with an agency of which he is an officer or employee, he shall file a statement disclosing such facts within forty-five days of becoming an officer or employee or within forty-five (45) days of the acquisition of such position or of such material interest. [Section 112.313(3), F. S. (1974 Supp.).]
It is our view that Commissioner Bryan, as a member of DMECU and as a member of DMECU's supervisory committee, is not an officer, director, partner, proprietor, associate, or general agent of DMECU. Furthermore, Commissioner Bryan does not own a material interest (10 percent or more) of the assets or capital stock in DMECU. Therefore, he is not subject to the provisions of s. 112.313(3) and need not file CE Form 3.
In response to your second question, as to voting conflicts, the Code of Ethics provides:
No public officer shall be prohibited from voting on any matter in his official capacity. However, when the matter being considered directly or indirectly inures to the public officer's particular private gain, as opposed to his private gain as a member of a special class or creates a conflict between such officer's private interests and his public duties he may abstain from voting on the matter and shall file a statement explaining the conflict with the appropriate officials. [Section 112.314(2), F. S. (1974 Supp.).]
Commissioner Bryan would be required to file CE Form 4 only if and when a matter coming to a vote before the county commission would inure to his particular private gain or create a conflict between his private interests and his public duties. When necessary, a copy of CE Form 4 should be filed within 15 days with the Commission on Ethics and with the Bradford County Commission. A recent revision of the Code of Ethics which takes effect on October 1, 1975, will require that a disclosure of voting conflicts be made via a memorandum filed with the person responsible for recording the minutes of the meeting at which the voting conflict occurs. This memorandum must be filed within 15 days following the vote in question. Section 112.3143, F. S., as created by Ch. 75-208, Laws of Florida. This question is answered accordingly.