CEO 76-201 -- November 18, 1976
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
WIFE SERVING AS TOWN COUNCIL MEMBER WHILE HUSBAND IS MUNICIPAL OR COUNTY EMPLOYEE
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
Only two provisions of the Code of Ethics relate to the spouse of a public officer or employee. See Florida Statute ss. 112.313(3) and 112.313(4)(1975). However, neither provision prohibits the spouse of a town council member from being employed as a police officer by either the town or the county. It is emphasized that the Ethics Commission lacks jurisdiction to advise as to the possible applicability of other statutes such as s. 116.111, the anti-nepotism law.
1. Does a prohibited conflict of interest exist where a member of a town council is married to a police officer employed by the same town?
2. Does a prohibited conflict of interest exist where a county-employed police officer is married to a member of a town council of a town located within the same county?
Question 1 is answered in the negative.
There are only two subsections of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees which specifically deal with a public officer or employee and his or her spouse:
DOING BUSINESS WITH ONE'S AGENCY. -- No employee of an agency acting in his official capacity as a purchasing agent, or public officer acting in his official capacity, shall either directly or indirectly purchase, rent, or lease any realty, goods, or services for his own agency from any business entity of which he or his spouse or child is an officer, partner, director, or proprietor or in which such officer or employee or his spouse or child, or any combination of them, has a material interest . . . . [Fla. Stat. s. 112.313(3)(1975).]
UNAUTHORIZED COMPENSATION. -- No public officer or employee of an agency or his spouse or minor child shall, at any time, accept any compensation, payment, or thing of value when such public officer or employee knows, or, with the exercise of reasonable care, should know, that it was given to influence a vote or other action in which the officer or employee was expected to participate in his official capacity. [Fla. Stat. s. 112.313(4)(1975).]
Under the facts you have stated in your letter of inquiry and in subsequent telephone conversations with our staff, neither of these subsections addresses the question you have asked. Accordingly, we find that there is no prohibited conflict where a member of a town council is married to one employed as a police officer by the same town.
Question 2 is answered in the negative.
For the same reasons stated in response to question 1 above, we find that there is no prohibited conflict where a county-employed police officer is married to a member of a town council of a town located within the same county.
We wish to point out, however, that this commission has authority to issue advisory opinions only as to the applicability of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees as contained in part III, Ch. 112, F. S. We have no jurisdiction with respect to other statutes, for example, Florida Statute s. 116.111, the anti-nepotism law.