Title: Opinion File 75-9 thru 75-11
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00003418/00001
 Material Information
Title: Opinion File 75-9 thru 75-11
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Notes
Abstract: Buddy Blain's Collections - Opinion File 75-9 thru 75-11
General Note: Box 14, Folder 4 ( Opinion File 1974 - 1975 - 1974-1975 ), Item 46
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00003418
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text

GifUlONS, TUCKER, McEWEN, SMITH, COFER
1 n ^AT'l)'OUNEYS AND COUNSHI.I.LOS AT I.AW
S06 MADISON STREIV. P.O. BOX 1303
TAMPA. FLORIDA 33601
(813) 228-7841

,- 1October 7, 1975
(Revised October 13, 1975)

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TO: THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE
SOUTHWEST FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT


Gentlemen:

There have been considerable comments, statements and inquiries
on the status of the Conflict of Interest Statute as now amended
by the 1975 Legislature. Because of this, I felt that it would
be in order to give the Board my written opinion on the Statute.

In my opinion, Chapter 112, Florida Statutes, is very clear and
understandable in most of its wording; however, there are certain
provisions that are not so clear and seem to be contrary and in
conflict with other provisions of the Chapter.

The Declaration of Policy and the intent of the law is strong and
clear:

"112.311 Legislative intent and Declaration of Policy. -

(1) It is essential to the proper conduct and operation
of government that public officials be independent and
impartial and that public office not be used for private
gain other than the remuneration provided by law. The
public interest, therefore, requires that the law protect
against any conflict of interest and establish standards
for the conduct of elected officials and government em-
ployees in situations where conflicts may exist.

"(2) It is also essential that government attract those
citizens best qualified to serve. Thus, the law against
conflict of interest must be so designed as not to impede.-
unreasonably or unnecessarily the recruitment and retention
by government of those best qualified to serve. Public
officials should not be denied the opportunity, available
to all other citizens, to acquire and retain private f
economic interests except when conflicts with the responsi-
r-- ability of such officials to the public cannot be avoided.


^________________._____ ^- ---____ --


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-3BONS. TUCKER. McEWEN. SMITH. COFER & TAUB 4G OUR L TTR OF


The Board of Governors of the Southwest Two
Florida Water Management District





"(4) It is the intent of this act to implement these ob-
jectives of protecting the integrity of government and of
facilitating the recruitment and retention of qualified
personnel by prescribing restrictions against conflicts of
interest without creating unnecessary barriers to public
service."

The amendment to Chapter 112 has not, as yet, been included in the
revised statute, but is referred to as House Bill 2099 and is ef-
fective October 1, 1975. It clearly states that the Southwest
Florida Water Management District Board of Governors and its full-
time employees are subject to the provisions of Chapter 112, and
that no officer or employee of the Southwest Florida Water Manage-
ment District, acting in a private capacity, shall do business with
the Southwest Florida Water Management District. This is a partic-
.ular change related to the former provision which stated that an
mfficer.and employee of an agency could do business with the agency
Sf it were done through competitive bidding.

The provisions of the amendment which refer to matters of conflicting
employment or contractual relationship are not clear and some provisions
could be interpreted that no one could serve on the Board of Gover-
nors or Basin Boards. For example: The literal interpretation of
the prohibition against having or holding any employment or contractual
relationship with any business entity or agency merely because it
was subject to the regulations of the Southwest Florida Water Manage-
ment District would include virtually every business entity and every
agency, as well as every person, residing within the area of Southwest
Florida Water Management District, because they are subject to regulat-
ion by the District pursuant to the Water Resources Act. Consumptive
use permits are required for all uses of water of certain stated
amounts, and well permits are required and well construction standards
must be met throughout the District. The management and storage of
surface waters within the District, which include all major rivers'
and many lakes, as well as man-made structures, are subject to permits.
All business entities and agencies, as well as all individual persons
residing throughout the District, who are users of water (and'everyone
uses water) are subject to regulation by the District. As you will
recall, in several instances it has been necessary to declare water
shortages, and strict regulations have been imposed within the short-
age area. Some of these, such as sprinkling bans, were directed
4o homeowners..


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f K
sONS. TUCKER, McEWEN. SMITH. COFER & TAUB ONTINUIN CUR.LETTER OF
# October ?3, -9 7
SHEET NO.
Three
The Board of Governors of the Southwest
Florida Water Management District

i
4

Certainly, based upon the direct, positive and clear statements con-
tained above in Chapter 112.311, quoted above, this cannot be the
intent of the amendment. Therefore, it is my opinion that members
of the Governing Board and Basin Boards would not be prohibited per
se by the Conflict of Interest law from employment or contractual
relationships with a business entity merely because it is subject
to regulation by the District nor would there be deemed to be a con-
flict; however, the law clearly prohibits any employment or contract-
ual relationship which' creates specific continuing or frequently
recurrring conflict between his private interests and the performance
of his public duties or that would impede the full and faithful dis-
charge of his public duties.

It is my further opinion that if any private or other public business
entity in which a Board member has an interest because of employment,
office, material ownership interest or contractual relationship, comes
Before the Board for action, then the affected member shall declare
his interest, refrain from voting and file Disclosure Form No.4 with
the District and with the Commission on Ethics within 15 days and
file a memorandum as to the nature of his interest as a public record
with the person responsible for recording the minutes of the meeting
who shall incorporate the memorandum in the minutes. If this con-
flicting relationship because of employment or a contractual relation-
ship, creates a continuing or frequently recurring conflict between
his private interest and the performance of his duties, then he would
have to cancel his private interest or resign as a Board member.

In addition, House Bill 2099 provides that employment or a contractual
relationship shall not be prohibited or deemed a conflict if the
agency is a legislative body. It is my opinion that the Governing
Board is a legislative body in the context of this Statute.

If you have any questions concerning this law or would like to dis-
cuss the same, please let me hear from you. /

Yours very truly, /

GIBBONS, TUCKER, McEWEN,
SMITH, COFER & TAUB

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