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2012-1548
Opinion Type
Advisory Opinion
Docket Number
2012-1548
Requesting Party
Don M. Richard
Parties Involved
Kenner City Council
Maria Defrancesch
Tamithia Shaw
City of Kenner
Decision Date
10/19/2012
Law
1113A
Caption
The Board concluded the Code of Governmental Ethics would not prohibit Ms. Maria DeFrancesch from owning Section 8 property administered by the Kenner Housing Authority while she serves as a councilwoman in Kenner.
Ethics Subject Matters
Prohibited Transactions
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STATE OF LOUISIANA
" "° DEPARTMENT OF STATE CIVIL SERVICE
p � ti o F Lo�isl
'� °" - .,. LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
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P ' it i !HI , � , . = P. O. BOX 4368
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BATON ROUGE, LA 70821
C O34a, o e (225) 219-5600
„°;� ...... . FAX: (225) 381 -7271
1 -800- 842 -6630
www.ethics.state.la.us
October 23, 2012
Mr. Don M. Richard
Kenner Housing Authority
1013 31" Street
Kenner, LA 70065
RE: LA Board of Ethic Thicket No. 2012 -1548
Dear Mr. Richard,
The Louisiana Board of Ethics, at its October 19, 2012 meeting, considered your request for an advisory
opinion concerning: 1.) Whether a Kenner City Councilwoman, Ms. Maria C. Defrancesch may own Section
8 property, and 2.) Whether the Director of Code Enforcement for the City of Kenner, Ms. Tamithia Shaw,
may volunteer as a Hearing Officer at the Kenner Housing Authority (KHA) Grievance Hearings. The KHA
is a political subdivision separate from the City of Kenner and it has responsibility over Public Housing and
Section 8 Housing in Kenner. The mayor of the city appoints a voluntary Board to oversee the KHA,
however, the mayor has no other supervision over the KHA except to appoint and remove directors.
Ms. Maria C. DeFrancesch (a Councilwoman for the City of Kenner District 4) owns property in the Section
8 program. The property has been in the Section 8 program since at least 2007, and Ms. DeFrancesch has
served on the city council since April 2006. As a member ofthe city council, you state that Ms. DeFrancesch
or her agency does not have supervision over the KHA. In owning the Section 8 property, Ms. DeFrancesch
contracts with the KHA and not the (ity of Kenner.
The Board concluded and instructed me to inform you that Ms. DeFrancesch would not be prohibited from
owning property in the Section 8 administered by the KHA. Section 1 1 13A of the Code prohibits a public
servant from entering into transactio that are under the supervision or jurisdiction of the public servant's
agency. Since the KHA is a political subdivision from the City of Kenner then Ms. DeFrancesch
would not be entering into a transaction under the supervision or jurisdiction of her agency. Therefore, her
participation in the Section 8 program is not prohibited by the Co de of Ethics.
Additionally you seek the Board's advice as to whether the Director for Code Enforcement for the City of
Kenner may also serve as a Hearing Officer for the KHA. Currently, the KHA uses employees of the KHA
as Hearing Officers, who serve as de facto magistrates at Grievance Hearings by public housing and Section
8 tenants. Ms. Tamithia Shaw, an attorney, is currently the Director of Code Enforcement for the City of
Kenner, and has volunteered to serve as a Hearing Officer at Grievance Hearings. As a Hearing Officer she
would receive no compensation. TIIe position would be strictly on a volunteer basis and neither of Ms.
Shaw's positions (as Director of Coce Enforcement for the City of Kenner or as a Hearing Officer for the
City) would have supervision over t e other.
Regarding your second question, thej Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that no violation
ofthe Code is presented by Ms. Shaw serving as an uncompensated Hearing Officer for the KHA while also
serving as Director of Code Enforcenent for the City. However, please be advised that this advisory opinion
request appears to present an issue as$ociated with the Louisiana Dual Office Holding laws, which are under
II
AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER