Agenda Item
Docket No. 17-241
Request to reconsider an advisory opinion request regarding whether Erin Guerra can be employed with NANO, LLC, while she is employed as a Building Plan Examiner with the New Orleans Department of Safety and Permits.
New Information :

Ms. Guerra is requesting the Board reconsider the advisory opinion issued to her in April advising that she would be prohibited as a Building Plan Examiner employed with the New Orleans Department of Safety and Permits, from being employed with NANO, since NANO must submit plans in connection with projects, on behalf of its clients. Ms. Guerra states that NANO does not have any current projects under review by her agency.

Further, Ms. Guerra would like the Board to consider an advisory opinion issued to her supervisor, Zachary Smith, which applied the exception in BD 82-02D to his situation that she asserts is substantially similar to her situation. If NANO does submit a project for review in the future, once she is employed with NANO and while she is still employed as a Building Plan Examiner employed with the New Orleans Department of Safety and Permits, the exception in 82-02D should be applicable allowing her continued employment with NANO. However, the exception in 82-02D only resolves a potential 1111C(2)(d) issue involving a contractual, business, financial relationship. If NANO is regulated by Safety and Permits, 82-02D would not be applicable.

Further, R.S. 42:1111E(1) not only prohibits her from assisting NANO, but prohibits NANO from assisting a client in any transactions involving the Safety and Permits Division. The 82-02D exception does not apply to 1111E(1)(a) issues.

Initial Information:

Erin Guerra is employed as a Building Plan Examiner with the New Orleans Department of Safety and Permits (Department). The Department administers and enforces standards for the construction and use of buildings and property; promotes and protects the public's interest and safety to life and property; and, enforces the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinances (CZO) to protect the quality of New Orleans' neighborhoods. Ms. Guerra's job duties include reviewing architectural plans for commercial and residential projects for compliance with all city, state, and international building codes.

Ms. Guerra has applied for a position with NANO, LLC (NANO), a design-build firm headquartered in New Orleans, to gain the hours and experience required for a professional license in Architecture. Additionally, Ms. Guerra's supervisor, Zachary Smith, has approved her request to seek outside employment with NANO, while maintaining her employment with the Department.

La. R.S. 42:1111C(2)(d) prohibits a public servant, or legal entity in which she exercises control or owns an interest in excess of twenty-five percent, from receiving any thing of economic value for or in consideration of services rendered, or to be rendered, to or for any person during her public service unless such services are neither performed for nor compensated by any person that conducts operations or activities which are regulated by her agency or has substantial economic interests which may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of her official duty.

La. R.S. 42:1111E(1) provides that no public servant, and no legal entity of which such public servant is an officer, director, trustee, partner, or employee, or in which such public servant has a substantial economic interest, shall receive or agree to receive any thing of economic value for assisting a person in a transaction, or in an appearance in connection with a transaction, with the agency of such public servant.

Ethics Board Docket No. 82-02D provides an exception to Section 1111C(2)(d) of the Code when certain factors are met: (1) the employee must be a salaried or wage-earning employee; (2) the employee's salary must remain substantially unaffected by the contractual relationship; (3) the public servant must own less than a "controlling interest" in the company; and (4) the public servant must be neither an officer, director, trustee, nor partner in the company.

Adopt revised, proposed advisory opinion.
Assigned Attorney: Tracy Barker
2017-241A rev2 Draft Opinion
2017-241- LouisianaEthics-Reconsideration for 2017-241
2017-241: Advisory Opinion
2017-241 AOR
1982-02D (2)