Agenda Item
Docket No. 12-237
Advisory opinion request from Mayor John D. McAdams, III regarding whether the wife of the Chief of Police for the Village of Mer Rouge may be employed as the City Clerk.
Mayor McAdams recently found out that his current appointed City Clerk will be moving by the end of the year. It is a possibility that the wife of the appointed Chief of Police, Ms. Sherri Stephens, will apply for the position. Currently, his Louisiana Certified Municipal Clerk, Ms. Janice Nelson, and the Chief of Police, C. Mitch Stephens, are under his supervision. They have served in their positions for six years and thirteen years respectively.
City Hall and the Police Station are two separate buildings, a city block apart. However, the Chief does visit City Hall throughout the day and currently drives the clerk to the bank and post office as her protection. The Chief is on call during the day and two other officers share the night duties and occasionally fill in when the Chief is away.

All personnel decisions regarding the soon to be vacant City Clerk position, including but not limited to hiring/firing, merit increases, and promotions are handled by the mayor and the Alderman. The Chief of the Police would only typically make recommendations. The City Clerk does all payroll for the Village's eight employees, which include the Police Department. The checks require both the signature of the Clerk and the mayor. Mr. McAdams seeks clarification regarding how the Code of Governmental Ethics will affect the above described situation.

Section 1119 of the Code of Ethics prohibits the employment of the immediate family member of an agency head from being employed in his agency.

Section 1119C(2) allows for the continued employment of a public employee who has been employed in the agency for at least one year prior to the employee's immediate family member becoming agency head.

Section 1112B(1) of the Code states that no public servant, except as provided in R.S. 42:1120., shall participate in a transaction involving the governmental entity in which any member of his immediate family has a substantial economic interest.

Section 1102 defines participate to mean to take part in or have or share responsibility for action of a governmental entity as a public servant through approval, disapproval, decision, recommendation, the rendering of advice, investigation or the failure to act or perform a duty.

Adopt proposed advisory opinion.

Assigned Attorney: Brent Durham
2012-237 (Draft Opinion)
2012-237- Advisory Opinion Request