Agenda Item
Docket No. 21-364
A Request for an Advisory Opinion, submitted by Michael E. Parks - Attorney for the Pointe Coupee Fire Protection District No. 3, regarding whether the Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics ("Code") would prohibit a variety of scenarios.
Mr. Parks represents the Pointe Coupee Parish Fire Protection District No. 3 ("District") and District Board has asked the following questions:
1. The District has a part-time fire chief, who is engaged to be married to a ''work as needed" contract firefighter for the District. Would this be an ethics violation?
2. If the part-time fire chief promotes his fiancé, as well as all other contract firefighters to the rank of Lieutenant, is this an ethics violation?
3. The part-time fire chief appointed an assistant chief. The assistant chief has a brother who has been a contract firefighter for the District for over two (2) years. Is it an ethical violation if the assistant chief were to supervise his brother?
4. The Board did not obtain three (3) bids on a project to build a storage building and only one (1) quote was obtained in the amount of$28,900.00. When it was brought to the Board's attention, the Board cancelled the project. Is this an ethical violation?
5. If the Board hires a person to pressure wash the buildings belonging to the Fire District for less than $3,000.00, without obtaining three (3) quotes for the proposed project, is this an ethics violation?
6. If an electrically operated vending machine owned by a volunteer firefighter is placed in a building belonging to the Fire District, is there an ethics violation since the electricity used by the machine is being paid with the Fire District's money?
7. Would it make any difference if the vending machine is mechanically operated and did not use electricity?
8. If the volunteer firefighter was later appointed to the Board, would there be an ethical violation?
9. If a Board member, who is also a dive team member, were to travel out of the state to obtain dive team training at the expense of the Fire District, would this be an ethics violation?
10. If a volunteer firefighter was to travel out of state, on a personal trip, and use diving equipment belonging to the Fire District, would this be an ethical violation?
11. If the Board were to use funds belonging to the Fire District to purchase a plaque to dedicate a flag pole to a to a current board member, secretary, other officer or current firefighter of the Fire District, would this be an ethical violation?
La. R.S. 42:1102(3) defines "agency head" to mean the chief executive or administrative officer of an agency or any member of a board or commission who exercises supervision over the agency.
La. R.S. 42:1102(13) defines "immediate family" as the term relates to a public servant to mean his children, the spouses of his children, his brothers and their spouses, his sisters and their spouses, his parents, his spouse, and the parents of his spouse.
La. R.S. 42:1111(A) prohibits a public employee from receiving any thing of economic value, other than compensation and benefits from the governmental entity to which he is duly entitled, for the performance of the duties and responsibilities of his office or position.
La. R.S. 42:1111(C)(2)(b) provides that no public servant and no legal entity in which the public servant exercises control or owns an interest in excess of twenty-five percent, shall receive any thing of economic value for or in consideration of services rendered, or to be rendered, to or for any person during his public service unless such services are: (b) not within the course of his official duties.
La. R.S. 42:1112(B)(1) states that no public servant shall participate in a transaction involving the governmental entity in which, to his actual knowledge, any member of his immediate family has a substantial economic interest.
La. R.S. 42:1113(B) prohibits an appointed member of any board or commission, member of his immediate family, or a legal entity in which he has a substantial economic interest, from bidding on or entering into or being in any way interested in any contract, subcontract, or other transaction which is under the supervision or jurisdiction of the agency of such appointed member.
La. R.S. 42:1119(A) states that no member of the immediate family of an agency head shall be employed in his agency.
La. R.S. 42:1119(C)(2) provides that the provisions of this Section shall not prohibit the continued employment of any public employee nor shall it be construed to hinder, alter, or in any way affect normal promotional advancements for such public employee where a member of public employee's immediate family becomes the agency head of such public employee's agency, provided that such public employee has been employed in the agency for a period of at least one year prior to the member of the public employee's immediate family becoming the agency head.

La. R.S. 42:1113A states no public servant, or a member of such a public servant's immediate family, or a legal entity in which he has a controlling interest shall bid on or enter into any contract, subcontract or other transaction that is under the supervision or jurisdiction of the agency of such public servant.

Adopt the proposed advisory opinion.
Assigned Attorney: LaToya Jordan
2021-07-26 Advisory Opinion.draft.v2 (Docket No. 2021-364)
2021-364 - Advisory Opinion Request Michael E. Parks