Agenda Item
Docket No. 22-326
Advisory opinion request regarding any prohibitions that may arise if Andrew L. Halbrook (Andy) is elected to Ruston City Council while his son serves as the City of Ruston Public Works Utilities Manager. (Pop = 21,849)
Andy L. Halbrook intends to run for election to the Ruston City Council in the fall of 2022. Mr. Halbrook's son, Andrew H. Halbrook, currently serves as the City of Ruston Public Works Utilities Manager. Andrew H. Halbrook was hired by the City of Ruston in 2015. Andrew H. Halbrook reports to the Director of Public Works and supervises 31 city employees.

Mr. Halbrook requested an answer to the following questions:

1. Whether the election of Andy L. Halbrook to the Ruston City Council would prohibit his son Andrew H. Halbrook from remaining employed with the City of Ruston?

2. If Mr. Halbrook's son is responsible for preparation of portions of the city budget every year, is he allowed to vote on the budget?

3. If a general pay raise for all employees is brought to a vote by the council either in the annual budget or as an amendment to the annual budget, will he be allowed to vote on it?

4. If his son is managing a project and the project needs approval from the city council to move forward, will he be allowed to vote on it?

La. R.S. 42:1112B(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. 42:1119B provides no member of the immediate family of a member of a governing authority or the chief executive of a governmental entity shall be employed by the governmental entity.

La. R.S. 42:1119C(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. 42:1102(21) defines "substantial economic interest" as an economic interest which is of greater benefit to the public servant or other person than to a general class or group of persons, except: (a) the interest that the public servant has in his position, office, rank, salary, per diem, or other matter arising solely from his public employment or office; (b) the that an elected official who is elected to a house, body, or authority has in a position or office of such house, body, or authority which is required to be filled by a member of such house, body, or authority by law, legislative rule, or home rule charter, (c) the interest that a person has as a member of the general public.

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.

Adopt draft advisory opinion.
Assigned Attorney: Suzanne Mooney
2022-326 - AO request
2022-326 - Advisory Opinion Draft - July