Meetings
 
Agenda Item
Docket No. 22-355
 
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RE:
A Request for an Advisory Opinion, submitted by Hunter Brown, regarding whether the Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics ("Code") would prohibit him providing analysis and custom dashboard development services while remaining employed as the Executive Director of Operational Quality at the Louisiana Department of Education ("LDOE").
Facts:
Mr. Brown is the Executive Director of Operational Quality at the LDOE in the Office of Operations. As the Executive Director of the Operational Quality, his three (3) areas of responsibility at work include the following:

  1. Operational Quality Management and Improvement: Oversee a team of LDOE staff members who are trained in the best practices of lean and Six Sigma methodologies to review LDOE systems and processes with the goal of making them more efficient, saving time and funding.
  2. Operational Cycle/ DOA Strategic Plan: Implement continuous improvement across the agency. LDOE staff identify objectives and targets for their work, quarterly report progress towards those targets, and modify their daily activities when necessary to better meet objectives and future targets.
  3. School System Planning Guide & Super App: Coordinate with the LDOE field-facing offices to identify the school system planning priorities for the upcoming school year, identify the CIR/ UIR- A (schools in need of improvement) planning requirements, produce the school system planning guide which names those priorities/ requirements, coordinate the creation of Super App (the application school systems submit based on the school system planning guide), evaluate submitted plans, and manage the budget for awarding competitive funds to school systems based on submitted plans.
The services he is looking to provide to either small businesses or school systems would include:

  1. Analyzing existing sets of data to assist in identifying trends; and,
  2. Building custom dashboard tools to meet the needs of the data sets being analyzed. For example, dashboards built in platforms such as Tableau or Power BI.
None of his LDOE areas of responsibility involve data analysis or the creation of dashboards. Additionally, he does not have access to platforms such as Tableau or Power BI on his agency laptop. Second, the criteria identified in the School System Planning Guide are determined by other offices. He is merely the collector of those criteria for inclusion in the guide. He does not have influence over what may or may not be asked of school systems in the future. Finally, the competitive funding he oversees in Super App could not be used to purchase the services he is seeking to offer due to the fact that allowable expenditures are restricted to predefined lists of products or vendors. He is not currently a pre-qualified vendor and will not be in the future.

Law:
La. R.S. 42:1102(2)(a)(i) defines "person" to mean an individual or legal entity other than a governmental entity, or an agency thereof.



La. R.S. 42:1102(16) defines "agency" to mean a department, office, division, agency, commission, board, committee, or other organizational unit of a governmental entity. "Agency of the public servant" and "his agency" when used in reference to the agency of a public servant shall mean for public servants in the twenty principal departments of the executive branch of state government, the office in which such public servant carries out his primary responsibilities.



La. R.S. 42:1111(A) prohibits a public employee from receiving anything 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)(1)(a) prohibits a public servant from receiving any thing of economic value for any service, the subject matter of which is devoted substantially to the responsibilities, programs, or operations of the agency of the public servant and in which the public servant has participated.



La. R.S. 42:1111(C)(2)(d) 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: (d) Neither performed for nor compensated by any person or from any officer, director, agent, or employee of such person, if such public servant knows or reasonably should know that such person has or is seeking to obtain contractual or other business or financial relationships with the public servant's agency; conducts operations or activities which are regulated by the public employee's agency; or has substantial economic interests which may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the public employee's official duty.

Recommendations:
Adopt the proposed advisory opinion.
Assigned Attorney: LaToya Jordan
 
 
ATTACHMENTS:
Description:
2022-355 - AO request
2022-355 DOE Org Chart
2022-355 - Advisory Opinion Draft