Agenda Item
Docket No. 23-217
Advisory Opinion, submitted by Isral C. Duke, concerning whether the Code of Governmental Ethcis prohibits him from starting a business while maintaining his employment with the Louisiana Office of Technology Services ("OTS").
OTS was created in 2014 as the result of a legislative initiative to consolidate and streamline IT services within state agencies, thereby saving taxpayer dollars. Mr. Duke is currently employed by OTS as a Lead User Interface ("UI") Designer and User Experience ("UX") Designer in the Product Delivery Office. In these roles, his duties include: 1) requirements gathering for OTS developed software built for other Louisiana state agencies; 2) creating wire frames for proposed software solutions; 3) creating mockups for proposed software solutions; 4) writing web code for software; 5) creating a design system to help standardize Louisiana government web properties; 6) creating the branding and branding guidelines for OTS, creating training materials to educate OTS technical and non-technical staff about Section 508 and ADA compliance in websites and software; and, 7) performing evaluations of Louisiana government websites for Section 508 and ADA compliance.

Mr. Duke would like to create a business, wherein he would offer website and software design along with ADA compliance services to website owners. All work for his business would be performed outside of normal state work hours. Private sector businesses are not required to comply with Section 508. As such, Mr. Duke does not plan to offer any kind of Section 508 or ADA compliance training for website owners.
La. R.S. 42:1102(18) defines a "Public employee" as anyone, whether compensated or not, who is: (i) An administrative officer or official of a governmental entity who is not filling an elective office; (ii) Appointed by any elected official when acting in an official capacity, and the appointment is to a post or position wherein the appointee is to serve the governmental entity or an agency thereof, either as a member of an agency, or as an employee thereof; (iii) Engaged in the performance of a governmental function; and, (iv) Under the supervision or authority of an elected official or another employee of the governmental entity.

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.

Adopt the proposed advisory opinion.
Assigned Attorney: LaToya D. Jordan
2023-217 - AO
2023-217 Advisory Opinion Draft - Duke