Agenda Item
Docket No. 23-820
Advisory Opinion Request from James Doherty, on behalf of the St. Landry Parish Solid Waste Disposal District (the "District"), as to what restrictions apply to an employee of the District who was recently elected as a member of the St. Landry Parish Council.
The District is a state agency created by an act of the legislature of the State of Louisiana. Four of the nine board members of the District are appointed by the St. Landry Parish Council (the "Parish Council").
Faltery Jolivette is an employee of the District, serving as an operations coordinator. In that role, Mr. Jolivette is responsible for purchasing supplies and equipment from vendors. Certain of these vendors may also be vendors to the Parish Council.
Mr. Jolivette was recently elected to serve as a member of the Parish Council. He is scheduled to take office in January 2024.
The District would like to know whether Mr. Jolivette may continue his employment with the District, and what limitations he may have in carrying out his duties as a member of the Parish Council. Further, he would like to know if he may continue, in his capacity as an employee of the District, to transact the business of purchasing from persons that may also do business with the Parish Council.
La. R.S. 42:1112A prohibits a public servant from participating in a transaction involving his governmental entity in which he has a substantial economic interest.
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.
La. R.S. 42:1120 provides an exception for an elected official to recuse themselves from voting on matters that violate La. R.S. 42:1112. The official may discuss and debate the matter, provided that he makes the disclosure of his conflict prior to his participation in such debate or discussion and prior to the vote.
La. R.S. 42:1102(2)(a)(i) defines "agency" to mean a department, office, division, agency, commission, board, committee, or other organizational unit of a governmental entity.
La. R.S. 42:1102(2)(a)(vi) defines "agency" for members of a governing authority to be the governmental entity.
La. R.S. 42:1102(12) defines "governmental entity" to mean the state or any political subdivision which employs the public employee or employed the former public employee or to which the elected official is elected, as the case may be.
La. R.S. 42:1102(15) defines "participate" to mean to take part in or to have responsibility for action of a governmental entity or proceeding, personally, as a public servant of the governmental entity, through approval, disapproval, decision, recommendation, the rendering of advice, investigation, or the failure to act or perform a duty.
La. R.S. 42:1102(18)(a) defines "public employee" to mean any person, 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; (iv) under the supervision or authority of an elected official or another employee of the governmental entity.
La. R.S. 42:1102(19) defines "public servant" to mean a public employee or elected official.
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.
Adopt proposed advisory opinion.
Assigned Attorney: Charles Reeves
2023-820 - AO
2023-820 - Advisory Opinion Draft - Doherty