Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 1993-18

Advisory Opinion No. 1993-18
Advisory Opinion No. 1993-18

Retardation Case Manager Who Leaves To Become Private
Agency Executive Director

Peter F. Love, a Case Manager in Region 2 of the Department of Mental Retardation (“DMR”), has asked how the Code of Ethics for Public Officials, Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-79 et seq., applies to him if he accepts a position as the Executive Director of the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Greater Hartford, Inc. (“UCP/GH”).

First, under Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84b(d), no former state employee who participated substantially in the negotiation or award of a contract obliging the state to pay fifty thousand dollars or more, or who supervised the negotiation or award of such a contract, may accept a job with a party to the contract other than the state for a year after leaving state service if the contract was executed less than a year before state employment is terminated.  Substantial participation is any activity which is more than simply ministerial in nature, and includes, for example, participation on a negotiating team.  See Advisory Opinion No. 86-9, 48 Conn. L.J. No. 11, p. 33 (9/9/86).  Mr. Love has stated that, while UCP/GH does provide certain contractual day services to DMR and its clients, he has not been involved in the negotiation or award of any such contract.  Therefore, this provision of the Code should not prevent Mr. Love’s acceptance of the UCP/GH position.

Turning to the post-employment restrictions, as a preliminary matter, Mr. Love has demonstrated sensitivity to the requirements of the Code by structuring an arrangement with UCP/GH which appears to avoid the “revolving door” problems most often encountered.  For example, he has been “specifically forbidden” by the Board of UCP/GH never to represent that organization in connection with any particular matter in which he participated personally and substantially while in state service and in which the state has a substantial interest.  Such representation is prohibited by Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84b(a).

Similarly, Mr. Love has agreed with UCP/GH not to represent that group before DMR for a period of one year after leaving his state job, as required by Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84b(b).  Mr. Love is not prohibited from using his expertise gained in state service to assist UCP/GH “back at the office,” for example in preparing documents for submission to DMR, although he may not attend meetings with DMR employees, make phone calls, sign applications or other correspondence, or include his name on UCP/GH letterhead submitted to DMR.  See Advisory Opinion No. 91-24, 53 Conn. L.J. No. 16, p. 1C (10/15/91).

Finally, under Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84a, Mr. Love may not use or disclose any confidential information acquired by him in the course of his state job for financial gain for himself or anyone else.

Provided that these restrictions are followed--which the exemplary approach to the problem taken by Mr. Love and his future employer seems to ensure--the Code does not prohibit the employment contemplated.

By order of the Commission,

Christopher T. Donohue

Content Last Modified on 9/7/2005 7:59:47 AM