Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 1993-2

Advisory Opinion No. 1993-2
Advisory Opinion No. 1993-2

Student Trustee Seeking Employment Within A College
Under The Board Of Trustee’s Jurisdiction

Two student trustees serve on the Board of Trustees for the State Regional Community Colleges.  Mr. David L. Cannon, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, has asked whether it is permissible for a student trustee to seek employment within a college under the Board’s jurisdiction and to hold such employment while continuing as trustee.

The Code of Ethics for Public Officials, Chapter 10, Part I, applies to those individuals defined by the Code to be either public officials or state employees.  As a student trustee, one is clearly not an employee of the executive branch of government.  The two student trustees are elected by the students enrolled at the institutions under the jurisdiction of the Board.  See Conn. Gen. Stat. 10a-71.  All other members are appointed by the Governor.  Id.  Under the Code, a public official is defined to include any person appointed to any office of the executive branch of state government by the Governor, with or without the advice and consent of the General Assembly.  Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-79(k).  It follows, therefore, that only the members of the Board appointed by the Governor are public officials for purposes of the Code of Ethics.  Consequently, the Commission does not have jurisdiction to prohibit a student trustee from applying for or accepting a position within the community college system.

If the student trustee accepts such employment, he or she will then be a state employee subject to the Code, but only in his or her capacity as a state worker, not as a student member of the Board.  For example, the individual would be prohibited from using his or her state employee position or confidential information gained specifically in that position for personal financial benefit.

The Commission hereby overrules Advisory Opinion No. 82-9, 44 Conn. L.J. No. 21, p. 4B (November 23, 1982), to the extent it is inconsistent with this Opinion.  However, although the situation does not technically fall within the jurisdiction of the State Ethics Commission, the Board of Trustees may wish to consider adopting its own internal policy regarding the conduct in question.

By order of the Commission,

Christopher T. Donohue

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