Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 1995-14

Advisory Opinion No. 1995-14
Advisory Opinion No. 1995-14

 DAS Computer Technician May Accept Elective
Municipal Position As Constable

The petitioner is employed by the Department of Administrative Services as a User Support Specialist, a classified position.  He has asked whether, under the Code of Ethics for Public Officials, he may accept outside employment as a Constable of the City of Manchester.  As a User Support Specialist, the petitioner provides technical assistance in the operation of DAS’s computerized information system.  The duties of a constable, which is an elective and compensated position, mainly involve the service of tax warrants and other papers for the City of Manchester and its Probate Court.

Pursuant to Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies 5-266a-1, a classified state employee may not hold an elective municipal position if, in his or her state position, the employee has discretionary power to remove or penalize the incumbent of the municipal office or regulate his or her compensation, approve the accounts or actions of the Office or affect any State monies for which the municipality itself would be eligible.  The petitioner does not have discretionary authority to affect either the Office of constable or the City of Manchester, and is therefore unhindered by 5-266a-1.

In addition, Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(b) prohibits the acceptance of other employment which will either impair a state employee’s independence of judgment with respect to his or her state duties, or which will result in the disclosure of confidential information acquired in the course of state service.  Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(c), a state employee may not use his or her public position or confidential information acquired as a result of such position to obtain financial gain.  Given the petitioner’s state duties, neither his independence of judgment nor confidential information would be compromised by the nature of his proposed outside employment.

However, if the petitioner should find that the service of tax warrants requires regular or prolonged absences from his state work day, the Commission would view the outside employment as an impairment of the petitioner’s independence of judgment with respect to his state duties, in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(b).

By order of the Commission,

David T. Nassef

Content Last Modified on 9/7/2005 8:01:11 AM