Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 1995-2

Advisory Opinion No. 1995-2
Advisory Opinion No. 1995-2

Application Of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84b(c)
To Out-Of-State Employment

Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84b(c)(2), one of the post-state employment restrictions of the Code of Ethics for Public Officials, provides that no former public official or state employee who held one of approximately 75 designated positions in an executive branch regulatory agency shall, within one year after leaving state service, accept employment with a business subject to regulation by that agency.  As used in 1-84b(c), the term “employment” means “professional services or other services rendered as an employee or as an independent contractor.”  Only the following regulatory agencies are affected:  The Commission on Hospitals and Health Care, the Connecticut Siting Council, the Banking, Insurance, Liquor Control and Public Utility Control Departments, the DPUC’s Division of Consumer Counsel, the Division of Special Revenue and the Gaming Policy Board.  Designated positions are listed in Ethics Commission Regulations 1-92-40a.

The petitioner has asked whether the prohibition against accepting employment with a business subject to regulation by one’s agency would apply if the position offered by a regulated industry were located in an out-of-state office and involved no contact with the individual’s former state agency.

The petitioner posits that the legislative goals of 1-84b(c) are met if post-state employment contact with one’s former agency is eliminated through a combination of sheer distance and forbearance.  However, contact between a former executive branch employee or official and his or her former agency, for one year, is strictly prohibited by a separate provision of the Code, Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84b(b), no matter the location of the individual’s post-state employment.

The goal of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84b(c) is to decrease the likelihood that an official will tailor his or her conduct in office to enhance opportunities for subsequent private employment in the same field.  A post-state employment “cooling off” period both reduces the incentive to curry favor with a private employer and increases public confidence in government.  See State Ethics Commission Advisory Opinion No. 92-22, 54 Conn. L.J. 14, p. 13C (October 6, 1992).  The purpose of 1-84b(c), to minimize the effect a State servant’s interest in subsequent private employment will have on the performance of his or her public duties, would be defeated by permitting out-of-state or foreign employment by a regulated business.

By order of the Commission,

Rev. William Sangiovanni
Acting Chairperson

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