Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 1999-13

Advisory Opinion No. 1999-13
Advisory Opinion No. 1999-13

Application Of Independent Contractor Ethics Rules, Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-86e,
To Families And Consumers Receiving Direct Funding From
Department Of Mental Retardation

John Houchin, Director of the Eastern Region of the Department of Mental Retardation ("DMR"), has asked whether the restrictions of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-86e apply to a support and services approach called "Self-Determination." Under this approach, the DMR consumer and/or his or her family have direct control over their DMR funding and may make their own hiring choices regarding who will supply support and services. As a result, for example, other family members may be paid to assist the DMR consumer, or may charge rent to the consumer to live in a family-owned home or condominium.

Individuals and entities hired by the state are subject to the restrictions of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-86e. Among other provisions, that section states that no person hired by the state as a consultant or independent contractor shall "use the authority provided to the person under the contract, or any confidential information acquired in the performance of the contract, to obtain financial gain for the person, an employee of the person, or a member of the immediate family of any such person or employee." Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-86e(a)(1).

In applying these rules to the question asked by Dr. Houchin, the preliminary issue is whether the consumer/family who receives the lump sum funding is an independent contractor or consultant as those terms are used in Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-86e. The introductory language of 1-86e states that that section applies to a person "hired by the state." Here, DMR provides funding to, but does not enter into a services agreement with, the consumer/family. Therefore, the restrictions of 1-86e do not apply to families in the Self-Determination program.

By order of the Commission,

Stanley Burdick,

Content Last Modified on 9/7/2005 8:02:57 AM