Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 2002-9

Advisory Opinion No. 2002-9
Advisory Opinion No. 2002-9

Application Of The Code’s Outside Employment Provisions To An
Employee Of The Office Of The Secretary Of The State

The Deputy Secretary of the State (SOS), Maria M. Greenslade, has posed the following outside employment question to the Commission.

An employee of the SOS wishes to accept work as a consultant on out-of-state projects with an entity which is a subsidiary of a company that does work for the SOS. The company received its current SOS contract by virtue of being the lowest qualified vendor selected in accordance with State procurement regulations.

The employee would perform all consulting work outside of state facilities and on their own time. No reference to the SOS or the employee’s state position would be made in the course of the consulting, which is anticipated to encompass approximately 17 weeks at a rate of five hours per week. Lastly, the employee does not manage any SOS contracts involving the parent company and has not played a substantial role in the negotiation or award of any such contract for at least two years.

Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(b) and (c), no state employee may accept outside employment which will impair independence of judgment or require or induce disclosure of confidential information, nor may the employee use his or her state position for financial gain. These provisions do not, however, prevent a state employee from utilizing expertise, including expertise gained in state service, for personal financial gain provided no provision of the Code is violated.

In this instance, it seems apparent that the potential outside employer became cognizant of the state employee through its parent company’s dealings with the SOS. Furthermore, it is acknowledged that the employee played a substantial role in the negotiation and/or award of the parent’s SOS contracts up until two years ago. Finally, it is clear that the parent has an on-going contractual relationship with the SOS, with the possibility of additional, future contract awards.

Given these factors, it is essentially unavoidable that acceptance of the outside employment in question will engender an improper use of position, however inadvertent, in violation of 1-84(c). Consequently, while the SOS employee may use his or her expertise in outside consulting, the individual should not accept work with an entity, or its subsidiary, which has benefited from the employee’s past official decisions and which continues to have a contractual relationship with the employee’s agency.

By order of the Commission,

Rosemary Giuliano

Content Last Modified on 9/7/2005 8:04:20 AM