Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 2003-3

Advisory Opinion No. 2003-3
Advisory Opinion No. 2003-3

Application Of Ethics Code Revolving Door Provisions To Hiring Of
State Employee With Technical Expertise By Vendor

A number of state agencies have asked the State Ethics Commission how the revolving door provisions of the Code of Ethics for Public Officials, Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-79 et seq., apply to the following set of facts. A state employee with a certain technical expertise is laid off from his state employment. A private vendor under contract with the employee’s state agency offers to hire the individual to perform substantially the same work previously performed for, and compensated by, the State. The former state employee was not involved in any way with the negotiation or award of the contract between the vendor and the State. The vendor’s contract with the state agency may or may not be amended to include the value of the former state employee’s salary.

The Ethics Code prohibits a former state employee from representing anyone, including himself, for compensation, before his former agency for one year after leaving state service. Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84b(b). Within that first year, a former state employee may negotiate an independent contract for personal services with his former agency only if his hourly rate is no greater than the rate he was receiving when he left state service, plus the pro-rated value of his state benefits. See State Ethics Commission Advisory Opinion No. 89-25 (Amended), Application Of The Code of Ethics To A Former State Employee Seeking To Contract With His Or Her Former Agency, 51 Conn. L. J. No. 24, p.2E (12/12/89). The Code also prohibits a former state employee from ever representing anyone other than the State regarding any particular matter in which he participated personally and substantially while in state service and in which the State has a substantial interest. Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84b(a). Finally, the State Ethics Commission has previously held that a former state employee who was not involved in the negotiation or award of the private employer’s contract with the state agency, and who has been and will continue to perform only technical duties that involve no matters of actual or potential dispute between his new employer and the state agency, may accept employment with the outside contractor to work on implementation of the existing contract, without violating Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84b(a) or (b). See State Ethics Commission Advisory Opinion No. 88-15, Limitations On The Application Of The Code’s Post-State Employment Restrictions, 50 Conn. L. J. No. 15, p. 3D (10/11/88)

Applying these rules to the facts that have been presented, the former state employee may take a position with the agency vendor, to assist in the technical implementation of an existing contract with the state agency. If the vendor’s contract is amended to allow the vendor to retrieve the cost of the employee’s salary from the State agency, then, for the first year after leaving state service, the employee’s hourly rate should not exceed the hourly rate he received from the State, plus the pro-rated value of state benefits, if the new employer does not provide such benefits. This restriction will avoid any conflict of interest under the one-year ban of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84b(b). Of course, any such arrangement between the vendor and the state agency may be subject to other state rules or regulations, including any applicable collective bargaining agreements.

By order of the Commission,

Rosemary Giuliano
Chairperson

 



Content Last Modified on 9/7/2005 8:04:47 AM