Ethics: Declaratory Rulings - Summaries

Declaratory Rulings - Summaries

Declaratory Rulings are formal opinions, interpreting the Codes of Ethics, that are issued by the Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board upon the request of any person who is not subject to the Codes of Ethics. 

    

Disclaimer:  The Declaratory Rulings published here are for the convenience of the public only. While every effort is made to assure accuracy, the public is advised that only the original Ruling on file at the Office of State Ethics and the publication of the Ruling in the Connecticut Law Journal are official.


Declaratory Ruling 2015-C  (1) Voting on the Appointment or Reappointment of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (2) Legislative Action by an Attorney/Legislator on Legislation that Relates to Outside Employment

The Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board concluded that (1) that an attorney/legislator may take part in the appointment or reappointment of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, unless he or she has a case pending before that court; and (2) that an attorney/legislator who practices in family court or serves as a guardian ad litem may take official action on House Bill No. 5505, 2015 Sess., titled “An Act Concerning Family Court Proceedings,” or any subsequent proposed legislation with identical language. 


Declaratory Ruling 2015-B Definition of "Public official" and Application of the Code of Ethics to Members of Certain Committees and Boards

The Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board concluded that members of the Healthcare Innovation Steering Committee, its subcommittees, and the Consumer Advisory Board are not subject to the Code of Ethics for Public Officials. 

   

Declaratory Ruling 2015-A Procedure/Jurisdiction and Consultants and Independent Contractors

The Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board concluded that guardians ad litem appointed by the court in family-relations matters are not subject to the Code of Ethics for Public Officials, because they are not “public official[s],” as defined in General Statutes § 1-79 (11), “state employee[s],” as defined in § 1-79 (13), or “person[s] hired by the state as . . . independent contractor[s],” as set forth in General Statutes § 1-86e.

 

Declaratory Ruling 2014-A, Conflict of Interest Provisions

The Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board concluded that the Director of the Liquor Control Division of the Department of Consumer Protection may act on matters brought before his agency by the law firm that employs his spouse (who will have no involvement in these matters), because his spouse will not benefit monetarily from his actions and the law firm is not a “business with which he is associated”; and that the Director’s spouse may, with the caveats discussed in the opinion, continue to represent clients before the agency.

    

 Declaratory Ruling No. 2011-B, Active Pursuit of a Job and Revolving Door Provisions

The ruling states that a Department of Education employee may accept employment with the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) within one year of his leaving state service, provided that, while in active pursuit of the job, he does not have anything to do with CREC's state business, and provided he comply with the Code's revolving door provisions.

      

Declaratory Ruling No. 2011-A, Outside Employment of a Legislator

A member of the General Assembly may accept outside employment as an owner of a political and nonprofit consulting firm given that he does not hold a committee chairmanship or leadership position, and that he developed an expertise in political consulting and fundraising before being elected.  He must, however, abide by strict guidelines detailed in the ruling regarding the types of issues that may arise under the Ethics Code.

Declaratory Ruling No. 2004-A, Application of the Code’s Conflict of Interest Provisions to Selection of Education Panel Impartial Arbitrators
The General Assembly established an arbitration panel within the Department of Education requiring specific expertise including representatives of boards of education, teachers unions and local legislative and fiscal authorities.

When the General Assembly by statute or by legislatively approved regulations provides for the participation of special interest groups in the state’s decision making process it, in effect, waives any inherent potential conflict of interest. The General Assembly has, by its actions, determined that any such potential conflict of interest is outweighed by the benefit of utilizing the experience and expertise of special interest groups.

Declaratory Ruling No. 1999-A,  Application of Code of Ethics Conflict of Interest Provisions to Chairman of the Judicial Review Council
The Chairman of the Judicial Review Council (“JRC”) is a “public official” within the meaning of the Code. It is not necessary for the Chairman to abstain from participating in the JRC’s review of a complaint against a judge arising from an underlying criminal proceeding predicated upon a complaint by the client of the Chairman’s law firm. The facts regarding the relationship between the client, the Chairman and the complaint brought before the JRC are simply too attenuated to trigger the application of the Code’s conflict of interest provisions.

Declaratory Ruling No. 1998-A, Application of the Code of Ethics to the Governor’s Purchase of a Summer Cottage
No aspect of the Governor’s purchase of a summer cottage from the White Memorial Foundation suggests any impropriety or illegality under the Code of Ethics for Public Officials. The Commission concluded the purchase price was within its apparent value range and the mortgage rate was not commercially unreasonable. Accordingly, it was not a gift.

Declaratory Ruling No. 98-B, Application Of The Code of Ethics To Arbitrators Appointed Pursuant To Conn. Gen. Stat. §7-473c
Certain state arbitrators, appointed by the Department of Labor are not “public officials” because they do not meet the appointment criteria in the definition of “public official” as they are appointed by a Selection Committee established by the Commissioner of Labor.

Declaratory Ruling No. 97-A, Ethics Regulations §5-266a-1 Does not Prohibit the High Sheriff from Also Holding Elective Municipal Office
The regulation restricts the activities of members of the classified service and employees Judicial Branch. The High Sheriff is neither a member of the classified service nor an employee of the Judicial Branch. As such, §5-266a-1 does not prohibit the High Sheriff from also holding elective municipal office.

Declaratory Ruling No. 96-A, Commissioner May Not Accept Additional Employment With His Or Her Own Agency
It is impermissible for a Commissioner to obtain other employment within the agency which he heads.

Declaratory Ruling No. 94-A, Application of the Code of Ethics for Public Officials to  Law Firm with which a Legislator/Attorney is Associated (Statute Relevant to Ruling amended)
The member of the General Assembly who is an attorney and partner in a law firm may not appear before those agencies listed in subsection 1-84 (d). However, other members of the firm may appear before those bodies as long as the legislator/attorney takes no part in any matter involving a listed agency and receives no compensation from any such matter. The firm may not reveal its association with the legislator, nor may it submit material with the legislator’s signature or name appearing on letterhead. Although the firm’s name includes the last name of the legislator, this is permissible as long as the full name is not used and the connection is not affirmatively stated. The firm must segregate any fees received from such representation to ensure that the attorney/legislator does not share in any profits.

The legislator/attorney may appear before other executive branch agencies not listed in subsection 1-84 (d) and may also appear before the judicial branch of government.

Because the legislator/attorney is a partner in the law firm, the firm is a “business with which he is associated” and, as such, the business is subject to the restrictions of subsection 1-84 (i) which requires the firm to enter into any contracts with the state through an open and public process.

The legislator’s Statement of Financial Interest must disclose all clients of the firm who provided more than ten thousand dollars of net income, except when such information is specifically prohibited under the professional canons of the bar association.

Declaratory Ruling No. 93-A, Application of the Code to Company’s Proposal to Hire Spouse of a State Employee
Acme Bookbinding Company may hire a sales representative whose spouse is the Head of Preservation at the Homer Babbidge Library at the University of Connecticut. The spouse employed at the University of Connecticut may not take any official action which would result in a direct and specific financial gain or loss to her husband, as opposed to his employer (e.g., if the sales representative spouse would expect to receive a commission, raise, or other financial benefit, or suffer a financial loss to a competitor). Should a potential conflict arise, the spouse employed at the University of Connecticut must file a statement pursuant to § 1-86.

Declaratory Ruling No. 93-B, Application of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1-84 (m) to the Governor (Relevant Statute Amended)
Under General Statutes Section 1-84 (m) (3), the Governor may not accept gifts from any corporation whose financial interest he may affect through official action nor may he accept gifts from any corporation that he has reason to know may be subject to his potential authority in forthcoming legislative sessions.

Declaratory Ruling No. 92-A, Application of Code of Ethics To Department of Correction Employees and Deputy Sheriffs Acting As Bounty Hunters
Department of Correction employees who have access to confidential information concerning prisoners or who have access to prisoners themselves are precluded from accepting employment as bounty hunters. Accepting employment as a bounty hunter would impermissibly impair the independence of judgment of these Department of Corrections employees in violation of subsection 1-84 (c).

Any use of the deputy sheriff’s power to apprehend criminals as a bounty hunter would violate subsection 1-84 (c) prohibiting a use of office for financial gain. It is impossible for a deputy sheriff to shed the trappings of office or mantle of authority at will. Additionally, a bounty hunter’s goal of locating and delivering defaulting principals using powers under the common law conflicts with a deputy sheriff’s duties in violation of subsection 1-84 (b) as outside employment impairing the independence of judgment.

Declaratory Ruling No. 92-B, Legislator/Attorney Appearing Before A § 1-84 (d)
An associate in a law firm is also a legislator and as a public official subject to the restrictions of subsection 1-84 (d) prohibiting appearances before certain listed agencies. This subsection only restricts the activities of the legislator. It does not dictate which clients the law firm may represent Employees or members of the law firm may review and research the public files or various listed agencies, as long as they do not reveal to the officials or employees of the agency the specific purpose of the research or the identity of their client. Neither the attorney/legislator nor any other member or employee of the law firm should discuss any matter of controversy or advocate a specific client’s position with any agency personnel, even if the client’s identity remains anonymous. Appearing before any of the listed agencies in a contested or regulatory matter for a client or on a compensated basis is prohibited by the subsection.

If a client is sued by the Office of the Attorney General on behalf of a subsection 1-84 (d) agency, the Attorney General is merely representing that state agency. Therefore, any dealings with his Office, including an attempt to negotiate or settle a case, would be tantamount to impermissible direct contact with the client agency. On the other hand, if litigation has progressed to a point which necessitates appearing in court, both parties are now before a neutral party. Negotiations between the parties in the course of the litigation would still be considered an appearance before the listed agencies.

It is not permissible for the attorney/legislator or his firm to handle a matter for a client which involves both preparatory work and an appearance before a subsection 1-84 (d) agencies by artificially charging a fee for only that part of the cases which can be done on an anonymous basis.

Declaratory Ruling No. 92-C, Official Action Taken By Legislator/Lawyers On Insurance Reform Legislation Which May Affect Their Profession
The legislation in question will impact tort-attorney legislators of which the legislator is a member. Because this legislation will impact the legislator no greater than any other member of the “group” the legislator may vote on the issue. If, however, the tort attorney/legislator was affected differently than the group, i.e., all tort-attorneys, and he believed or expected a resultant monetary benefit or detriment, he should not take official action on the matter.

Declaratory Ruling No. 90-A, Post-employment Restrictions on Former Director of Operations of Commission on Hospitals and Health Care
For purposes of the revolving door laws, substantial participation in, or supervision of, the negotiation or award of a contract includes discretionary authority to review and make recommendations, and the responsibility to exercise, and/or the actual exercise of, supervisory authority.

For purpose of the revolving door laws, “represent” means to do any activity that reveals the identity of the former state employee, e.g., appearing in person, signing a document or identifying oneself on the telephone. For example, a former state employee should not specifically publicize his or her new role by sending announcements to his or her former agency.

A former state employee may, during the one-year “cooling off” period of subsection 1-84b (b), contact his or her former agency to request generic information. For example, a former state employee may phone the agency and request a set of the latest regulations or a list of all agency opinions which address a certain regulation or statute. He or she may not, however, ask someone at the agency to interpret how particular statute or regulation would apply in a specific situation.

“Represent” includes sitting in at a hearing or meeting (whether scheduled or unscheduled) at which her employer is representing itself or another entity, because the former state employee is providing compensated representation.

Declaratory Ruling No. 90-B, State Trooper Holding Elective Municipal Office
Under §5-266a-1 (a) (2) (c), no residential trooper or patrol trooper may hold an elected municipal position in a town which the trooper is specifically assigned to police.

Declaratory Ruling No. 89-A, In the Matter of a Request for a Declaratory Ruling, Mr. Malcolm Cochran, Applicant
Mr. Cochran is a state employee. By virtue of serving as president and a member of the board of the private corporation RADAR, the corporation is a “business with which he is associated” in relation to Mr. Cochran. Accordingly, Mr. Cochran may not use his official position or any confidential information received through holding it, to obtain financial gain for RADAR.

If, under subsection 1-86 (a), he will be required to take an action that would affect a financial interest of a business with which he is associated, the Mr. Cochran must prepare a written statement signed under penalty of false statement describing the matter requiring action and the nature of the potential conflict and deliver a copy of the statement to his or her immediate supervisor. The monitoring of RADAR grants may affect the organization’s financial interest. To avoid any potential conflicts, Mr. Glass should refer all written reports concerning RADAR which he receives from his staff to his supervisor and not participate in executive staff meetings which pertain to these matters.

Declaratory Ruling No. 89-B, In the Matter of a Request for a Declaratory Ruling, Mr. Gordon Lagrow, Applicant
Mr. Gordon asked the Ethics Commission to issue a declaratory ruling as to whether Representative Carl Schiessl violated the Code of Ethics for Public Officials in representing an employer in an AIDS discrimination case brought before the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities while serving on the AIDS Anti-Discrimination Task Force.  The Commission declined to issue an opinion on the merits because the issue had been definitively settled by a change in circumstances when Representative Schiessl withdrew as counsel. The request for a declaratory ruling was moot.

Declaratory Ruling No. 89-C, In the Matter of a Request for a Declaratory Ruling, Mr. Bill Garrett, Applicant
Members of the Bridgeport Financial Review Board who are either public officials or state employees, i.e., the Treasurer of the State, the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management and the members appointed by legislators, are bound by the provisions of the Code of Ethics for Public Officials. The other members of the Board are not bound by the Code of Ethics.

Declaratory Ruling No. 89-D, In the Matter of a Request for a Declaratory Ruling, Ms. Nadine O. Monroe, Applicant
A legislator who holds a committee chairmanship may not appear for compensation before a commission or agency over which he or she exercises significant official authority. The judiciary committee is distinguishable because its jurisdiction extends not to just a single commission or agency, but to the State’s courts. Prohibiting attorneys who are committee members from appearing before the courts of the State would, in many cases, not just restrict their outside employment; it would virtually eliminate it. The Commission limited its ruling to advising against any attorney member of the General Assembly from taking part in the reappointment process of a judge before whom the legislator has pending case. The possibility of an inadvertent use of official position in violation of subsection 1-84 (c) would be too great.

Declaratory Ruling No. 89-E, In the Matter of a Request for a Declaratory Ruling, Mr. John A Berman, Applicant
When a state employee is raising funds for a legal defense fund there must be a demonstrable connection between the individual’s official authority and the financial gain at issue for the donation to be prohibited by subsection 1-84 (c). The state employee may not accept contributions from those employed or supervised by him nor should the state employee accept contributions from any individual or business contracting with, or seeking to contract with his agency. No person who is permitted to contribute should do so on behalf of an individual or business that is barred from contributing.

Declaratory Ruling No. 89-F, In the Matter of a Request for a Declaratory Ruling, Mr. James A. Wade, Esq., Applicant
A state representative collecting money for his legal defense fund must neither solicit nor accept contributions from those he employs or supervises in his official capacity, i.e., the staff and employees of the General Assembly. Additionally, the state representative may not accept any gifts from lobbyists or representatives of lobbyists. The state representative may never use his official stationary or other indicia of public office to solicit contributions for his personal legal defense fund.

Declaratory Ruling No. 89-H, State Trooper’s Appointment to Elective Municipal Office (Overrules Advisory Opinion No. 85-9, in part)
Under Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies § 5-166a-1 (a) (2) (c), a state trooper may not be appointed to a particular municipal office which is an elective office. The restriction applies because the restriction is on the office which will be held and not on how an individual obtains that office. Therefore, a state trooper many not be appointed to an elective municipal office. To the extent that dicta in Advisory Opinion No. 85-9 are contrary to this opinion, it is overruled.

Declaratory Ruling No. 88-A, In the Matter of a Request for a Declaratory Ruling, Shannon Rogelstad, Applicant
Under Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies § 5-166a-1 (a) (2) (e), a classified state employee may not hold a municipal elective office when the state employee’s official state position has direct administrative responsibility over grants to the municipality. The state employee must resign either his position as Director of Land Acquisition and Property Management for the Department of Environmental Protection or First Selectmen of the municipality.

Declaratory Ruling No. 88-B, In the Matter of a Request for a Declaratory Ruling, Elliot T. Lane, Applicant
When the revolving-door restriction of 1-84b (d) prohibits employment with a certain employer, this restriction does not extend to clients or customers of that employer as long as the clients or customers do not fulfill any facets of the prohibited employer’s role.

Declaratory Ruling No. 88-C, In the Matter of a Request for a Declaratory Ruling, Carl V. Pantaleo, Esq., Applicant

There is no universal prohibition on a legislator appearing before the State’s Probate Courts.  1-84 (d) prohibits public officials from appearing before listed agencies for compensation. The Probate Courts are not a listed agency under this subsection.  Such an appearance is not prohibited unless another provision of the Code is applicable because of the legislator’s official position or duties. As a member of the Judiciary Committee, a legislator would have particular authority over the Probate Courts. However, this authority is focused mainly on substantive aspects of the law in this area and not on control of those who preside over and staff the Probate Courts.

Court appointments are exempt from the open and public process requirement imposed by 1-84 (i). Therefore, if a legislator receives such appointments, it must be under circumstances which assure the public that improper influence is not involved. Most importantly, any impartial review of a Probate Court’s actions on appointments and fees should reveal no inordinate number of appointments, inconsistent and excessive fees, or other anomalies when a member of the General Assembly is concerned.  Any such deviation from the norm which resulted in financial benefit to the legislator would create the appearance that the official had violated the Code by using his public position to obtain financial gain prohibited by 1-84 (c).

The legislator may not take legislative action regarding the Probate Courts if the financial benefit at issue could be expected to accrue to the legislator to a greater extent than other members of his profession or occupation as prohibited by 1-84 (c) and 1-85.

Declaratory Ruling No. 88-D, In the Matter of a Request for a Declaratory Ruling, David Silverstone, Esq., Applicant

For purposes of the revolving-door restriction of 1-84b (b), “represent” has been interpreted to include submitting a document on which the former state employee’s name appears; including the presence of the former employee’s name on firm letterhead. Any activity which reveals the identity of the former state employee amounts to prohibited representation.

For purposes of the revolving-door restriction of 1-84b (b), “substantial interest” is not limited to situations where the state’s finances are involved. The state’s interest in insuring that consumers’ interests are protected, economic development promoted, and energy conservation encouraged is of “substantial interest” to the state.

Declaratory Ruling No. 86-A, In the Matter of a Request for a Declaratory Ruling, Mr. Bruce S. Beck, Applicant
The spouse of the Chief Interpreter, Judicial Department, is the president and sole shareholder of a corporation formed to provide interpreting and translating services in any language for legal and non-legal civil, commercial, and personal matters. The corporation, its officers, and its employees will not provide any services to, or be involved with, any branch of state government. It will not have access to, or in any way utilize, any information not available to the general public.

Provided the total separation between the activities of the corporation and the State, including the activities of the Judicial Department’s Chief Interpreter, is maintained, there appears to be no danger of violation of the Code by the Chief Interpreter, her spouse, or the corporation. It would, however, be a violation of the use of office subsection 1-84 (c), if the Chief Interpreter were to allow a court interpreter to work for the corporation during hours when the court interpreter should be carrying out state duties. It would also be a violation for the Chief Interpreter to state that the court interpreter was not available when one in fact was, to generate business for the corporation. Were the Chief Interpreter to learn, in the course of her duties, that a person needed interpreting services which the state would not provide, she should not refer the person to the corporation.

Declaratory Ruling No. 86-B, In the Matter of a Request for a Declaratory Ruling, Mr. Anthony Pagano, Applicant
The spouse of the Chief Interpreter, Judicial Department, is the president and sole shareholder of a corporation formed to provide interpreting and translating services in any language for legal and non-legal civil, commercial, and personal matters. The corporation wishes to solicit interpreting and translating business, on a non-contract basis, from State executive and legislative branch agencies.

 In addition to the restrictions detailed in Declaratory Ruling No. 86-A, the corporation must also comply with the restrictions of subsection 1-84 (i).  Subsection § 1-84 (i) state that no business with which a State employee is associated may enter into a contract, valued at $100 or more, with the State unless the contract is awarded through an open and public process, including prior public offer and subsequent public disclosure of all proposals considered and the contract awarded.

While the corporation has stated that it will only be soliciting business on a “non-contract” basis, this alone does not exempt the corporation from subsection 1-84 (i). While there may be no general contract, between the State and the corporation, it does not seem possible for there to be no agreement at all between the State and the corporation if services are supplied. Perhaps agreements will be made on a case-by-case basis. If valued at $100 or more, they must be reached through and open and public process.

Declaratory Ruling No. 85-A, Assistant Attorney General Elected Mayor
An assistant attorney general is running for mayor of a municipality. His main duty in the Office of the Attorney General is to handle matters for certain institutions of higher education: the State University, regional community colleges, and the State technical colleges. The assistant attorney general’s assignment to the affairs of most of the State’s institutions of higher education seems to have no relationship to the activities of the mayor of the municipality.

A classified State employee elected to a municipal office in a partisan political election must also ensure that there are no conflicts of interests as defined in section 5-266a-1. None should prevent the assistant attorney general from serving as mayor if elected.

Declaratory Ruling No. 85-B, Dental Commission Member Serving as Consultant to Commissioner of Health Services
Members of the Dental Commission are “public officials” for purposes of the Code of Ethics for Public Officials. A member of the Dental Commission may not serve as a consultant investigating matters which may later be acted on by the Commission in disciplinary proceedings without violating subsection 1-84 (b). Furthermore, the procedures under which the consulting contract is reached must satisfy the requirements of subsection 1-84 (i).

Declaratory Ruling No. 84-A, Connecticut Real Estate Division Personnel Teaching Real Estate Courses
In an earlier opinion the State Ethics Commission held that members of the Real Estate Commission were not permitted to teach courses which could be a prerequisite to applying for a real estate license and which, with their instructors and the schools offering the courses, were required to be approved by the Real Estate Commission. The specific staff members under consideration are the Executive Director, his principal assistant, and three real estate examiners.

Since that time there has been a substantial change in the duties of the staff of the Real Estate Commission. The now have no part whatsoever in the process of examining applicants for real estate licenses. They are removed from the qualification and monitoring of schools teaching real estate courses, and the qualification and monitoring of the courses and those who teach them. Because of this change, certain staff of the Real Estate Commission may teach approved real estate courses including those which serve as a prerequisite for a real estate salesman’s or broker’s license.

Declaratory Ruling No. 83-A, Sales of Foodstuff by Spouse of Liquor Control Supervising Agent
A spouse of a state employee employed at the Department of Liquor Control as the liquor control supervising agent may not hold a position as a sales representative for a food importer and wholesaler unless she confines herself to accounts which do not hold and are not applicants for a liquor permit.

Declaratory Ruling No. 83-B, Representation by a State Employee Before a Subsection 1-84 (d) Agency
As a member of the professional staff of the State University, the professor is a State employee and, as such, restricted by subsection 1-84 (d) from appearing before specific state agencies. The professor may, for compensation, conduct tests and other research, prepare reports, and even assist in drafting the application required by an agency listed in subsection 1-84 (d). However, his name may not appear on the application or any supporting documents submitted to the 1-84 (d) agency, nor may he be compensated for testimony, or any other appearance, before the agency relative to the outside employer’s application.

If the outside employer is prohibited from making a payment to the state employee because of subsection 1-84 (d), the company may make a grant to the university for research and professional development in the professor’s area of study.

Declaratory Ruling No. 81-A, Serving as a Hearing Examiner for the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities
A Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (“CHRO”) hearing officer is a partner in a law firm. Because hearing officers are appointed by the Governor to exercise the power of the state, they are public officials for purposes of the Code of Ethics for Public Officials. The only limit on the lobbying activities of any members of the members of a hearing examiner’s law firm would be that they could not lobby on matters involving the CHRO. The public official may lobby so long as he does not lobby in the area of his public responsibility.

The restrictions on public officials appearing before agencies listing in subsection 1-84 (d) exempts public officials who receive only a per diem, reimbursement or expenses, or both. When individuals such as the hearing officers receive a fixed dollar amount per day, this qualifies for the per diem exception under 1-84 (d).

Declaratory Ruling No. 80-A, Employee of the State Department of Education Serving as a Member of a Local School Board
The Commission concluded that a consultant to the State Department of Education may at the same time be a member of a local board of education. The consultant does not have the supervisory, oversight, or review powers over local school boards or their members which would make the two positions incompatible under the common law, nor is there such “contrariety and antagonism” between the two that one person could not faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of both.

Because the consultant is not in the classified services, subsection 5-266a (b), which in some circumstances precludes a classified State employee from holding elective municipal office, is not directly applicable. Whether it provides any guidance in the case at hand must be determined by another agency, for the Commission is not empowered to interpret this subsection.

Declaratory Ruling No. 80-B, Member of the Division of State Police Representing for Compensation Division Employees in Disputes with the Division
A ranking member of the Division of State Police should not for compensation represent another division employee who is engaged in a dispute with the Division, whether it involves a disciplinary matter brought by the Division or a payroll matter which ultimately may be decided by another State agency because the matters are closely related to the person’s recent official duties with the Division. The Commission has held that state employees must avoid the appearance, as well as the actuality, of a conflict of interest. Here the appearance of a conflict of interest is overwhelming, whether or not an actual conflict exists. If such representation were allowed, the potential for independence of judgment being impaired by the prospect of profitable future employment and the potential for improper use of office would shake the public confidence in the administration of the State agency.

Declaratory Ruling No. 80-C, Member of the Division of State Police Representing for Compensation Division Employees in Disputes with the Division
The Executive Director, his principal assistant and real estate examiners employed by the Real Estate Commission may not teach courses which can meet a prerequisite to applying for a real estate license and which, with their instructors and the schools offering the courses, are required by statute to be approved by the Real Estate Commission. Staff members would be suspected of having taken employment which impairs their independence of judgment. There is a possibility, albeit perhaps unwittingly, for personal gain. There is the appearance, at least, of a substantial conflict of interest.

Declaratory Ruling No. 80-D, Simultaneous Service as a State Legislator and a Metropolitan District Commissioner
A state legislator may simultaneously serve in the General Assembly and as a Metropolitan District Commissioner because he will receive no form of compensation as a commissioner and thus this is not “employment” for purposes of the Code. For the same reason, holding both offices does not appear to foster potential conflicts of interest. Simultaneously holding of two positions also should be reviewed under the common law doctrine of incompatibility of public office. Under this doctrine, there appears to be no “contrariety and antagonism” resulting when one person tries to discharge faithfully and impartially the duties of one, towards the incumbent of the other. However, as a member of the General Assembly, he would be prohibited on voting to compensate Metropolitan District Commissioners because it would result in financial impact upon him as a commissioner.

Declaratory Ruling No. 78-A, Common Cause in Connecticut, Applicant
Under the Code of Ethics for Lobbyists, registrants must include in their periodic financial reports compensation and reimbursement for lobbying received or to be received, and the payment of, or contract, agreement, promise, or other obligation to pay, reportable expenditures in furtherance of lobbying or for the benefit of a public official, a member of his staff or immediate family. Both “compensation” and “reimbursement” are defined in the statute in terms of value “received or to be received.” Therefore, the applicable terms of a contract, agreement, or promise to pay compensation or reimbursement for lobbying should be reported by, if they are registered, the prospective payor and the payee in the first financial report filed after the contract, agreement, or promise is made.



Content Last Modified on 6/25/2015 10:27:57 AM