Advisory Opinion No. 2002-49

Re: Guy A. E. Geffroy, M.D.

QUESTION PRESENTED

The petitioner, a physician who serves as the medical advisor to the City of Providence Retirement Board, requests an advisory opinion as to whether he is required to file annual financial disclosure statements with the Ethics Commission.

RESPONSE

It is the opinion of the Rhode Island Ethics Commission that the petitioner, a physician who serves as the medical advisor to the City of Providence Retirement Board, is not required to file annual financial disclosure statements with the Ethics Commission and is not subject to the provisions of the Code of Ethics.

The Code of Ethics requires all state and municipal elected and appointed officials to file annual financial statements with the Ethics Commission. See R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-16.

The General Assembly has deemed that if an official is appointed by the highest governing body of the state or municipality or for a term of office and exercises governmental functions other than in an advisory nature, the public official is required to file a personal financial statement pursuant to the Code of Ethics. See R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-2(9). Further, independent contractors of a state or municipal government are neither “employees” nor appointed officials subject to the provisions of the Code of Ethics. See Suzanne Worrell Gemma, et al. v. Rhode Island Ethics Commission (C.A. No. 94-3404, filed Sept. 17, 1994).

The petitioner serves as the medical advisor to the City of Providence Retirement Board. Although members of the Retirement Board are municipal appointed officials subject to the financial disclosure dictates of R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-16, the petitioner is not appointed to a municipal office by the Mayor or City Council. Rather, he provides medical advice to the Retirement Board as a consultant and submits bills to the City for his services. Therefore, he is not a “state or municipal appointed official” within the meaning of R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-4 and is not required to file a financial disclosure statement under R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-16. Further, as an independent contractor, the petitioner does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission and is not covered by the conflict of interest provisions contained in the Code of Ethics. See R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-2.

Code Citations:

36-14-2(9)
36-14-4
36-14-16

Related Advisory Opinions:

2001-60
2001-23
2000-46
2000-36
99-18
98-85
98-62
97-141
97-70
96-51
96-50
96-40
96-39
96-38
96-37

Related Case Law:

Gemma v. R.I. Ethics Commission, (R.I. Sup. Ct., C.A. No. 94-304, filed September 17, 1994)

Keywords:

Code jurisdiction
Financial disclosure