Advisory Opinion No. 96-80

Re: Barbara A. VonVillas, Ph.D.


Whether a former Middletown School Committee member, a municipal elected official, can teach a workshop for the Middletown School?


The Code of Ethics provides that the Petitioner shall not appear before the agency of which she was a member for a period of one year after she has officially severed her position with the agency. R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-(e). Additionally, the Petitioner shall not accept any appointment by the body which she is or was a member until the expiration of one year after the termination of her membership in such body. Commission Regulation 36-14-5006.

The Code of Ethics does not prohibit the Petitioner from teaching a workshop in the Middletown School. This is based on representations that the Petitioner has resigned her position with the Middletown School Committee and that the School Committee is not involved in the Petitioner's hiring. The Petitioner's engagement by the Middletown School administration to conduct a workshop does not constitute either appearing before the School Committee or employment from her own Board. See A.O. 94-32 (School Committee member could seek employment with Southern Rhode Island Collaborative as the Petitioner's school only carried one of nine votes and the Collaborative is a third party); A.O. 90-87 (School Committee member could be employed as extra curricular strength and conditioning coach for the School as the position was advertised, no one applied and amounted to $1100 annually); A.O. 90-69 (Providence School Board Member may apply for administrative position within the School provided that the member resign his position on the Board since the Board has authority over the staff involved in the interview process). However, we advise and caution the Petitioner that she may not appear before the School Committee until one year after her resignation.

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