Advisory Opinion No. 96-88

Re: Richard P. Sullivan, Esq.


Whether and to what extent the Code of Ethics imposes restrictions on an Assistant Town Solicitor for the Town of Coventry, a municipal appointed official, representing a private client before the Town's Zoning Board given that 1) the petitioner is appointed to his position by the Town Council, 2) his responsibilities consist primarily of police prosecutions in the 3d Division District Court and the Coventry Municipal Court, 3) he has no involvement with the Zoning Board, and 4) another Assistant Town Solicitor, who is totally independent of the petitioner, acts as the legal advisor to the Zoning Board.


The Code of Ethics prohibits public officials and employees from taking any official activities that are likely to have a direct financial or monetary impact on a family member or business associate. It also prohibits public officials from acting where they have an interest in substantial conflict with their duties and responsibilities in the public interest. Finally, the Code prohibits public officials from appearing before their own agency or before an agency over which they exercise jurisdictional or fiscal control. Here, Richard Sullivan is an Assistant Town Solicitor for the Town of Coventry, appointed to that position by the Town Council. His duties as solicitor do not involve the Town's Zoning Board nor does he otherwise exercise any control or authority over that entity. As such, his representation of a private client before the Zoning Board does not implicate any provisions of the Code of Ethics.

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