Advisory Opinion No. 97-122

Mario G. Carlino


The Petitioner, Cranston City Councilor, a municipal elected position, requests an advisory opinion as to how much assistance he may provide to the City in exploring energy cost savings opportunities, including formulating a request for proposal and creating evaluation criteria, given his employment at Providence Gas, a company that may submit proposal to the City.


It is the opinion of the Rhode Island Ethics Commission that the Petitioner, Cranston City Councilor, a municipal elected position, may not participate in any matters relating to bid development including formulating a request for proposal, creating evaluation criteria or participating in the awarding of a contract if his employer bids on the project. The Commission previously has ruled that officials who participated in the bid development process would place themselves, their family members, their employers, or their business associates in a privileged position with respect to other bidders and consequently diminish if not eliminate the "open and public process" required under the Code. See R.I. Gen. Laws §36-14-5(h). Given that the Petitioner may not be certain at this juncture whether his employer may bid on the contract, the safest route for him would be to recuse from any participation in even the bid development process. If the Petitioner chooses to participate in the bid development process, either because he does not believe his employer ultimately will bid on the contract or otherwise, this advisory opinion serves as notice to him that that participation likely would preclude his employer from qualifying as a bidder on the contract and/or fall within prohibited activities of the Code if his employer submits a bid and receives the award of the contract.

Code Citations:




Related Advisory Opinion:








Private employment