Advisory Opinion No. 99-5

Re: Rosemary Eva

QUESTION PRESENTED

The petitioner, the Tiverton Planning Board Chairperson, a municipal appointed position, requests an advisory opinion as to whether she may accept a position with an engineering firm given that it is the general contractor for a company that is a Tiverton Industrial park tenant.

RESPONSE

It is the opinion of the Rhode Island Ethics Commission that the petitioner, the Tiverton Planning Board Chairperson, a municipal appointed position, may accept a position with Stone & Webster Engineering Corporation, the general contractor for Energy Management, Inc., a tenant in the Tiverton Industrial Park. Under the Code of Ethics, the petitioner may not act in matters in substantial conflict with the discharge of her public duties, including participating in matters that could affect her employer. See R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-5(a), 7(a). Additionally, the petitioner may not accept employment that will impair her judgment. See R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-5(b). These provisions do not serve as an absolute bar to the petitioner accepting employment in this case, but will require her to recuse in matters affecting her employer. This will include matters where Stone & Webster appear before the Planning Board and also where they can be directly affected. The petitioner advises that she expects that only one matter may come before her - the release/reduction of the road surety for Energy Management, Inc. She advises that she will recuse on this matter since it concerns work performed by her new employer. When recusing on such matters, the petitioner should not only not participate in discussion, but also complete a statement of conflict of interest and file a copy with the Ethics Commission. Finally, under the provisions of R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-5(e), the petitioner may not appear before the Planning Board on behalf of her employer.

Code Citations:

36-14-5(a)
36-14-5(b)
36-14-5(e)
36-14-7(a)

Related Advisory Opinions:

98-171
98-87
97-88
97-38
97-24
92-41

Keywords:

Prospective employment
Private employment