Advisory Opinion No. 99-76

Re: Manuel Fusaro

QUESTION PRESENTED

The petitioner, a Westerly Recreation Board member, a municipal appointed position, requests an advisory opinion as to whether he may accept a position as clerk of the works advertised by the Recreation Board given that he has resigned his position on the Board.

RESPONSE

It is the opinion of the Rhode Island Ethics Commission that given a demonstrated hardship to the Westerly Recreation Board, the Code of Ethics does not prohibit the petitioner, a Westerly Recreation Board member, a municipal appointed position, from accepting a position as clerk of the works advertised by the Recreation Board.

The Code of Ethics provides that, for a period of one year after a person has officially terminated his or her position with any state or municipal agency, that person shall not appear before the state or municipal agency on which the person had served. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 36-14-5(e)(1) and 5(e)(4). Pursuant to Commission Regulation 5006, no elected or appointed official may accept any appointment by the body of which he or she is a member, to any position which carries with it any financial benefit or remuneration while a member of the body and for a period of one year after termination of membership on said body, unless the Ethics Commission shall give its approval of such appointment. Regulation 5006 further provides that the Commission shall not grant such approval unless it “is satisfied that denial of such employment or position would create a substantial hardship for the body, board, or municipality.”

The Commission has concluded that a public official may not apply, interview or accept employment from the body which he or she serves, for a period of one year following termination of the official’s membership on said body. See A.O. 99-60, A.O. 97-26; A.O. 97-17; and A.O. 96-85. Without a showing of hardship to the governmental body, rather than the former public official or employee, the petitioner may not accept appointment from his own Board to a position which carries with it remuneration of any kind nor may he appear before the Board during that time as provided in R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 36-14-5(e) and Commission Regulation 5006. Here the Westerly Recreation Board has demonstrated a hardship for this particular position/project(s) given that the position is not a full time or permanent position and the lack of any qualified applicants to fill the position.

Code Citations:

36-14-5(e)
36-14-5006

Related Advisory Opinions:

99-60
99-2
98-153
98-104
98-83
97-117
97-27
97-26
97-17
96-102
96-85
96-82
96-80
96-79
96-35
94-37

Keywords:

Hardship Exception
Prospective Employment
Revolving Door