Advisory Opinion No. 99-104

Re: Robert Holbrook

QUESTION PRESENTED

The petitioner, an East Greenwich Town Councilor, a municipal elected position, requests an advisory opinion as to whether he may accept appointment to the Kent County Water Authority given that the Council makes that appointment.

RESPONSE

It is the opinion of the Rhode Island Ethics Commission that the Code of Ethics prohibits the petitioner, an East Greenwich Town Councilor, a municipal elected position, from accepting an appointment to the Kent County Water Authority.

The Code of Ethics provides that while serving and 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 considered this issue in two related opinions. In Advisory Opinion 94-55, the Commission advised a member of the Warren Town Council that he could receive and accept an appointment to the Bristol County Water Authority given that he agreed to waive any and all compensation that might be tied to the appointment. In Advisory Opinion 97-17, the Commission concluded that a Bristol County Water Authority member who subsequently had been elected to Town Council, should not receive or accept an appointment to the Water Authority by the Town Council. See also A.O. 99-60, A.O. 97-26; A.O. 97-17; and A.O. 96-85. Here, the petitioner would receive compensation as a result of his service on the Water Authority. Absent an unequivocal representation by the petitioner that he would not accept any compensation or other form or remuneration for that service the Code of Ethics expressly prohibits his appointment.

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
94-55
94-37

Keywords:

Revolving Door