February 23, 2011
W. James Hill, III
The Smitherman Law Firm, L.C.
8570 Business Park Drive, Suite 100
Shreveport, Louisiana 71105
Re: Ethics Board Docket No. 2011-220
Dear Mr. Hill:
The Louisiana Board of Ethics, at its February 18, 2011 meeting, considered your request for an advisory opinion as to whether Michael Corbin, the Executive Director for Friends of the Barnwell, Inc., may continue his employment now that he has been elected to the City of Shreveport City Council. You stated that Friends of the Barnwell, Inc. is private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation, which oversees the operation of the Barnwell Center. You also stated that the Barnwell Center is owned by the City of Shreveport. Annually, the City of Shreveport donates approximately $80,000 to the Friends of the Barnwell, Inc. This donation is voted on annually by the City of Shreveport Council. You stated that Michael Corbin is the Executive Director for the Friends of the Barnwell, Inc. Mr. Corbin was recently sworn into office on the City Council for the City of Shreveport.
The Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that the Code of Governmental Ethics would prohibit Michael Corbin from continuing to serve as the Executive Director of the Friends of the Barnwell, Inc. while he also serves as a member of the City of Shreveport City Council. Section 1111C(2)(d) of the Code prohibits a public servant from receiving any thing of economic value for services rendered to or for any person during his public service unless such services are neither performed for nor compensated by any person from whom such public servant would be prohibited by Section 1115(A)(1) or (B) from receiving a gift. Section 1115A(1) of the Code prohibits a public servant from receiving a thing of economic value as a gift or gratuity from a person that has or is seeking to have a contractual, business or financial relationship with the public servant's agency. Since the Friends of the Barnwell, Inc. has a financial relationship with the city of Shreveport, the Friends of the Barnwell, Inc. is a prohibited source to Mr. Corbin. Therefore, Mr. Corbin is prohibited from providing compensated services as the Executive Director for the Friends of the Barnwell, Inc. while he also serves as a member of the Shreveport City Council.
This advisory opinion is based solely on the facts as set forth herein. Changes to the facts as presented may result in a different application of the provisions of the Code of Ethics. The
Board issues no opinion as to past conduct or as to laws other than the Code of Governmental
Ethics. If you have any questions, please contact me at (800) 842-6630 or (225) 219-5600.
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
Tracy M. Barker
For the Board