June 24, 2011
Mr. B. Slattery Johnson, Jr.
Blanchard, Walker, O’Quin & Roberts
400 Texas Street, Suite 1400
Shreveport, LA 71101
Re: Ethics Board Docket No. 2011-840
Dear Mr. Johnson:
The Louisiana Board of Ethics, at its June 19, 2011 meeting, considered your request for an advisory opinion as to the propriety of Dale G. Nix, Jr., the Chief of Police for the Town of Mooringsport, purchasing property from the Town either individually or through his wholly owned business, Dale’s Oil Well Cementing, Inc. You state that Chief Nix is elected and is not appointed by the Mayor of the Town of Mooringsport. You further state that the property was not used by the police department and that the Town and not the police department made the determination that the property was surplus and not needed for public purposes. You further asked that if the purchase is permissible under the Code, is there any procedure with which the Town must comply involving the sale of the property to Chief Nix.
The Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you that Chief Nix or Dale’s Oil Well Cementing, Inc., is not prohibited from purchasing the surplus property from the Town. Section 1113A of the Code prohibits a public servant, members of his immediate family, or any legal entity in which he has a controlling interest from entering into a transaction that is under the supervision or jurisdiction of the public servant's agency. Section 1112 prohibits a public servant from participating in a transaction involving his agency in which he knows he has a substantial economic interest. Chief Nix’s agency is the police department, not the Town of Mooringsport, therefore, he is not prohibited from purchasing surplus property from the Town. Since the Code does not restrict Chief Nix’s ability to purchase the property, there are no procedures set out by the Code for his acquisition of the property.
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 laws other than the Code of Governmental Ethics. If you have any questions, please contact me at (225) 219-5600 or (800) 842-6630.
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
Alesia M. Ardoin
For the Board