2011-977
Created By: Elizabeth Sanders on 07/27/2011 at 10:21 AM
Category: Ethics Advisory Opinions
Caption:

July 22, 2011


Ms. Gwen Byars
19th JDC Adult Drug Court
2716-A Wooddale Blvd
Baton Rouge, LA 70805

RE: Ethics Docket No. 2011-977

The Louisiana Board of Ethics at its July 15, 2011 meeting, considered a request for an advisory opinion concerning whether employees of the 19th Judcial District Court Adult Drug Court (Drug Court) may accept employment with the Baton Rouge Area Alcohol and Drug Center, Inc. (BRAADC) and whether employees of BRAADC may accept employment with the Drug Court where BRAADC accepts referrals from the Drug Court. You stated that The BRAADC is a non -profit 501C(3) organization with a 17 member volunteer Board of Directors. It is funded in part by the City of Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish, Capital Area Human Services District, Louisiana Office for Addictive Disorders — Access to Recovery, and Capital Area United Way. The 19th JDC Adult Drug Court occasionally makes client referrals to the BRAADC, and has referred approximately ten clients to the BRAADC over the past year.

The Board concluded and instructed me to inform you that the Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics will prohibit employees of the Drug Court from obtaining employment with BRAADC. However, the Code will not prohibit employees of BRAADC from obtaining employment with the Drug Court. Section 1111C(2)(d) of the Code prohibits a public servant from accepting anything of economic value for services rendered from a person who has a business, financial, or contractual relationship with the agency of the public servant. Ethics Board Docket No. 82-02D creates an exception to Section 1111C(2)(d) of the Code when the following factors are met: (1) the employee must be a salaried or wage-earning employee; (2) the employee's salary must remain substantially unaffected by the contractual relationship; (3) the public servant must own less than a "controlling interest" in the company; and, (4) the public servant must be neither an officer, director, trustee, nor partner in the company. This exception only applies to public servants who are existing employees of the person or entity that has or is seeking a business or financial relationship with the public servant's agency. Section 1112 of the Code prohibits a public servant from participating in a transaction with their governmental entity in which their employer has a substantial economic interest.

The 19th JDC Adult Drug Court and BRAADC have a business relationship where patients of the Drug Court are referred to BRAADC for detoxification services. As such, employees of the Drug Court are prohibited under Section 1111C(2)(d) of the Code from accepting compensation from BRAADC. However, it appears that the employees of BRAADC meet the requirements for the 82-02D exception and thus, will be allowed to accept employment with the Drug Court while a business relationship exists between BRAADC and the Drug Court. Those employees of BRAADC that obtain part-time work with the Drug Court are prohibited under Section 1112 of the Code from participating in transactions with the Drug Court that involve BRAADC and are prohibited from referring patients of the Drug Court to BRAADC.

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.

Sincerely,

LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS


Aneatra P. Boykin
For the Board

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