July 18, 2011
Mr. Randal L. Menard
P.O. Box 80795
Lafayette, LA 70598
Re: Board Docket No. 2011-908
Dear Mr. Menard:
The Louisiana Board of Ethics, at its July 15, 2011 meeting, considered your request for an advisory opinion regarding whether two Sheriff's deputies can open a business selling police supplies and services to their respective agencies and officers within the agencies if the deputies will both individually own less than twenty-five (25%) percent each in said company.
Based upon your letters, James Sarver, a Reserve Deputy with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Department, and Gerald Johnson, a Deputy with the Acadia Parish Sheriff's Department, would like to open a business which may sell police supplies and services to their agencies and officers within their agencies. The police supplies would include but would not be limited to holsters, life bars, installing equipment in police units, etc. Sarver and Johnson will both individually own less than twenty-five (25%) percent each in said company. You further stated that all supplies purchased and/or work performed for law enforcement agencies would be required to be awarded under the guidelines of Louisiana bid laws.
Section 1113A(1)(a) of the Louisiana Code of Ethics prohibits a public servant or legal entity in which he owns a controlling interest from bidding on, entering into a contract, subcontract or any other transaction under the supervision or jurisdiction of his agency. Section 1102(8) of the Code defines a "controlling interest" as an interest in a company that exceeds 25%. Under the facts presented Deputy Sarver and Deputy Johnson would not be prohibited from opening a business which sells police supplies and services to their respective agencies and officers within the agencies if the deputies will both individually own less than twenty-five (25%) percent each in said company.
In addition, the Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that Mr. Sarver and Mr. Johnson will be required to file an annual financial disclosure statement pursuant to Section 1114 of the Code with the Board of Ethics disclosing any income received from their police supply business. Section 1114 of the Code provides that each public servant and each member of his immediate family who derives anything of economic value of which he may be reasonably expected to know through a person which has bid on or entered into or is in any way financially interested in any contract, subcontract, or any transaction under the supervision or jurisdiction of the agency of such public servant shall disclose certain information as set forth in Section 1114.
This advisory opinion is based solely on the facts as set forth herein. Changes to the facts 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 Code of Governmental Ethics. If you have any questions, please contact me at (225) 219-5600 or (800) 842-6630.
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
Brent E. Durham
For the Board