2010-749
Created By: Tracy Kristen Meyer on 08/23/2010 at 01:43 PM
Category: Ethics Advisory Opinions, Miscellaneous
Caption: Ethics issues involving the Village of McNary

August 23, 2010

Mr. Malcom English, Chief of Police
Village of McNary
P.O. Box 1197
Glenmora, Louisiana 71433

Re: Ethics Board Docket No. 2010-749

Dear Chief English:

The Louisiana Board of Ethics, at its August 20, 2010 meeting, considered your request for an advisory opinion regarding the propriety of an alderman for the Village of McNary voting on the renewal of your contract as the Chief of Police when you arrested a member of the alderman's family. You stated that since 2003, you have served as the appointed Chief of Police for the Village of McNary. The position of Chief of Police is an appointed position with the terms of service set forth in a contract between the Chief of Police and the Village of McNary.

In 2007, you state that you arrested an offender who was related to a member of the Board of Alderman for the Village of McNary. Subsequent to that arrest, in July 2009, the Alderman voiced his objection concerning your attendance at the Board of Aldermen meetings. As a result, you ceased attending those meetings. In response, you stated that you brought the matter to the attention of Mayor Don Parker, II, who informed you that since the meetings of the Board of Aldermen are open public meetings, you may attend such meetings.

You stated that your term as appointed Chief of Police will expire at the end of 2010 and you have presented several questions regarding the Alderman's ability to vote on the renewal of your contract and the Board of Aldermen's ability to diminish your compensation as follows:

(1) When an alderman is the subject of a lawful protest of illegality or impropriety as expressed by an employee of a municipality, and the continued employment of the subordinate is a matter of a vote by the board, is the involved board member prohibited from voting in that a recusal is required? The Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that the Code of Governmental Ethics would not prohibit the Alderman from voting on the renewal of your contract appointing you as the Chief of Police for the Village of McNary. Section 1112A of the Code provides that no public servant, except as provided in R.S. 42:1120, shall participate in a transaction in which he has a personal substantial economic interest of which he may be Mr. Malcom English, Chief of Police
August 23, 2010
Ethics Docket No. 2010-749
Page

(1) Any member of his immediate family. (3) Any person of which he is an officer, director, trustee, partner, or employee.
(2) In the event that the board member will not recuse himself from voting, is a vote by that same board member moot (a nullity)? The Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that the Code of Governmental Ethics does not authorize the Board to render a vote a nullity when cast in derogation of Section 1112 of the Code.

(3) In the event the vote is a legal nullity, is the municipal clerk enjoined from recording it as a vote against the measure to hire or retain the complainant-employee? The Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that it decline to render an opinion as this question does not present an issue under the jurisdiction of the Code of Governmental Ethics.

(4) Is the diminishing of compensation prohibited where the contracted terms of service of an appointed chief of police position are consecutive terms? The Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that it decline to render an opinion as this question does not present an issue under the jurisdiction of the Code of Governmental Ethics.

(5) Is the diminishing of compensation for the appointed chief of police by the board prohibited when compensation is a stipulation of an employment contract between the employee and the mayor who in turn acts on behalf of the municipality? The Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that it decline to render an opinion as this

(6) Is the diminishing of compensation for the appointed (contracted) chief of police permitted by a vote of the members of the board of aldermen in the light of a previous complaint made by the chief to his employment authority (here, the mayor) concerning the impropriety or illegality by a member of that board of aldermen? The Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that the Code of Governmental Ethics would not prohibit the Alderman from voting on the diminishing of your compensation as Chief of Police for the Village of McNary. See Section 1112A and Section 1112B of the Code set forth in the answer to question No. 1.

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.

Sincerely,

LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS



______________________________
Tracy M. Barker
For the Board
...........................