August 3, 2011
Dale Sisemore, Superintendent
Parks and Recreation District #3
P.O. Box 1281
Denham Springs, LA 70727
RE: Board Docket No. 2011-904
Dear Mr. Sisemore:
The Louisiana Board of Ethics, at its July 15, 2011 meeting, considered your request for an advisory opinion regarding whether the members of the Board of Commissioners for the Parks and Recreation District #3 may access the North Park Fitness and Aquatics Center at a discounted rate. You stated that the Board of Commissioners would like to create a policy that would allow board members to gain a better knowledge and understanding of the facility and operating issues. Participation would help the board to promote understanding and cooperation in addressing facility needs.
Under the proposed policy, board members would receive a 50% reduction in membership fees. This price reduction would only apply to membership fees. All other services--rentals, merchandise, concessions, etc.--would be full price. Also, the general public and full paying customers would have priority in signing up for free classes at the facility. All board members are ambassadors for the board. As such, they would follow all facility rules and regulations and have the highest standard of personal conduct.
The Board concluded, and has instructed me to advise you that the Code of Governmental Ethics would prohibit the board members from implementing a policy under which they were granted access to a facility under the board's jurisdiction at a discounted rate. Section 1112A prohibits a public servant from participating in a transaction involving his governmental entity in which he has a personal substantial economic interest. Section 1102(21) defines a "substantial economic interest" as an economic interest which is of greater benefit to the public servant than to a general class or group of persons. The proposed 50% discount amounts to a substantial economic interest. Thus, the implementation of a policy by the board members that provides only board members with a discount would be prohibited.
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 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
Deidra L. Godfrey
For the Board