Summary of Advisory Opinion 10

Summary of Advisory Opinion 10; Request of DeKalb County Commissioner Appointee Gary A. Cornell > February 13, 2007

Facts

Gary A. Cornell is a DeKalb County Planning Commissioner for District 2. He is also employed by Jordan, Jones, and Goulding, Inc. (JJG), an engineering firm whose services include land planning, site development, and community planning services. JJG has interest in the government activities, contracts, procurement and property development of DeKalb County and is anticipated to continue to seek contracts and employment opportunities with and for DeKalb County as well as certain property developers in DeKalb County, seeking action upon development plans from the Planning Commission of DeKalb County.

Issue

DeKalb County Planning Commissioner, Gary A. Cornell, requests an Advisory Opinion concerning his conduct as a person with employment interest in JJC with respect to that firm’s interest in the government activities, contracts, procurement and property development of DeKalb County.

Conclusion

The Board of Ethics concluded that a conflict of interest will not be created by Commissioner Cornell if he disqualifies himself from participating in any official act or action of DeKalb County which directly or indirectly affects a business or activity in which he has an interest, whether or not a remote interest.

 Discussion

The provisions of the DeKalb County Code of Ethics controlling of this issue are §§22A(c)(1),22A(c)(2), 22A(c)(4), and 22A(c)(5). The Code prohibits any member of the governing authority from conduct which gives reasonable basis for the impression that any person can improperly influence him or unduly enjoy his favor in the performance of his official acts or actions. §22A(c)(1). The Code, moreover, prohibits any member of the governing authority from directly requesting, receiving, or agreeing to receive a gift for himself or another person if it tends to influence him in the discharge of his official duties or if he is now or may be in the near future involved in any official act or action directly affecting the donor or lender. §22A(c)(2)(A)(i)(ii). §22A(c)(4) prohibits any member of the governing authority from appearing on his own behalf before any county or municipality concerning any contract subject to an official act by DeKalb County. §22A(c)(5) of the Code prohibits any member of the governing authority from rendering services for any private business or professional activity when such rendering of service is adverse to and incompatible with the proper discharge of his official duties.