Summary of Advisory Opinion 12

Summary of Advisory Opinion 12; Request of Fred Wooten for Advisory Opinion on Alleged Conflict of Interest of Ed McBrayer of the Development Authority of DeKalb County > June 17, 2009

Facts

The DeKalb County Board of Ethics met on June 17, 2009 for a specially held meeting to consider, among other matters, a complaint and request for advisory opinion filed by Fred Wooten concerning a possible conflict of interest in Ed McBrayer as a member of the Development Authority of DeKalb County (Authority). At the time of the complaint, McBrayer was the treasurer of that Authority and also Executive Director of the PATH foundation (PATH) which is a privately funded non-profit organization that cooperates and partners with governmental authorities in the planning, design building and maintenance of green path ways and trails in DeKalb County communities.

Issue

Fred Wooten noted that PATH brings before the Authority contracts and other matters for the approval of the Authority or the DeKalb Board of Commissioners, ultimately while McBrayer is a member of the Authority considering and voting upon such matters promoted by PATH. Mr. Wooten requests an Advisory Opinion concerning a possible conflict of interest in Ed McBrayer as a member of the Development Authority of DeKalb County.

Conclusion

The Board of Ethics concluded that a conflict of interest will not be created under the DeKalb County Code of Ethics if Mr. McBrayer, while he is a member, office holder or director of PATH, disqualifies or recuses himself from participating in any official act or act of advice, consultation, rendering of opinions or recommendations to the Authority with respect to any and all matters for which he or PATH has an interest, or where he or PATH may acquire even a remote interest in a DeKalb County project for which he or PATH has an interest, contract or proposal, present or future.

Discussion

The DeKalb County Code of Ethics requires any member of the governing authority to disqualify himself from participating in any official act or action of DeKalb County directly affecting a business or activity in which he has any pecuniary or material benefit. §22A(e)(1).  The Code, moreover, requires any member of the governing authority who has an interest he knows or has reason to believe may affect his official acts or actions to make full disclosure of the nature and value of such interest by sworn written statement to the Board of Ethics and ask for its opinion as to the propriety of said interest. Similarly, every member of the governing authority who knowingly has any contract to which DeKalb County is or is about to become a party, or any other business with DeKalb County shall make full disclosure of such interest to the governing authority of DeKalb County and the Board of Ethics. 22A(d).