Summary of Advisory Opinion 2014-1

Summary of Advisory Opinion 2014-1; Request of the Chief of Police for DeKalb County Dr. Cedric L. Alexander for Advisory Opinion > June 24, 2014

Facts

Dr. Cedric L. Alexander is Chief of Police for the DeKalb County Police Department – he also holds a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. Dr. Alexander is often invited to speaking engagements. Some of the invitations include pay for his time and others do not, but result in an offer of an honorarium.

Issue

Dr. Alexander requests an Advisory Opinion as to whether the DeKalb County Code of Ethics prohibits him from accepting pay or an honorarium, where he is not speaking in his capacity as a Police Chief.

Conclusion

The Board of Ethics concluded that the receipt of payment for his time and/or an honorarium will not violate the Code of Ethics if his appearance is not in his capacity as the Chief of Police for the DeKalb County Police Department.

Discussion

To avoid violating the Code of Ethics, the Board advises Dr. Alexander to be diligent to insure that:

  1. The group or organization before which he appears has no direct or indirect interest in contracts with DeKalb County
  2. The group or organization has no expectation of benefit and receives no benefit from DeKalb County by virtue of his appearance
  3. His discussion is not related to his service as Chief of Police
  4. His preparation for his appearance is not done during regular business hours and does not utilize county resources.

The Code of Ethics 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).