Summary of Advisory Opinion 4

Summary of Advisory Opinion 4; Request of DeKalb County Commission Member Judy Yates for Advisory Opinion > November 15, 1993

Facts

Judy Yates is a DeKalb County Commissioner for Commission District 6. Commissioner Yate’s husband, Dr. Stephen G. Preas, is a licensed psychiatrist with medical privileges at St. Joseph’s Hospital. In addition, Dr. Preas is on the courtesy staff of St. Joseph’s Hospital and he has previously served as a volunteer member of the St. Joseph’s Hospital Ethics Committee.

Issue

Commissioner Yates requested an Advisory Opinion as to whether she had a conflict of interest in voting on the Homart Developments Corporation application to rezone property owned by St. Joseph’s Hospital, despite her husband’s professional association with St. Joseph’s hospital.

Conclusion

It was found that none of Dr. Preas’ professional activities with St. Joseph’s Hospital gave him an interest in the rezoning matter. Further, it was found that he would derive no benefit from the rezoning; that he had no personal involvement concerning the rezoning matter; and that no one had requested he participate in any way in the rezoning matter.

The Board concluded, therefore, that Commissioner Yates would have no conflict of interest in voting on the Homart Development Corporation application to rezone property owned by St. Joseph’s Hospital due to the professional association between her husband and St. Joseph’s Hospital.

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 Country directly affecting a business or activity in which he or she has any interest, whether or not remote. A member of the governing authority shall be deemed to have an interest in transactions involving any person in the member’s family. 22A(e)(1); (b)(7)(a).

The DeKalb County Ethics Code, moreover, provides that no official or employee of DeKalb County shall, by his or her conduct give reasonable basis for the impression that any person can improperly influence him or her or unduly enjoy his or her favor in the performance of his or her official acts or actions or that he or she is affected unduly by the rank or position of or kinship or association with any person. 22A(c)(1).