Summary of Advisory Opinion 9

Summary of Advisory Opinion 9; Request of DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader for Advisory Opinion > February 13, 2007

NOTICE:  Due to changes in the Ethics law and resulting interpretations of its provisions, please contact the Ethics Office if you are relying on the advice of this individual Advisory Opinion.

Facts

Jeff Rader is a DeKalb County Commissioner for Commission District 2. Mr. Rader is also associated with and employed by Jacob’s Engineering and/or Jacobs Civil (Jacob’s) as a National Specialist in Urban and Regional Planning. Jacob’s is a multi-national engineering and technical services company and is or has been under consideration for a waste water treatment design system contract with DeKalb County and is currently under procurement.  Also, Jacob’s Civil is expected to propose transportation technical services contracts for procurement with DeKalb County.

Jacob’s Engineering was under contract with Emory University for analysis of traffic and related issues in the Clifton Road Corridor. That contract was entered into before Mr. Rader was elected Commissioner.

Issue

Commissioner Jeff Rader requests an Advisory Opinion as to conflicts that may arise by reason of his association with or employment by Jacob’s Engineering and/or Jacobs as well as to any further action by Jacob’s involving Emory University which may involve Mr. Rader in his official capacity.

Conclusion

The Board of Ethics concluded that a conflict of interest in this case will not be created if Commissioner Radar disqualifies or recuses himself from participating in any official act or action of DeKalb County which directly affects a business or activity in which he has an interest, whether or not remote. The board further concluded that Commissioner Rader shall, pursuant to §22A(d) of the DeKalb County Code of Ethics, make sworn full disclosure to the governing authority of DeKalb County and to the Board of Ethics of any interest that he has reason to believe may be or appear to affect his official actions as a representative in the governing authority and provide the precise nature and value of any such interest.

Discussion

The DeKalb County 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). §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. And §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.