City of San Antonio, Texas

Ethics Advisory Opinion No. 30

September 13, 1999

Issued By: City Attorney’s Office

Whether City employees at the Carver Community Center may be employed by the Carver Development Board.

The Department of Community Initiatives has asked whether City employees at the Carver Community Center may be employed by the Carver Development Board. The following facts are presented:

The Department of Community Initiatives is comprised of a number of divisions including, among others, the Carver Community Cultural Center ("Center"). The Center is supported in part by the Carver Development Board ("Board") which is governed by its board of directors and bylaws.

Several City employees at the Center are also employed by the Board for services rendered at Board activities and events. Such compensation is stated to be for services that are separate and distinct from the employee’s regular duties as a City employee and is in lieu of salary supplement checks received in past years.

The issue is whether these individuals may be employed by the Board given their position with the City. Under the Ethics Code of the City of San Antonio, all City employees, whether part-time or full-time, are required to follow the standards of conduct as set forth in the Code.

Conflicting Outside Employment. Generally, a City employee may not engage in outside employment which may influence the performance of the employee’s official duties. More specifically, "a City ... employee shall not provide services to an outside employer related to the . . . employee’s City duties."

Moreover, all employees who engage in outside employment must comply with Administrative Directive 4.47. A.D. 4.47 requires the employee to obtain written approval from the Department Director prior to engaging in outside employment, a copy of which is filed in the employee’s personnel folder. If written approval has not been granted prior to engaging in outside employment, the employee may be subject to disciplinary action.

Each position at issue will be discussed below.

            Cultural Center Supervisor. The essential job functions of the Cultural Center Supervisor include, but are not limited to, the following:

    1. Coordinating the production of cultural events;
    2. Identifying potential funding sources and individuals;
    3. Drafting formal grant applications;
    4. Coordinating assignments of center volunteers and meetings for the Board and planning its involvement with the Center; and
    5. Developing and administering long range program and facility planning for the Center.

The Center’s Supervisor is also the President of the Board. In such capacity, she has contracted with the Board to provide the following professional services:

    1. Managing the event and program activity;
    2. Researching and identifying potential sources of gifts and revenues;
    3. Developing funding proposal and grant applications;
    4. Providing staff support to Board Committees and implementing plans; and
    5. Developing program, staff and organizational plans.

            Administrative Assistant II. The Administrative Assistant II coordinates office services including budget preparation and personnel supervision. Pursuant to a 1997-98 season contract with the Board, the employee holding said position agreed to manage the events and Carver volunteers and to provide box office assistance.

Booking Specialist. The Booking Specialist is responsible for assisting public, civic and social agencies in booking and renting space in City facilities. The employee holding said position also contracted with the Board to manage the events and Carver volunteers and to provide box office assistance for the Board’s 1997-98 season.

            Program Coordinator. The Program Coordinator performs administrative and supervisory work including, but not limited to, coordinating and reviewing specific projects. For its 1997-98 season, the Board contracted with the City’s Program Coordinator to coordinate event logistics and event transportation.

            Public Information Officer.    The Public Information Officer ("PIO") is generally responsible for performing journalistic and public contract work, including preparing scripts to be presented in the media. For its 1997-98 season, the Board contracted with the PIO to provide certain services, including developing promotional material.

 

All of the individuals described above were employed by both the City’s Center and the Board. Arguably, in each case, the two (2) job functions, intertwine such that the City employee provides services to the Board, an outside employer, related to his duties with the City. This is a violation of the Ethics Code, and therefore, such employment with the Board should not continue.

The employee may, however, provide services to the Board unrelated to services rendered by virtue of his City employment. If such be the case, the employee must receive written approval from the Department Director prior to engaging in the outside employment.

 

 

SUMMARY

City employees are governed by the standards of conduct as set forth in the Ethics Code of the City of San Antonio. Pursuant to said standards, an employee must obtain written approval from the Department Director prior to engaging in outside employment, employment which must not be related to his duties with the City. Under the facts presented, the outside employment relates to the employee’s position with the City. Therefore, such outside employment should not continue.

 

 

FRANK J. GARZA

City Attorney