City of San Antonio, Texas

 

Ethics Advisory Opinion No. 88

June 1, 2004

Issued By: City Attorney’s Office

 

 

I. Issue

 

May the city sell surplus office equipment to city employees?

 

 

II.  Factual Background

               

A city department is in the process of replacing obsolete office equipment. Several employees are interested in purchasing some of the items and inquire whether the Ethics Code would prohibit this.

 

 

III.  The Ethics Code Provisions

 

Section 2-44 of the City Ethics Code prohibits all city officials and employees from using their position to unfairly advance private interests. Section 2-49 prohibits the use of city resources for private or personal use.  City employees may purchase surplus or obsolete equipment from the city on the same terms and conditions as any other member of the public, unless prohibited from doing so under Section 141 of the City Charter and Section 2-52 of the City Ethics Code.

 

Section 141 of the Charter and Section 2-52 of the Ethics Code prohibit officials and employees who file financial disclosure statements required under Section 2-73 from entering into contractual relationships with the city or from entering into agreements to buy and sell goods, services or real estate.  Therefore, as long as the employee is not an individual required to file financial disclosure statements, the employee may purchase the surplus equipment under the same terms and conditions as members of the public.

 


IV.  Conclusion

 

Unless barred by Section 141 of the City Charter and Section 2-52 of the Ethics Code, a city employee may purchase surplus property from the city, but only under the same terms and conditions as those governing the general public’s opportunity to obtain the same property.