AO 93-1.

Case Date:April 28, 1993
Hawaii Ethics Opinion 1993. AO 93-1. Adv Op 93-1ADVISORY OPINION NO. 93-1The program manager of a division of a state department requested an opinion from the State Ethics Commission ("Commission") regarding the state practitioners under her supervision. In the past, questions have arisen regarding the part time private practices of these state practitioners. The program manager asked for advice as to whom a state practitioner in a branch within the division could accept as a client of her private practice.In order to determine whether a state practitioner with a private practice had any conflicts of interests, or any other problems with the ethics code, it was first necessary to ascertain the duties of the state practitioner. The Commission's staff spoke to the program manager and also to a state practitioner under the program manager's supervision about these duties. The program manager and the state practitioner both explained that a state practitioner has duties in three basic areas: the regulation of personal property for a short period of time after its importation into the State, the regulation of the importation of personal property, and surveillance of certain types of personal property within the State. The first area in which a state practitioner has regulatory duties is the regulation of personal property for a short time after its importation into the State. The length of time that the property is regulated varies according to the type of property. A state practitioner may periodically spot check recent importers to see if they are abiding by the regulatory requirements. The division has the power to issue citations for violations of the requirements. A state practitioner's second duty area is the regulation of the importation of personal property. Upon the property's arrival into the islands, a state practitioner makes sure that the property meets certain requirements. If the property does not meet these requirements, then it may be refused entry into the State. The State may also place certain restrictions on the property owner's facility. The final duty of a state practitioner in the branch is surveillance. The State has several active surveillance programs for different types of personal property. The programs survey and test personal property for particular defects. The program manager had mentioned that there were roughly thirty reportable defects. If any personal property possesses one of these defects, then the state practitioner will take regulatory action over that property and the premises upon which the property is located. Surveillance programs are in effect for only a few types of personal property. In the future, however, the department may establish surveillance programs over other types of personal property as it deems necessary. The State Ethics Commission has previously considered situations in which state practitioners perform private work. In Advisory Opinion 32, issued in 1969, the Commission expressed its concern for allowing state practitioners to privately care for personal property that they are regulating. The Commission held that it would be a violation of the state ethics law for a state practitioner to have as a private client an individual whose property the practitioner regulated in his state capacity. The Commission recognized two exceptions to this holding. The first was the situation in which, due to lack of...

To continue reading