Opinion 05-001-E.

Case Date:January 14, 2005
Mississippi Ethics Opinions 2005. Opinion 05-001-E. OFFICIAL ADVISORY OPINION NO. 05-001-EJanuary 14, 2005This Advisory Opinion concerns the following issue as formulated from facts and/or circumstances furnished by a requestor. The Commission approved this opinion on January 14, 2005, basing its approval solely on the facts and circumstances stated herein.May a municipality hire the spouse of the employee of an engineering firm which performs professional engineering services for the municipality?State law restricts the Mississippi Ethics Commission to interpreting and issuing opinions on Sections 25-4-101 through 25-4-119, 1972 Mississippi Code Annotated and Article IV, Section 109, Mississippi Constitution of 1890. Therefore, this opinion does not address the Mississippi laws outside the Commission's jurisdiction nor the governmental entity's internal rules and regulations. The pertinent conflict of interest laws to be considered here are: Code Section 25-4-103(d), (f)(i)(ii), (h), (k)(i)(ii)(iii)(iv), (l), (p)(i)(ii)(iii) and (q) states: "(d) `Business with which he is associated' means any business of which a public servant or his relative is an officer, director, owner, partner, employee or is a holder of more than ten percent (10%) of the fair market value or from which he or his relative derives more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) in annual income or over which such public servant or his relative exercises control. (f) `Contract' means: (i) Any agreement to which the government is a party; or (ii) Any agreement on behalf of the government which involves the payment of public funds. (h) `Governmental entity' means the state, a county, a municipality or any other separate political subdivision authorized by law to exercise a part of the sovereign power of the state. (k) `Material financial interest' means a personal and pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, accruing to a public servant or spouse, either individually or in combination with each other. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the following shall not be deemed to be a material financial interest with respect to a business with which a public servant may be associated: (i) Ownership of any interest of less than ten percent (10%) in a business where the aggregate annual net income to the public servant therefrom is less than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00); (ii)...

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