Conflicts of interest on city boards

April 28, 2003

The Commissioners
City of St. Augustine
St. Augustine, Florida

Dear Commissioners:
Citizens for the Preservation of St. Augustine is a non-profit citizens group dedicated to maintaining our city’s historic resources and quality of life. With membership from throughout the city, we represent a reasoned voice of the people that we believe can benefit city government decision-making.

We are writing to provide our perspective and express a concern regarding our citizen boards and advisory committees. We believe such boards and committees should consist of people who are free from conflicts of interest. It is our belief that individuals who serve on boards or committees that make crucial recommendations should never be in a position to receive special benefit from outcomes that result from their recommendations.

We recognize that although in some cases these recommendations may be non-binding, they are nonetheless highly influential and thus should be free from bias. We believe all appointments must be in keeping with the need to hold community decision-making to a high ethical standard.

Indeed, the Sunshine Amendment and Code of Ethics requires that such board and committees be free from such bias, and held to such a standard. Section E states that “No appointed state or local officer shall participate in any matter which would inure to the officer’s special private gain or loss, [or] the special private gain or loss of any principal by whom he or she is retained.”

We therefore respectfully request that the Commission initiate a review of all current boards and committees to determine whether they are composed of individuals who could possibly benefit directly from any decisions that arise out of their recommendations.

We ask that any members whose presence represents potential conflict of interest be asked to resign.


Judith Fox-Fliesser, M.D.
P. O. Box 487, Saint Augustine, Florida 32085 – 0487