Link to Key Memos and Letters of Instruction
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the two-year rule and how does it apply?
- Questions about outside employment
- How is the Ethics Commission funded?
- Can I attend meetings of the Ethics Commission?
- What is the purpose of the request for an opinion?
- Who actually issues the opinion?
- What is the effect of a probable cause determination?
- If the Ethics Commission holds a public hearing resulting from a complaint I have filed, what is my role at the hearing?
- As an alleged violator of an ordinance, what rights do I have in the event the Commission finds probable cause?
- What penalties can the Ethics Commission assess?
What is the two-year rule and how does it apply?
What is the “two-year rule”?
- Section 2-11.1 (q) (“two-year rule”) of the County Ethics Code prohibits former local government employees from lobbying their former County or municipal employers for two years following the termination of their employment.
To whom does the two-year rule apply?
- Applies to the following municipal and County personnel:
- Elected officials: mayor, commissioner, councilperson
- Staff members of elected officials
- County or city manager
- all County and municipal employees
Which date is used to calculate the two-year rule?
- The two-year period is calculated beginning on the day after the last day that the employee receives benefits or compensation from the County or municipality, such as payments for accrued vacation time, sick time, insurance, etc.
As a former County or municipal employee, may I work for a consultant, vendor, or contractor that does business with my former County or municipal employer?
- Yes, a former employee may obtain work with contractors, consultants, vendors, etc., of their former County or municipal employer. However, the two-year rule prohibits former employees from lobbying their County or municipal employer for two years following the termination of their employment.
What constitutes prohibited lobbying under the two-year rule?
- Lobbying activities are interpreted very broadly under the two-year rule. Individuals formerly employed by the County or a municipality within the past two years are prohibited from performing activities intended to influence any official determination, regardless of whether the determination will foreseeably be decided or recommended by any of the County’s or city's commissions, boards, committees, or the County or city manager. Unlike the general lobbyist ordinance, the two-year rule expands the definition of lobbying to include advocating for decisions that may be made at the sole discretion of individual County or municipal personnel, not necessarily by a voting body.
May a former employee represent third parties at publicly noticed quasi-judicial proceedings?
- Yes, an exception to the two-year lobbying prohibition allows former employees to represent third parties at publicly noticed quasi-judicial proceedings.
May I lobby a different governmental entity than the one I worked for during the two-year period?
- Yes, a former employee is free to lobby any other local, state, or federal government immediately following his or her departure from government service, except for the government entity that employed him or her.
Does the two-year rule apply to a former County or municipal employee who now works for a governmental entity, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit entity, or educational institution?
- No, an exception to the two-year rule allows former employees now employed by governmental entities, 501(c) (3) entities, or educational institutions to lobby their former employers during the two-year post-employment period on behalf of their employing entity.
Questions about outside employment
I am a full-time County or municipal employee. May I engage in outside employment in addition to my County/municipal full-time job?
- It depends. Some departments have a blanket policy to deny outside employment. In departments that allow outside employment in certain circumstances, permission to engage in outside employment must be obtained from your supervisor every year.
- The form to obtain written is here.
What activities are strictly forbidden when engaged in outside employment?
- Employees engaged in outside employment cannot work for their outside employer during County or municipal time, cannot use County or municipal equipment or materials in the performance of outside employment, and cannot be engaged in outside employment that is contrary, detrimental, or adverse to the interest of the County or municipality.
I am a full-time County or municipal employee. I obtained permission from my department director last year. Do I have to request permission and file the permission form again this year?
- Yes, the permission form must be completed and filed every year.
I was denied permission to engage in outside employment. May I still work occasionally for that company or entity?
- No, if the department director denies approval for outside employment, the employee cannot engage in outside employment, either incidental, occasional, or otherwise.
I am a part-time County or municipal employee. Do I have to obtain permission from my department director for outside employment?
- No, only full-time employees are required to obtain permission and file the outside employment forms.
I am a department director or supervisor. What are some guidelines with respect to granting or denying requests for outside employment?
- The Commission on Ethics has prepared a memorandum outlining guidelines for supervisors and directors on this topic. It can be found here. Some general provisions are also discussed below.
Which Code of Ethics sections, County Code Sections and County Administrative orders address the issue of outside employment?
- County Ethics Code Sections 2-11.1 (j) and (k)
- Section (j) prohibits conflicting outside employment that would impair and employee’s independence and judgment in the performance of that employee’s public duties.
- Section (k) addresses the general prohibition on outside employment except as permitted in Section 2.11 of the County Code and describes the disclosure requirements and deadlines.
- Section 2-11 County Code
- Strictly prohibits full-time employees from accepting outside employment, where County time, equipment, or materials are to be used or where outside employment is performed on County time.
- Outside employment cannot be contrary, detrimental, or adverse to the interest of the County.
- Any outside employment by full-time employee must first be approved in writing by employee’s department director.
- Department director is required to maintain record of such employment.
- County Administrative Order 7-1
- Defines County policy on outside employment here.
What are the disclosure requirements and deadlines for outside employment?
- The “Request for Outside Employment” form is filed with DPR and copy forwarded to the Human Resources Dept., 111 NW 1st St., #2020, Miami, FL 33128, as soon as permission to engage in outside employment is granted.
- For County employees, the “Outside Employment Statement” is filed with the Miami Dade Elections Dept., 2700 NW 87th Ave., Miami, FL 33172, or P.O. Box 521550, Miami, FL 33152-1550, by July 1st of each year.
- For municipal personnel, the “Outside Employment Statement” is filed with the respective municipal clerk.
- For additional information on disclosure requirements and deadlines for outside employment, see this.
How is the Ethics Commission funded?
Currently, the exclusive funding source for the Commission is Miami-Dade County. The Ethics Commission may accept grants, contributions or appropriations from the federal government, state government, any municipality within Miami-Dade County, or any academic institution or nonprofit entity which has not entered into a contract or transacted business with the Count
Can I attend meetings of the Ethics Commission?
What is the purpose of the request for an opinion?
Employees and officials are occasionally faced with situations where they are unsure how to proceed. If the employee or official believes that a conflict of interested could be created by taking a certain course of action, then that person can ask the Ethics Commission for a written opinion.
Who actually issues the opinion?
Once the request is submitted, it will be analyzed by the legal staff and presented to the Ethics Commission for an official determination. Once that occurs, the requester will receive a written opinion signed by the Executive Director stating the Commission's opinion and reason(s) for that opinion.
What is the effect of a probable cause determination?
If requested by the alleged violator, a public hearing will be scheduled. The full Commission on Ethics is impaneled to hear the case. The hearing is scheduled no later than sixty days after the probable cause determination. An attorney will present the case on behalf of the Commission, the alleged violated most likely will hire legal counsel, witnesses will testify, evidence will be introduced and the Ethics Commission will render a ruling. If a violation is found, penalties can be imposed against the violator.
If the Ethics Commission holds a public hearing resulting from a complaint I have filed, what is my role at the hearing?
In most cases, the complainant will be a witness. The complainant is not an actual party and has no burden of proving the case.
As an alleged violator of an ordinance, what rights do I have in the event the Commission finds probable cause?
All respondents are entitled to a public hearing in front of the Ethics Commission. The request for a public hearing must be made within 21 days following the mailing of the probable cause determination.
What penalties can the Ethics Commission assess?
This depends upon the ordinance being enforced. The Commission may impose fines, admonish or reprimand violators or draft letters of instruction. Any final order or advisory opinion issued by the Ethics Commission is subject to review with the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure.Back to Top Page Last Edited: Wed Nov 27, 2013 12:40:46 PM