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State commission: Lee school official not breaking rules

By Staff | Dec 10, 2009

Lee County School Board Member Robert Chilmonik is not violating state ethics rules by working part-time at Edison State College, according to a letter from the Florida Commission on Ethics sent to Chilmonik in response to a query he sent to the commission on his own.
During his tenure on the school board, Chilmonik has been a part-time computer science instructor at Edison State College.
He recently became concerned over a perceived conflict of interest when the school board chartered a collegiate high school at Edison State.
Florida statute prevents public officials from holding employment or a contractual relationship with a governmental body which regulates or does business with that agency.
On Nov. 9 Chilmonik requested a formal opinion from the commission and he provided additional information about his employment at the school.
The commission met Dec. 4 and discussed the question of whether there “is a prohibited conflict of interest created where a school board member is employed as an adjunct faculty member at a state college, where the college applied for and obtained approval from the school board to operate a charter high school.”
According to the recommended opinion, not yet adopted by the commission, there is no conflict of interest.
“Under the circumstances presented, we find that a prohibited conflict of interest does not exist,” the recommendation outlined.