Walter Pierce

Ethics board to chief: no reduced rent for you

by Walter Pierce

The Louisiana Board of Ethics has responded to a request for an advisory opinion from Richard Arceneaux, the city attorney in Welsh, on whether the town’s chief of police and an officer can reside in a housing authority apartment complex at a reduced rate in exchange for security services. In short, the board says the chief cannot but the officer can.

Citing section 1111c(1)(a) of the Code of Governmental Ethics, Aneatra P. Boykin, writing on behalf of the ethics board, informs Arceneaux that state law "prohibits a public servant from receiving a thing of economic value, other than his salary or benefits, for services devoted substantially to the responsibilities, programs, or operations of the public servant’s agency.” In other words, it’s already the chief’s job to provide security at the complex. But the board also informs Arceneaux that a different section of the code allows the officer to provide security in exchange for a reduced rent in the same way members of law enforcement can moonlight as security guards at private businesses and events.