Ethics panel approves former inspector general's outside work

By News Service of Florida

The state's former chief inspector general will not have an ethical conflict if she works for a company with ties to a group that was once the subject of an investigation she was involved in, the Florida Ethics Commission unanimously ruled Friday.

Melinda Miguel, who resigned as Florida's chief inspector general in April, sought the advisory opinion after explaining she planned to work for the Seattle-based Casey Family Program.

The national foundation would be reviewing work by Our Kids Inc., the Department of Children and Families' lead agency for community-based care in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Miguel said she played an “indirect” role in a DCF inspector general's investigation into Our Kids after “whistleblowers” made allegations about the program in 2011.

As chief inspector general, Miguel said she reviewed the DCF inspector general's report and made sure the reporting complied with the state law.

She said she had no involvement with the Our Kids' contract with the state agency.

The Ethics Commission ruled that Miguel's prior involvement would not violate a prohibition barring a former state employee from working for a company or organization that had a state contract that the former employee was involved in.

“We find that the situation described in your inquiry will not trigger the prohibition of the statute were you to perform consulting for the program/corporation,” the opinion said. “While you did have a personal role as a state employee regarding the corporation and its contracting with DCF (via the whistleblower matter), it is apparent that the role was not a procurement role,” the opinion added.

News Service of Florida