Legal Memorandum: Conflicts of Interest in Municipal Contracts

Issue: What is the Nebraska law regarding conflict-of-interest for members of municipal boards and commissions?

Area of Law: Business Organizations & Contracts, Municipal, County and Local Law
Keywords: Conflict-of-interest issues; Municipal boards and commissions
Jurisdiction: Nebraska
Cited Cases: 202 Neb. 152; 148 A.2d 111
Cited Statutes: Neb. Rev. Stat. § 49-14,103.01, §49-14,103.01(2) (1999)
Date: 05/01/2000

Nebraska statutes contain particular provisions that address conflict-of-interest issues in conjunction with municipal boards and commissions.  For example, there is a specific statute that deals with conflicts of interest in municipal contracts.  Nebraska Revised Statutes § 49-14,103.01  states that no village official, or other officer of a municipality, may “have an interest in any contract to which his or her governing body, or anyone for its benefit, is a party” if the individual has a business association with the entity involved in the contract.  Neb. Rev. Stat. § 49-14,103.01(2) (1999).  Any conflict of interest that exists under the terms of this statute renders the contract voidable.  Id.  However, under the statute, a conflict will not exist if the individual discloses his interest prior to the time the contract is officially considered, does not vote on the contract (unless needed to secure a quorum) and does not act for the governing body with regard to performance under the contract.  Id. § 49-14,103.01(3). 

It has been previously determined that a public official should not be disqualified from voting on a particular ordinance or matter if that individual has only a “remote, contingent, and speculative conflicting interest” and that the “decision as to whether a particular interest is sufficient to disqualify is necessarily a factual one and depends upon the circumstances of the case.”  Copple v. City of Lincoln, 202 Neb. 152,167, 274 N.W.2d 520, 528 (1979) (quoting Van Itallie v. Borough of Franklin Lakes, 28 N.J. 258, 148 A.2d […]

Subscribe to Litigation Pathfinder

To get the full-text of this Legal Memorandum ... and more!

(Month-to-month and annual subscriptions available)