Propriety of Acceptance of a Civil Office

B-193637: Published: Jan 25, 1979. Publicly Released: Jan 25, 1979.

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A Regular Army officer requested an advisory opinion concerning a potential conflict between holding the position of Town Attorney on the Board of Zoning Appeals to the Town of Vienna, Virginia, and his status as a commissioned Army officer. Federal legislation dictates that "no officer on the active list of the Regular Army may hold a civil office or the exercise of its functions. The acceptance of such an office terminates his military appointment." In GAO's opinion membership on the Zoning Appeals Board constitutes holding a civil office with duties imposed by law involving the exercise of some portion of sovereign power. The officer was informed that to accept the position as Town Attorney would violate applicable statutes and subject his military appointment to termination. Therefore, he was advised not to accept the appointment while an active member of the Regular Army.

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