CEO 74-18 -- October 10, 1974
APPLICABILITY TO HAWTHORNE ZONING COMMISSION MEMBERS
To: William D. Reynolds, Gainesville
Prepared by: Patricia Butler
Notwithstanding the exclusion of advisory board members from the general categories of public officers as set forth in s. 112.312(7)(b), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida, members of zoning boards are specifically included within the definition of "public officer" pursuant to s. 112.312(7)(i), F. S., supra. The specific identification must control over the general exclusion (see AGO 073-362). Therefore, members of the Hawthorne Zoning Commission are public officers by virtue of express mention in s. 112.312(7)(i), F. S., supra, and as such are subject to disclosure provisions required of public officers.
Is an appointed commissioner of the City of Hawthorne Zoning Commission, a solely advisory body, a public officer as defined in Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida, and thus subject to disclosure provisions required of public officers?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
The Commission on Ethics is of the opinion that members of zoning commissions are public officers within the meaning of the Disclosure Act. Section 112.312(7)(i), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida, specifically defines public officers to include ". . . members of zoning boards . . . or any boards having jurisdiction with respect thereto." This language, in its specificity, must control over s. 112.312(7)(b) which excludes advisory board members from the following general categories of officers: "[m]embers of boards, commissions, authorities, special taxing districts, and the head of each state agency, however selected. . . ." This exclusion of advisory boards applies only to those categories stated above; it has no application to other subsections or paragraphs within the definition section of this law. See AGO 073-362.
We therefore conclude that the City of Hawthorne Zoning Commission members are public officers because of their express mention in s. 112.312(7)(i). We make no determination as to whether this commission is solely advisory since the members are deemed to be public officers whether an advisory status exists or not.