CEO 74‑26 ‑‑ October 14, 1974
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW
TO THE CIVIL SERVICE BOARD OF PENSACOLA
To: Alfred P. Bradley, Secretary, Civil Service Board, Pensacola
Prepared by: Gene L. "Hal" Johnson
Only members of boards with solely advisory powers are excluded from the definition of the term "public officer" as found in s. 112.312(7)(b), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74‑177, Laws of Florida. The preface and ss. 18 and 19 of the legislative act creating the Civil Service Board of Pensacola empower the board to administer the civil service system, including the powers to adopt, amend, and enforce rules and regulations and to hear, approve, and confirm disciplinary action (Ch. 63‑1775, Laws of Florida). The board thus serves regulatory and policymaking, not solely advisory, functions. Members of the Pensacola Civil Service Board are therefore public officers subject to the provisions of part III, Ch. 112, F. S., applying to public officers.
Are members of the Pensacola Civil Service Board public officers within the meaning of part III, Ch. 112, F. S., as amended by Ch. 74‑177, Laws of Florida?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
The term "public officer" is defined in part III, supra, to include "[m]embers of boards, commissions, authorities, special taxing districts . . . however selected but excluding advisory board members." Section 112.312(7)(b), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74‑177, Laws of Florida. No exclusion is made based on the manner of selection of such bodies, or with regard to whether the members serve with compensation or without. Only boards which are advisory in nature are excluded from this definition.
Since the members of the civil service board are within the purview of the act by virtue of their membership on a "board," the crucial determination which we must make is whether this board is advisory in nature and thus excluded from the application of the law to public officers. It has been our view in previous opinions that:
If any non‑advisory function is legally assigned, delegated, or exercised by the body in addition to whatever advisory functions it may have, it is not solely advisory and its members are therefore deemed to be public officers within the meaning of the act. See CEO 74‑22.
Functions which will remove an advisory board from the exclusory language of s. 112.312(7)(b), supra, include vesting the board with policymaking or regulatory powers or a power which has a legally binding effect.
The preface to the special act of the Legislature creating the Civil Service Board of Pensacola states that the board's primary duty is to "administer" the civil service system. Chapter 63‑1775, Laws of Florida. The powers delegated to the board to carry out this general mandate include the powers to "adopt, amend, and enforce a code of rules and regulations providing for appointment, employment, and promotion" in the civil service system. Section 18, Ch. 63‑1775, supra. Further, the civil service board has the sole authority to hear, approve, and confirm disciplinary action taken against any employee within the civil service system. Section 29, Ch. 63‑1775, supra.
An analysis of the duties delegated to the Pensacola Civil Service Board indicates that they are regulatory in nature and, in many instances, involve policy‑setting decisions. Due to the nonadvisory nature of these functions, the Pensacola Civil Service Board does not fall within the advisory board exclusion of s. 112.312(7)(b), supra. Its members are "public officers" within the meaning of the act, and therefore are subject to those provisions of part III, supra, which apply to public officers.