CEO 74‑34 ‑‑ November 1, 1974
APPLICABILITY TO CITY ELECTRICAL INSPECTORS
AND ELECTRICAL BOARD MEMBERS
To: Byron Peoples, Acting Secretary, City Electrical Board, Pensacola
Prepared by: Jeff Bassett
A member of a board is a public officer as defined in s. 112.312(7)(b), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74‑177, Laws of Florida. Only members of solely advisory boards are excluded from this definition. Pensacola City Code s. 3.1.3 empowers the city electrical board to render decisions on the meaning and intent of the electrical code and to decide disputes over that code. The Pensacola City Electrical Board is thus a regulatory, not advisory, body whose members are public officers subject to disclosure provisions required of public officers. Members of the board are thereby required to file CE Form 1 or be in violation of the law, and to file CE Forms 2, 3, and 4 when statutorily required information is applicable to the individual board members. Because the Pensacola City Electrical Inspector is an employee of a municipal governmental entity as defined in s. 112.312(1), F. S., he is an employee subject to the disclosure provisions of s. 112.313, F. S. As an employee of said agency who is not a public officer, the Pensacola City Electrical Inspector is required to file only CE Form 3, if applicable.
1. Are the members of the Pensacola City Electrical Board "public officers" and therefore subject to the disclosure provisions of part III, Ch. 112, F. S.?
2. Is the city electrical inspector subject to the disclosure provisions of part III, Ch. 112, F. S.?
3. Which disclosure forms should be filed by the members of the city electrical board and the electrical inspector?
Question 1 is answered in the affirmative.
Included within the meaning of the term "public officer" are "[m]embers of boards . . . however selected but excluding advisory board members." Section 112.312(7)(b), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74‑ 177, Laws of Florida. Since the members of the Pensacola City Electrical Board are within the purview of the law as members of a board, we must determine whether this body is advisory in nature and is excluded from the application of the law to public officers. It has been our view that an advisory board is one whose duties are solely advisory. See CEO 74‑18.
The city electrical board is granted the following powers by local ordinance:
This board shall be charged with the responsibility of rendering decisions as to the meaning and intent of the Electrical Code. It shall sit as a Board of Appeals and shall interpret and decide disputes that may arise in the enforcement of this Code . . . . [Pensacola City Code, s. 3.1.3.]
These powers are not advisory in nature but rather are regulatory and have a binding and determinative effect. We thus conclude that the Pensacola City Electrical Board is not within the advisory board exclusion, and its members are therefore public officers within the meaning of part III, supra, and are subject to the disclosure provisions as they apply to public officers.
Question 2 is answered in the affirmative.
Section 112.313, F. S., as amended by Ch. 74‑177, supra, sets forth standards of conduct for public officers and employees of agencies. "Agency" is defined as "any state, county, local or municipal entity, whether executive, judicial, or legislative . . . ." Section 112.312(1), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74‑177, supra. Because the city electrical inspector is an employee of the division of building inspection, a municipal governmental entity, he is an employee of an agency as defined above and, as such, is subject to the disclosure provisions of s. 112.313, supra. It should be noted that Commission on Ethics Form 3, Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest by Public Officers, Public Employees and Candidates, is the only disclosure form that must be filed by employees of agencies who are not also public officers.
As to your third question, the city electrical inspector need file only CE Form 3, as noted in question 2 above.
As members of the city electrical board are deemed public officers under part III, Ch. 112, supra, they are required to file the following statements of disclosure: CE Form 1, Financial Disclosure Statement (refer to s. 112.3145, F. S., as amended by Ch. 74‑177, supra); CE Form 2, Quarterly Statement of Disclosure of Clients Represented before Agencies (refer to paragraph (1)(c) of s. 112.3145, supra); CE Form 3, Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest by Public Officers, Public Employees and Candidates (refer to s. 112.313(3), supra); and CE Form 4, Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest by Public Officers in Voting Situations (refer to s. 112.314(2), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74‑177, supra).
Please note that CE Forms 2, 3, and 4 require no negative reports. Thus, if the only response to all statutorily required information would be "none" or "not applicable," these forms need not be filed.
We emphasize that this opinion is based only on the factual situation which you have stated in your request. Therefore, we have not addressed a situation in which certain employees may be public officers by virtue of having powers normally conferred to a purchasing agent. See s. 112.312(7)(j), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74‑ 177, supra.