CEO 74-73 -- November 25, 1974
CREDIT UNIONS AND EMPLOYEE ASSOCIATIONS
APPLICABILITY OF CODE OF ETHICS TO DIRECTOR OF A CREDIT UNION AND TO OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS OF AN EMPLOYEE ASSOCIATION
To: Guy L. Kennedy, Jr., Office of the City Attorney, Clearwater
Prepared by: Gene L. "Hal" Johnson
City employees who are not public officers are required by s. 112.313(3), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74- 177, Laws of Florida, to disclose on CE Form 3 their material interest in any business entity granted a privilege to operate or doing business with the employees' agency. Under the by-laws of the City-County Employees Credit Union (Art. II, s. 1), union directors and officers must be city or county employees. Further, a credit union is a business granted privilege to operate. Section 112.3145(1)(b), F. S. Thus, officers and directors of the union are required to comply with the disclosure law, as are city and county employees who are also public officers. See ss. 112.314 and 112.3145, F. S. However, officers and directors of the Clearwater Employees Association are not required to file disclosure forms indicating their positions in this association unless the association does business with the city or county by which the officer or director is employed or unless the employee is a public officer by virtue of having purchasing agent powers or is a consultant. See paragraphs (j) and (i) of s. 112.312(7), F. S.
1. Are the directors and officers of the City- County Employees Credit Union required to file CE Form 3 to disclose the information required therein?
2. Are the officers and directors of the Clearwater Employees Association required to file disclosure forms indicating their positions in this association?
Question 1 is answered in the affirmative.
City employees who do not otherwise qualify as public officers within the definition of s. 112.312, F. S., are subject to only one of the disclosure provisions of the Code of Ethics. That provision is as follows:
If a public officer or employee of an agency is an officer, director, partner, proprietor, associate or general agent (other than a resident agent solely for service of process) of, or owns a material interest in, any business entity which is granted a privilege to operate, or is doing business with an agency of which he is an officer or employee, he shall file a statement disclosing such facts within forty-five days of becoming an officer or employee or within forty-five (45) days of the acquisition of such position or of such material interest. The statement shall give the name, address and principal business activity of the business entity and shall state the position held or the fact that a material interest is owned, and the nature of said interest . . . . The statement shall be filed with the clerk of the circuit court of the county in which he is principally employed or a resident if he is an officer, employee or candidate for election within a county, municipality or other political subdivision of the state. [Section 112.313(3), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida; emphasis supplied.]
Since the officers and directors of the City-County Employees Credit Union are required to be employees of the city or county (Art. II, s. 1, By-Laws of the City-County Employees Credit Union), both of which are agencies within the meaning of the above law (s. 112.312(1), supra), and since a credit union is a "business entity which is granted a privilege to operate" (s. 112.312(6), supra), such officers and directors are clearly subject to the disclosure law quoted above. This disclosure must be filed on CE Form 3, a copy of which is enclosed.
This opinion does not assume, however, that there are no city or county employees who are also public officers within the meaning of the disclosure law. See paragraphs (j) and (i) of s. 112.312(7), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, supra. If such employees of your city are also public officers by virtue of these provisions, they would then be subject to the disclosure provisions of ss. 112.314 and 112.3145, supra.
Question 2 is answered in the negative.
The Clearwater Employees Association is a business entity within the statutory definition of that term. Section 112.312(2), F. S. However, it is not a business entity "provided a grant of privilege to operate." See s. 112.312(6), F. S.
Applying s. 112.313(3), F. S., quoted in question 1 above, to the facts as you have related them, it appears that the only circumstances which will compel a disclosure on CE Form 3 by these officers and directors would be where the association was "doing business" with the city or county in which they are employed.
As stated in the Clearwater Employees Association By-Laws, Art. II, the purpose of the association is to promote good fellowship, mutually beneficial social and welfare interests, and cooperation and efficiency between the departments and employees of the City of Clearwater. It is not a union and does not enter into any contracts with the city.
Based upon these purposes, we conclude that the Clearwater Employees Association is not "doing business" with the city. Therefore, its officers and directors need not make disclosure on CE Form 3.
Again we emphasize that this opinion does not assume that there are no city employees who are also public officers by virtue of having purchasing agent powers or of serving as consultants. See paragraphs (j) and (i) of s. 112.312(7), supra. If any employees are public officers under the stipulations of these subsections, they would be subject to the disclosure provisions of ss. 112.314 and 112.3145, supra.