CEO 75-29 -- February 21, 1975
MEMBERS OF HISTORIC ST. AUGUSTINE PRESERVATION BOARD OF TRUSTEES
To: John D. Bailey, Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board, St. Augustine
Prepared by: Patricia Butler
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, excludes only members of solely advisory boards. No exclusion is made on the basis of compensation or of the resident status of board members. The Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board of Trustees is empowered by law to contract, to sue and be sued, and to exercise the power of eminent domain (s. 266.06, F. S.). The board is thus not solely advisory; its members are public officers subject to applicable public disclosure provisions of part III, Ch. 112, supra.
Are the in-state and out-of-state members of the Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board of Trustees, who serve without compensation, public officers within the meaning of part III, Ch. 112, F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida, and therefore subject to the disclosure provisions applicable to public officers?
This question is answered in the affirmative.
The definition of the term "public officer" includes:
Members of boards, commissions, authorities, special taxing districts, and the head of each state agency, however selected but excluding advisory board members. [Section 112.312(7)(b), supra; emphasis supplied.]
No distinction is made on the basis of whether members of such bodies serve with or without compensation. See CEO 74-22. Furthermore, because the Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board of Trustees is a Florida board statutorily created by the Florida Legislature, we make no distinction between those members who are Florida residents and those who are not.
As members of a board, the trustees are therefore within the purview of the law; but it must be further determined whether this board is advisory in nature, thus excluding its members from the application of the disclosure law. It is our view that if any nonadvisory functions are legally assigned to, delegated to, or exercised by the body, in addition to whatever advisory functions it may possess, such body is not solely advisory, and its members therefore are deemed to be public officers within the meaning of the disclosure law. See CEO 74-22.
The Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board of Trustees was formed under part I, Ch. 266, F. S. Among its listed powers are the power to adopt a seal, to contract, to sue and be sued, and to exercise the power of eminent domain. Section 266.06, F. S.
It is apparent from an analysis of the powers of the Board of Trustees that it is not solely advisory. On the contrary, its members exercise policymaking functions in their own right. Thus, we cannot consider the Board of Trustees an "advisory body." Its members fall within the definition of the term "public officer," as defined in s. 112.312(7)(b), supra, and therefore are subject to those provisions of part III, Ch. 112, supra, governing public officers.