CEO 75-30 -- February 21, 1975
STATUS OF MEMBERS OF THE MIAMI BEACH TOURIST DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
To: Allen Clements, Jr., Attorney, Miami Beach Tourist Development Authority, Miami Beach
Prepared by: Patricia Butler
Only members of authorities with solely advisory powers are excluded from the definition of "public officer" set forth in s. 112.312(7)(b), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida. Further, this provision applies to boards, authorities, etc., at both state and local levels. See paragraphs (a), (c), (i), and (j) of s. 112.312(7), F. S. The Miami Beach Tourist Development Authority is empowered to institute studies and promotional programs, to contract through the city and its purchasing division, and to prepare an annual budget for expenditure for resort tax allocation. Miami Beach City Code, s. 41-68. By virtue of these policymaking powers, the authority is not solely advisory, and its members are public officers subject to applicable disclosure provisions set forth in part III, Ch. 112, supra.
Are members of the Miami Beach Tourist Development Authority "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 as applied 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.]
We cannot agree with the thesis expressed in your letter of inquiry that this provision applies only to boards, commissions, authorities, etc., at the state level only. Special taxing districts are, for example, local in every instance. Additionally, it is our view that paragraphs (a), (c), (i), and (j) of s. 112.312(7), F. S., contain provisions which apply to local officials.
In order for a local authority to fall within the advisory board exclusion of s. 112.312(7)(b), it has been our view that the board must be solely advisory. See CEO 74-22. Therefore, in order to determine if the authority comes within the advisory board exception, we must look at the powers and duties delegated to the authority.
The Miami Beach Tourist Development Authority is charged with promoting the tourist industry of the city. In carrying out this duty, the authority has the following powers and responsibilities. It makes all necessary rules and regulations for the operation of the authority in conformance with all applicable law. The authority may institute expert studies and promotional programs. Additionally, it is responsible for carrying out programs of information, special events, and advertising. The authority has the power to contract through the city and its purchasing division. Also, it is charged with preparing an annual budget for expenditure of that portion of the resort tax allocated to the authority. Miami Beach City Code, s. 41-68, generally.
Clearly, these powers are more than advisory in nature. The authority exercises an important policymaking function in the city and therefore does not come within the recognized exception of advisory boards.
Accordingly, it is our opinion that the members of the Miami Beach Tourist Development Authority are public officers as defined in s. 112.312(7)(b), supra, and thus are subject to the disclosure provisions set forth in part III, Ch. 112, supra.