CEO 75-102 -- April 28, 1975
HOSPITAL DISTRICT BOARD OF TRUSTEES
APPLICABILITY OF CODE OF ETHICS
To: William G. O'Neill, Attorney, Marion County Hospital District, Ocala
Prepared by: Carol Ann Turner
Pursuant to s. 112.312(7)(b), F. S. (1974 Supp.), board members are public officers with the exception of members of solely advisory boards. The Board of Trustees of the Marion County Hospital District exercises substantial regulatory and policymaking power; therefore, it does not fall within the advisory board exclusion, and its members are deemed to be public officers for purposes of disclosure under part III, Ch. 112, F. S. (1974 Supp.).
Are members of the Board of Trustees of the Marion County Hospital District "public officers" and therefore subject to the disclosure provisions of part III, Ch. 112, F. S. (1974 Supp.)?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
The term "public officer" is defined to include:
[m]embers of boards, commissions, authorities, special taxing districts . . . excluding advisory board members. [Section 112.312(7)(b), supra.]
The broad language of this definition indicates that all board members are within the definition of the term "public officer" unless the board is advisory in nature. An advisory board has been determined by the Ethics Commission to mean a board whose powers are solely advisory.
The law under which the Marion County Hospital District was created provides that the board of trustees shall have "all the powers of a body corporate" including the power to contract; to acquire, purchase, hold, lease, mortgage and convey real and personal property; and to borrow money and issue evidence of indebtedness. Chapter 65-1905, Laws of Florida. Such powers are clearly beyond the mere advisory. We are therefore of the opinion that the members of the Board of Trustees of the Marion County Hospital District are public officers within the meaning of that term as used in s. 112.3145(1)(a), F. S., and are thus subject to the disclosure provisions of part III, Ch. 112, supra.