CEO 75-126 -- June 23, 1975
OKALOOSA ISLAND AUTHORITY
APPLICABILITY OF DISCLOSURE LAW TO BOARD MEMBERS AND STAFF
To: Joseph R. Anderson, Attorney for Okaloosa Island Authority, Fort Walton Beach
Prepared by: Carol Ann Turner
Members of the Board of the Okaloosa Island Authority are public officers subject to financial disclosure pursuant to s. 112.312(7)(b), F. S. (1974 Supp.). Because the board's powers are regulatory and policymaking in nature, it does not meet the "solely advisory" exclusion of that section. The attorney for the Okaloosa Island Authority, however, is considered to be an independent contractor rather than a public officer or employee. See CEO 74-6. The Executive Manager of the Authority is not deemed to be a public officer inasmuch as that position is not expressly designated within the categories of public officers set forth in s. 112.312(7), supra.
1. Are members of the Board of the Okaloosa Island Authority public officers within the meaning of that term as found in part III, Ch. 112, F. S. (1974 Supp.), and therefore subject to the disclosure provisions applicable to public officers?
2. Am I, as attorney for the Okaloosa Island Authority, a public officer pursuant to part III, Ch. 112, supra, and thus required to comply with financial disclosure requirements?
3. Is Doris Jordan, Executive Manager of the Okaloosa Island Authority, a public officer pursuant to part III, Ch. 112, supra, and thus required to file financial disclosure?
4. Is Doris Jordan, Executive Manager of the Okaloosa Island Authority, an employee of an agency within the meaning of part III, Ch. 112, supra, and therefore subject to the provisions of the Code of Ethics applicable to employees of agencies?
Question 1 is answered in the affirmative.
The term "public officer" is defined to include "[m]embers of . . . authorities . . . however selected but excluding advisory board members." Section 112.312(7)(b), supra; (Emphasis supplied). 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 responsibilities of the Okaloosa Island Authority include all powers that can be lawfully delegated to it by the county commission, including the authority
to lease the island . . .; to purchase, construct, extend, improve, own, maintain, insure and operate, either itself or by contract or lease with individuals, firms or corporations, all of the bridges, buildings, structures, facilities, projects, developments, streets, playgrounds, installations, utilities, properties, establishments and things mentioned in this act; to acquire, sell and dispose of property; to fix and collect tolls, rents, revenues and profits; to advertise the island; to adopt and enforce building codes and health, sanitation and safety rules and regulations, and regulations generally; and to enter into leases and contracts. [Chapter 29336, 1953, Laws of Florida.]
Such powers go beyond the mere advisory. We therefore conclude that members of the Okaloosa Island Authority are public officers for purposes of this law and are subject to the provisions of part III, Ch. 112, supra, governing public officers.
Question 2 is answered in the negative.
Please find enclosed a copy of a previous opinion of this commission, CEO 74-6, the rationale of which is equally applicable to your inquiry. Your question is answered accordingly.
Question 3 is answered in the negative.
Enclosed please find a copy of a previous opinion of this commission, CEO 74-17, the rationale of which is equally applicable to your inquiry. Your question is answered accordingly.
Question 4 is answered in the affirmative.
The rationale of question 2 of CEO 74-17, referred to above, is equally applicable to your inquiry. Your question is answered accordingly.