CEO 75-152 -- July 9, 1975
DUTIES AND FUNCTIONS DETERMINATIVE OF STATUS
To: Richard E. Nelson, Attorney for Sarasota Board of County Commissioners, Sarasota
Prepared by: Jeff Trammel
Members of county boards which are solely advisory in nature are not deemed to be public officers subject to disclosure within the meaning of s. 112.312(7)(b), F. S. (1974 Supp.). Other county boards, however, exercise the powers of acquisition of property, issuance of licenses, authorization of capital improvements, etc. Such boards are endowed with duties of a regulatory and policymaking nature and therefore do not meet the advisory board exclusion. Accordingly, members of these nonadvisory boards are deemed to be public officers subject to disclosure requirements of the Code of Ethics.
1. Are the members of the following boards: Air and Water Pollution Control Board, Water and Navigational Control Authority Advisory Committee, Sarasota County Traffic Advisory Council, Sarasota Mining Committee, and Sarasota County Recreation Board public officers within the meaning of that term as found in s. 112.312(7)(b), F. S. (1974 Supp.), and thus subject to financial disclosure requirements?
2. Are the members of the Casey Key Erosion Control District No. 2 Advisory Board and the Sarasota County Well Drillers Board public officers within the meaning of that term as found in s. 112.312(7)(b), supra, and thus subject to financial disclosure requirements?
Question 1 is answered in the negative.
It is evident from the information you submitted on the duties and functions of these boards that each has only the authority to make recommendations to an officer or agency of the county and, as such, is exclusively advisory in nature. Therefore, the board members are not public officers within the meaning of s. 112.312(7)(b), supra.
Enclosed please find a copy of a previous opinion of this commission, CEO 74-83, the rationale of which is equally applicable to your query.
Question 2 is answered in the affirmative.
The enabling legislation of each of these boards delegates to them duties and functions inherent to a nonadvisory board. The Casey Key Erosion Control District No. 2 Advisory Board is authorized to "approve an annual budget, review, approve and make recommendation concerning acquisition of property, capital improvements, equipment, assessments and rates . . . ." Sarasota County Ordinance 72-39.
The Sarasota County Well Drillers board is empowered to recommend to the director of the county health department the issuance of a drillers license, a requisite for any drilling activity. In addition, the "Director shall issue licenses only to persons recommended by the Well Drilling Board . . . and the recommendations of the Well Drilling Board shall be final." Sarasota County Ordinance 74-37. It is evident that each of these boards is regulatory in nature and, consequently, its members are public officers within the Florida Code of Ethics.