CEO 75-192 -- October 6, 1975
APPLICABILITY OF DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS
To: William H. Arnold, Assistant County Attorney, Brevard County, Titusville
Prepared by: Gene Rhodes
Members of the Brevard County Federated Public Library Board, the South Beaches Sewerage Advisory Committee, the Solid Water Disposal System Advisory Committee, the Brevard County Shoreline and Waterways Advisory Committee, the North Brevard Water Management Study Committee, the South Brevard Water Resources Committee, and the Brevard County Environmental Control Committee are not deemed to be public officers subject to disclosure inasmuch as the duties of those boards are solely advisory, thus exempting them from disclosure requirements pursuant to s. 112.312(7)(b), F. S. 1975. Members of the Brevard County Historical Commission, the Brevard Health Planning Council, the Country Acres Brevard County Parental Home, Inc., and the Recreation and Park Advisory Board, however, are public officers inasmuch as the enabling legislation of each of these boards delegates to them duties and functions inherent to regulatory and policymaking bodies. Members of the latter boards therefore are subject to those disclosures required of public officers.
1. Are members of the Brevard County Federated Public Library Board, the South Beaches Sewerage Advisory Committee, the Solid Waste Disposal System Advisory Committee, the Brevard County Shoreline and Waterways Advisory Committee, the North Brevard Water Management Study Committee, the South Brevard Water Resources Committee, and the Brevard County Environmental Control Committee "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 members of the Brevard County Historical Commission; the Brevard Health Planning Council; the Country Acres, Brevard County Parental Home, Inc.; and the Recreation and Park Advisory 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.
The meaning 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 have interpreted the exclusion of advisory boards to apply only to those boards which are solely advisory in nature. See CEO 74-20. An advisory board is one which renders advice or recommendations to an officer or agency. This officer or agency then has complete discretion to accept or reject the advice or recommendation presented by the advisory board. See CEO 74-4.
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 and, accordingly, are not subject to the financial disclosure requirements.
We take this view after careful examination of the duties of the above boards. This opinion carries no weight as to other boards similarly named whose duties may in fact be other than advisory. Decisions as to the status of all boards must be made on an ad hoc basis.
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 body. The Brevard County Historical Commission was established "to collect, arrange, record and preserve historical material and data . . . ." Ordinance Number 74-2 Brevard County Code. Your letter of September 15, 1975, advised us that although the commission has previously used its allocated funds to defray expenses, it does have the power to use these funds to carry out the above-stated purposes.
The Articles of Incorporation for the Brevard Health Planning Council, Inc. provide that its purpose is "to provide comprehensive health planning at least as intended in Public Law 89-749, and amendments thereto and to engage in any activity or business permitted under auspices of the amended laws of Public Law 89-749 and of the Laws of the State of Florida."
The purpose of Country Acres, Brevard County Parental Home, Inc., as stated in its Articles of Incorporation, includes providing for the care of dependent juveniles; administering funds and property to be devoted exclusively to the course of providing for such juveniles; and prescribing, establishing, and administering standards, rules, and regulations relative to supervision of any established facilities for the care and education of such juveniles.
The purpose of each of the Recreation and Park Advisory Boards is to institute, provide, administer, and maintain a system of recreation and recreational facilities within the unincorporated areas of Brevard County. The boards' powers to accomplish these objectives include the power of disbursing tax moneys and the power to adopt and promulgate such rules and regulations as deemed necessary for the operation of parks and recreational areas. Resolutions of the Board of County Commissioners of Brevard County dated November 18, 1975, November 18, 1965, and December 7, 1967.
It is evident that these boards are of a regulatory and policymaking nature rather than being solely advisory. Consequently, members of these boards are public officers within the meaning of s. 112.312(7)(b). Accordingly, these board members are subject to financial disclosure requirements.