CEO 76-81 -- April 16, 1976
COUNTY BOARD OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS AND APPEALS
APPLICABILITY OF DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Bonnie Johnson
A county board of consumer affairs and appeals, established pursuant to the uniform consumer protection act of the county, as contained in Ch. 74-573, Laws of Florida, Special Acts, is charged with the duty to hear consumer complaints and is empowered to issue citations and cease and desist orders where violations of the act are determined to exist. Such board therefore is not solely advisory but makes final determinations as to personal and/or property rights and, accordingly, does not meet the definition of an "advisory body" contained in Florida Statute s. 112.312(1)(1975). Pursuant to s. 112.3145(1)(a)2., members of the board are deemed to constitute local officers subject to the disclosure requirements of s. 112.3145.
Are members of a county board of consumer affairs and appeals "local officers" for purposes of disclosure requirements contained in the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
The county board of consumer affairs and appeals, as established by the uniform consumer protection act of the subject county, as contained in Ch. 74-573, Laws of Florida, Special Acts, consists of seven members appointed by the county legislative delegation for the purpose of providing uniform consumer protection in the county. The board is charged with the duty to hear consumer complaints certified by its director or chairman and is empowered to issue citations and cease and desist orders where violations of the act are determined. Where the board finds habitual violation of the uniform consumer protection act to have occurred, it may recommend to the board of county commissioners that the violator's occupational license be revoked or suspended. Violations of any citation or order by the board are punishable, pursuant to Fla. Stat. ss. 775.082 and 775.083, as misdemeanors.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees requires that each "local officer" annually file a statement of financial disclosure. The term "local officer" is defined to include
[a]ny appointed member of a board, commission, authority, community college district board of trustees, or council of any political subdivision of the state, excluding any member of an advisory body . . . . [Fla. Stat. s. 112.3145(1)(a)2.(1975).]
The term "advisory body" is defined by the Code as follows:
"Advisory body" means any board, commission, committee, council, or authority, however selected, whose total budget, appropriations, or authorized expenditures constitute less than 1 percent of the budget of each agency it serves or $100,000, whichever is less, and whose powers, jurisdiction, and authority are solely advisory and do not include the final determination or adjudication of any personal or property rights, duties, or obligations, other than those relating to its internal operations. [Emphasis supplied; Fla. Stat. s. 112.312(1)(1975).]
The authority to issue citations and cease and desist orders is not an advisory function, but constitutes the power to determine and adjudicate personal and/or property rights. Accordingly, the county consumer affairs and appeals board does not constitute an advisory body for purposes of the disclosure law, and board members therefore are deemed to be local officers subject to the disclosure provisions of Fla. Stat. s. 112.3145.