CEO 76-84 -- May 17, 1976
CHIEF OF VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW
To: L. B. Vocelle, City Attorney, City of Fellsmere
Prepared by: Bonnie Johnson
Florida Statute s. 112.3145(1)(a)3.(1975) enumerates as a local officer subject to disclosure the position of fire chief. The chief of a privately operated volunteer fire department who is named by the department and receives no compensation, public or otherwise, is not subject to the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees by virtue of the fact that he holds no public appointment or employment. Though intentionally broad in nature, the Code of Ethics is not applicable to private citizens.
Is the fire chief of a city volunteer fire department a "local officer" as that term is defined in the revised Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees and therefore required to file a statement of financial disclosure?
Your question is answered in the negative.
You have informed us that the fire department within the city is operated by a group of volunteer citizens who name the fire chief. Members of the volunteer fire department meet to vote upon equipment needs, which the designated fire chief transmits to the appropriate city or county purchasing authorities. Like all members of the volunteer fire department, the fire chief serves without compensation.
The financial disclosure law contained in part III, Ch. 112, F. S., is designed to reach public officers, candidates for public office, and in certain instances state and local governmental employees. While the statute is intentionally broad in nature, it is not applicable to private citizens who hold no public appointment or employment. The subject fire chief serves in that capacity at the pleasure of the volunteer fire department; he holds no appointment by a public official or body. Accordingly, the subject fire chief of the city's volunteer fire department is not subject to the provisions of the financial disclosure law.