CEO 76-89 -- May 17, 1976
APPLICABILITY OF THE CODE OF ETHICS
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Gene Rhodes
Florida Statute s. 112.3145(2)(b)(1975) requires that all local officers annually file statements of financial disclosure. Included within the definition of the term "local officer" is a member of any board other than an advisory body. An advisory body is defined in part as a board which is solely advisory in nature. Fla. Stat. s. 112.312(1)(1975). A municipal police retirement board which is empowered to invest and reinvest the assets of a trust fund, to issue drafts upon the trust fund, and to decide claims of relief clearly exercises authority beyond the merely advisory. Accordingly, members of the board are deemed to be local officers subject to the disclosure requirements of s. 112.3145.
Are members of my city's police retirement board required to file statements of financial disclosure?
This question is answered in the affirmative.
Your letter of inquiry advises us that the police retirement board was created pursuant to Ch. 185 of the Florida Statutes. That chapter empowers the retirement board to invest and reinvest the assets of the trust fund, issue drafts upon the trust fund, finally decide all claims to relief under the board's rules and regulations, and generally administer the trust fund. See Fla. Stat. s. 185.06(1), (2), (3), (5), and (8)(1975).
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees requires that each local officer annually file a statement of financial disclosure. Fla. Stat. s. 112.3145(2)(b)(1975). Included in the definition of the term "local officer" is:
[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. A governmental body with land-planning, zoning, or natural resources responsibilities shall not be considered an advisory body. [Fla. Stat. s. 112.3145(1)(a)2.(1975).]
The answer to your question turns on whether the police retirement board falls under the advisory body exemption of the above-quoted provision. The term "advisory body" is defined to mean
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. [Fla. Stat. s. 112.312(1)(1975).]
You have not advised us of the relevant budgetary information, but it is not necessary that we consider this, as the retirement board does not meet the other requirements necessary to be deemed an advisory body. First, the board is not solely advisory. We have taken the view that a solely advisory board renders advice to an officer or agency, which officer or agency then has complete discretion to accept or reject the advice or recommendation presented by the advisory body. See CEO 74-4. This is obviously not the case here as the retirement board has the power to act on its own in investing and reinvesting trust funds.
Additionally, an advisory body's duties cannot include the final determination or adjudication of any personal or property rights. As stated above, the board does have the power to finally decide all claims to relief under its rules and regulations. Consequently, each member of the police retirement board is a local officer and therefore is required to annually file a statement of financial disclosure.
Financial disclosure forms, CE Form 1, can be obtained from the clerk of the circuit court in your county.