CEO 76-215 -- December 16, 1976
EXPRESSWAY STUDY GROUP
APPLICABILITY OF CODE OF ETHICS TO MEMBERS
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
An expressway study group which has no budget appropriations and which serves in a solely advisory capacity to an expressway authority constitutes an advisory body within the definition of that term as contained in s. 112.312(1), F. S. 1975. Accordingly, members of said study group do not constitute local officers for purposes of financial disclosure. However, s. 112.313(1) stipulates that standards of conduct provisions of the Code of Ethics apply to all public officers, including members of advisory bodies.
1. Are members of the ____ Expressway Study Group "local officers" subject to the annual filing of financial disclosure?
2. Are members of the ____ Expressway Study Group "public officers" subject to the standards of conduct provisions of the Code of Ethics?
Question 1 is answered in the negative.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides that each "local officer" is subject to the disclosure provisions of s. 112.3145, F. S. 1975. The term "local officer" is defined to include:
Any 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. [Section 112.3145(1)(a)2., F. S. 1975; emphasis supplied.]
The code further defines an "advisory body" as
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. [Section 112.312(1), F. S. (1976 Supp.).]
You have informed us that the ____ Expressway Study Group, a temporary body whose members have been appointed by the expressway authority, will have no budget appropriations. Consequently, its appropriations necessarily constitute less than 1 percent of the budget of the expressway authority.
The study group is representative of various public agencies of the community and was formed to help the consulting engineers in their analysis of alternatives, to monitor the progress of public meetings, to help the consultants plan and respond to public meetings on the alternatives proposed, and to serve as a sounding board that will meet approximately once a month. In your request you have stated that the study group will not have any jurisdiction or authority to make binding recommendations to the authority or to the consulting engineers employed by the authority. We find that these powers are solely advisory and do not include the final determination of any personal or property rights, duties, or obligations. Accordingly, we find that the members of the ____ Expressway Study Group are members of an advisory body who, therefore, are not "local officers" for purposes of financial disclosure.
Question 2 is answered in the affirmative.
The term "public officer" is defined to include
any person elected or appointed to hold office in any agency, including any person serving on an advisory body. [Section 112.313(1), F. S. 1975.]
As this definition includes members of advisory bodies, we find that the members of the ____ Expressway Study Group are "public officers," and accordingly are subject to the standards of conduct provisions of the Code of Ethics.