CEO 77-31 -- March 9, 1977
REGIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL TO DEPARTMENT OF OFFENDER REHABILITATION
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS TO MEMBERS
To: Sister Rosemary Finnegan, Region One Advisory Council, Department of Offender Rehabilitation, Tallahassee
Prepared by: Bonnie Johnson
Section 112.3145(2)(b), F. S. 1975, provides that all local officers annually file a statement of financial interests. The term "local officer" is defined to include an appointed member to any board other than any member of an advisory body. Section 112.3145(1)(a)2. The Code of Ethics further defines the term "advisory body" to include, in part, a board which is solely advisory. Section 112.312(1), F. S. (1976 Supp.). Regional advisory councils to the Department of Offender Rehabilitation are created by s. 20.315, F. S. 1975, as solely advisory to that department. A member of such council accordingly does not constitute a local officer for purposes of financial disclosure.
As a member of a regional advisory council of the Department of Offender Rehabilitation, am I a "local officer," "specified employee," or "state officer" for purposes of financial disclosure?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of request you have stated that you have been appointed by the Governor to the Region One Advisory Council to the Department of Offender Rehabilitation. For purposes of planning and administering its programs pursuant to s. 20.315, F. S. 1975, the Department of Offender Rehabilitation (DOR) has established five service regions for the state and a regional advisory council for each service region. Each council is composed of the following members:
1. One representative of the state attorneys in the region.
2. One representative of the public defenders in the region.
3. One sheriff of a county in the region.
4. Four citizen representatives from the region.
5. One member of a district school board of a school district within the region.
6. One circuit judge exercising juvenile jurisdiction within the region.
7. One circuit judge exercising criminal jurisdiction within the region.
8. One member of a board of county commissioners of a county within the region.
9. One representative of the Florida State Employment Service of the Department of Commerce. [Section 20.315(10)(a), F. S. 1975.]
The members of a council receive no compensation, but are reimbursed for per diem and travel expenses by DOR. The purposes and functions of the councils are specified in s. 20.315(10)(b), F. S. 1975, which states:
The council shall be advisory in nature. It shall communicate the ideas of the community and the local criminal justice system to the regional administration of the Department of Offender Rehabilitation. The duties and responsibilities of the Regional Advisory Council shall include, but not be limited to:
1. Recommending to the regional director modifications in state program policy.
2. Providing a forum for receiving citizen complaints and holding hearings on general problems relating to the department.
3. Providing advice on program coordination within the region.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides that each "state officer," "specified employee," and "local officer" must file financial disclosure annually. Section 112.3145(2)(b), F. S. 1975. The appointed members of each regional advisory council are not "state officers" because none of the councils have statewide jurisdiction. Section 112.3145(1)(c)2., F. S. 1975.
"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.]
In turn, "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. [Section 112.312(1), F. S. (1976 Supp.).]
It is clear from the statutory enumeration of the powers of a regional advisory council quoted earlier in this opinion that a regional advisory council is solely advisory and does not make a final determination of any personal or property rights, duties, or obligations. Mr. Pete Ratowski, the Budget Officer for DOR, has informed our staff that the regional advisory councils were allocated no money in the current budget, and has assured our staff that the budget of each regional advisory council for the next fiscal year definitely would be less than 1 percent of the budget appropriated for the region served by it.
Therefore, we find that each regional advisory council constitutes an advisory body and that, as a consequence, the members of each regional advisory council are not "local officers." Nor do the members of a regional advisory council fall within the classification of "specified employee," as found in s. 112.3145(1)(b), F. S. 1975.
Accordingly, we find that the members of a regional advisory council of the Department of Offender Rehabilitation are not "local officers," "specified employees," or "state officers" and therefore are not subject to the financial disclosure provisions of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees. Please note, however, that some of the members of each council are required by statute to hold another public office, for example, that of sheriff or county commissioner, and that these persons are required to file financial disclosure by virtue of their holding that office, rather than as a member of the council.