CEO 77-43 -- March 9, 1977
COUNTY ARTS COUNCIL
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE TO MEMBERS
To: Sallie Parks, Director, Pinellas County Arts Council, Clearwater
Prepared by: Bonnie Johnson
A county arts council which is empowered to acquire, construct, or alter cultural facilities; borrow money or issue bonds; fix and collect rates, rentals, fees, and charges for the use of cultural facilities; and enter into contracts and agreements is not solely and therefore does not meet the definition of an "advisory body" contained in s. 112.312(1), F. S. (1976 Supp.). Accordingly, pursuant to s. 112.3145(1)(a)2. and (2)(b), members of such arts council constitute local officers subject to the annual filing of statements of financial interests.
Are members of the Pinellas County Arts Council local officers subject to the annual filing of statements of financial interests?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
You advise in your letter of inquiry that the Pinellas County Arts Council was created pursuant to Ch. 76-244, Laws of Florida, for the general purpose of supporting and encouraging artistic endeavors. The council is comprised of 15 members, appointed by the board of county commissioners.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees requires that each local officer annually file a statement of financial interests. Section 112.3145(2)(b), F. S. 1975. 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. 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.]
"Advisory body," in turn, 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.).]
Accordingly, in order to be deemed an advisory body for purposes of financial disclosure, the council's powers and duties must be solely advisory in nature.
Section 5 of Ch. 76-244, Laws of Florida, provides that the council "shall have all legal powers necessary and appropriate to effectuate its purposes and duties as set forth in this act and as enumerated in the bylaws of the council." Section 6 of that chapter further empowers the council, upon approval by resolution of the county commission, "to issue, refund, or take any other action with respect to revenue bonds to finance or refinance a capital project . . . ." Subsection (2) of that section goes on to state that
bonds issued under the provisions of this act shall not constitute a debt of the county or any municipality therein or a pledge of the faith and credit of the county or any municipality therein, and a statement to that effect shall be recited on the face of the bonds; provided, however, that any county or municipality therein may, by express resolution, assume as its debt or pledge its faith and credit as a guarantee of the bonds of the county arts council if such bonds are issued to finance or refinance a capital project authorized by law and are approved by a vote of the electors.
We further note that the bylaws of the council provide that the group receive donations, grants, and contributions; control distribution of funds; and make and authorize all disbursements thereof. Among the council's powers and duties set forth in its bylaws are: The acquisition, construction, or alteration of cultural facilities; the borrowing of money or issuance of bonds as provided for by statute; the fixing and collection of rates, rentals, fees, and charges for the use of cultural facilities; and the entering into of contracts and agreements in pursuit of the performance of its duties.
The above-enumerated powers and duties of the arts council are not advisory in nature, and the council therefore does not constitute an advisory body for purposes of the disclosure law. Accordingly, members of the council are deemed to be local officers subject to the annual filing of financial disclosure.