CEO 77-47 -- March 9, 1977
TECHNICAL ADVISORY COMMITTEES TO LOCAL PLANNING AGENCIES
APPLICABILITY OF DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Bonnie Johnson
Technical advisory committees established pursuant to s. 163.3207, F. S., for the purpose of coordinating technical elements of a comprehensive plan and advising local planning agencies and local governing bodies may not be deemed advisory bodies by virtue of the fact that their responsibilities are in the area of land planning. Section 112.3145(1)(a)2., F. S. 1975. Members of such committees therefore constitute local officers and, pursuant to the mandate of s. 112.3145(2)(b), are required to file financial disclosure on an annual basis.
Are members of technical advisory committees established pursuant to s. 163.3207, F. S., local officers subject to the annual filing of financial disclosure?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
You advise in your letter of inquiry that several counties within the jurisdiction of the ____ River Water Management District have requested technical assistance from the district in arriving at their comprehensive land use plan pursuant to the Local Government Comprehensive Planning Act of 1975, as contained in Ch. 163, F. S. Such assistance would be provided by the district via the appointment of certain district employees to technical advisory committees to the subject counties, provision for which is contained in s. 163.3207. Employees of the district who are potential appointees to these committees therefore wish to know whether, if so appointed, they would then constitute local officers subject to the annual filing of financial disclosure as mandated by s. 112.3145(2)(b), F. S. 1975.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees defines the term "local officer" 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; emphasis supplied.]
Statutorily, such technical advisory committees are created "[i]n order to coordinate technical elements of a comprehensive plan and to advise local planning agencies and local governing bodies . . . ." Section 163.3207, F. S. 1975. As the comprehensive plan incorporates land planning, zoning, and natural resources considerations (part III, Ch. 163, F. S.), the responsibilities of the technical advisory committees clearly are within these areas. Accordingly, the committees may not be considered advisory bodies pursuant to the above-quoted s. 112.3145(1)(a)2., and members of such committees therefore constitute local officers subject to the annual filing of financial disclosure.
You may be interested to know that the Ethics Commission has proposed to the Legislature a revision of the law which would exempt from disclosure members of planning boards whose actions are neither final or binding on another body whose action is final nor of such a nature that positive action of another body is required to reverse or supersede them. Should members of the subject advisory committees wish to register their support for such amendment of the law, we suggest that they contact their local legislative delegation.