CEO 77-71 -- May 19, 1977
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE PROVISIONS TO MEMBERS
To: Buddy C. Alexander, Clerk, Circuit Court, Punta Gorda
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
Members of a county marine advisory committee constitute local officers subject to the annual filing of financial disclosure, inasmuch as the committee's duties relate to natural resources. See s. 112.3145(1)(a)2., F. S. 1975. Similarly, members of a coastal coordinating council advisory board to a regional planning council exercise responsibilities in the area of land planning and therefore constitute local officers for purposes of financial disclosure. However, a county disaster preparedness advisory council constitutes an advisory body pursuant to the definition of that term contained in s. 112.312(1), F. S. 1975, and its members accordingly are not deemed to be local officers subject to disclosure.
1. Are the members of the Charlotte County Marine Advisory Committee "local officers" for purposes of financial disclosure?
2. Are members of the Charlotte County Disaster Preparedness Advisory Council "local officers" for purposes of financial disclosure?
3. Are members of the Coastal Coordinating Council Advisory Board of the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council "local officers" for purposes of financial disclosure?
Question 1 is answered in the affirmative.
According to materials furnished by your office, the Charlotte County Marine Advisory Committee was created by motion of the board of county commissioners and given a mandate to advise the county on all matters pertaining to waterways. This includes advising the board on regulations for the operation of motorboats in or upon the waters of the county and on the designation and posting of public beach and water areas as those of restricted or limited use.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides that each "local officer" shall file annually a statement of financial interests. Section 112.3145(2)(b), 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.]
In turn, "advisory body" is defined in s. 112.312(1), F. S. 1975, 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.
Although the functions of the marine advisory committee are advisory, its responsibilities lie in the area of natural resources, and we accordingly find that the members of the Charlotte County Marine Advisory Committee are "local officers" required to make annual financial disclosure.
Question 2 is answered in the negative.
The Charlotte County Disaster Preparedness Advisory Council, originally established by County Resolution No. 71-33 as the Civil Defense Advisory Council, has the following responsibilities under that resolution:
1. Have knowledge of Executive Order Number 71-13 "Civil Defense Preparedness" Reubin O'D. Askew, Governor.
2. Have knowledge of Public Law 91-606 "The Disaster Relief Act of 1970" and its relation to local government organizations (Civil Defense) responsibilities at times [of] Natural Disasters.
3. Make continuous study of the Charlotte County Department of Civil Defense to advise and devise methods and means in which the organization may be improved.
4. Review, counsel and advise in matters pertaining to the Civil Defense Budget and make recommendations pertaining to the same.
5. Advise and counsel in the development of emergency plans for Civil Defense and plans for emergency management of resources.
6. Advise and counsel in planning for the Emergency Operations Center for Civil Defense operations in Charlotte County.
7. Advise and counsel in case an emergency exists within the boundaries of Charlotte County as to the advisability of a declaration of emergency for a period not to exceed forty-eight (48) hours, unless further extended by the Governor.
8. Advise and counsel in the matter of mutual aid agreements with other public entities and private agencies within the State for reciprocal Civil Defense aid and assistance in case of disaster too great to be dealt with unassisted.
9. Advise and counsel in the development of Civil Defense programs in accordance with the policies and plans set by the Federal and State Civil Defense agencies.
In addition, you have informed us that the disaster preparedness advisory council is not budgeted by the county.
As the disaster preparedness advisory council has no budget, has only advisory functions, and cannot determine or adjudicate any personal or property rights, duties or obligations, we find that it is an "advisory body" and its members accordingly are not subject to financial disclosure requirements.
Question 3 is answered in the affirmative, based upon the rationale contained in a previous opinion of the commission, CEO 76-61, a copy of which is enclosed.