CEO 77-179 -- December 14, 1977
THOROUGHBRED RACING ADVISORY COMMITTEE
APPLICABILITY OF STATUTORY FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE TO MEMBERS
To: LeRoy Jolley, New York Racing Association, Jamaica, New York
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
A member of the state Thoroughbred Racing Advisory Committee which meets the definition of an advisory body contained in s. 112.312(1), F. S., does not constitute a state officer under the terms of s. 112.3145(1)(c)2. and therefore is not subject to financial disclosure under s. 112.3145(2)(b), F. S.
Am I, a member of the Thoroughbred Racing Advisory Committee, a "state officer" for purposes of filing financial disclosure?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that recently you have been appointed by the Governor to serve as a member of the Advisory Committee on Thoroughbred Racing.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides that each "state officer" must file financial disclosure annually. Section 112.3145(2)(b), F. S. 1975. The term "state officer" is defined to include:
An appointed member of each board, commission, authority, or council having statewide jurisdiction, excluding a member of an advisory body. [Section 112.3145(1)(c)2., F. S. 1975.]
In turn, an "advisory body" is defined 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. 1975.]
Section 20.16, F. S. 1975, creates the Department of Business Regulation and also provides for the Advisory Committee on Thoroughbred Racing as follows:
The Governor shall appoint to serve, at his pleasure, a five-member advisory committee to consist of one citizen who is a member of the Horsemen's Protective Benevolent Association, one citizen who is a member of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, and three citizens who are either owners or breeders or interested directly in thoroughbred racing in this state; such advisory committee shall advise with the division and the Board of Business Regulation in the conducting of thoroughbred racing. [Section 20.16(3)(b), F. S. 1975.]
This provision is transferred without substantial change to s. 550.025, F. S., by Ch. 77-109, Laws of Florida. From this description of the purpose of the committee it is apparent that its powers and authority are solely advisory and do not include the final determination of any personal or property rights, duties, or obligations. This was confirmed by Mr. Doug Morris, Deputy Director of the Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering, who also informed our staff in a telephone conversation that the committee has no budget of its own, as the per diem and travel expenses of committee members are paid directly by the division.
Accordingly, we find that the Advisory Committee on Thoroughbred Racing is an "advisory body," as that term is defined by the statutes and that therefore its members are not subject to filing financial disclosure annually. However, even members of advisory bodies are deemed to be public officers, and public officers are subject to the disclosure requirement of s. 112.313(9), F. S. 1975. Section 112.313(1), F. S. 1975. Thus, you are required to complete and file a CE Form 3, Disclosure of Specified Business Interests, but you need not file this form to indicate the absence of a disclosable interest.