CEO 78-91 -- November 15, 1978
COUNTY INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS
To: Donald A. Pickworth, Collier County Attorney, Naples
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
A County Industrial Development Authority, created pursuant to s. 159.45(1), F. S. 1977, is deemed to constitute a political subdivision within the meaning of s. 1.01(9), but, because its powers and authority are not solely advisory, it does not meet the definition of "advisory body" contained in s. 112.312(1) of the Code of Ethics. Accordingly, members of such authority are "local officers" within the meaning of s. 112.3143(1)(a)2. and are subject to the annual filing of financial disclosure. Section 112.3145(2)(a), F. S. 1977.
Are the members of a county industrial development authority "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing financial disclosure annually?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides that each "local officer" shall file a statement of financial interests annually. Section 112.3145(2)(b), F. S. 1977. The term "local officer" is defined to include:
Any appointed member of a board, commission, authority, community college district board of trustees, or council of any 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. 1977.]
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. 1977.]
Thus, if an authority of a political subdivision of the state does not meet the criteria for an "advisory body," its members are required to file financial disclosure.
The Legislature has created in each county a county industrial development authority as a public body corporate and politic and as a public instrumentality for the purposes of industrial development. Section 159.45(1), F. S. 1977. However, such an authority is not authorized to function until the county commission by resolution declares that there is a need for it. The members of such an authority are appointed by the board of county commissioners, may be removed by the board for misfeasance, malfeasance, or willful neglect of duty, and are required to take the oath of office specified in the State Constitution. Section 159.45(3), F. S. 1977. Industrial Development Authorities are created for the purpose of financing or refinancing capital projects, including industrial and manufacturing plants and air, water, and other pollution and waste control facilities, and for the purpose of fostering the industrial and business development of a county. Section 159.46, F. S. 1977. Each authority is empowered, in part, to have perpetual succession as a body politic and corporate; to sue and be sued in its own name; to enter into contracts for any of the purposes for which the authority has been created and the purposes enumerated in the Florida Industrial Development Financing Act; to issue revenue bonds or other debt obligations; and to exercise all the powers in connection with the authorization, issuance, and sale of revenue bonds to finance the cost of capital projects conferred on counties, municipalities, special districts, and other local governmental bodies by the Florida Industrial Development Financing Act. Section 159.47, F. S. 1977.
We are of the opinion that the members of a county industrial development authority fall within the definition of "local officer." First, such an authority constitutes a political subdivision of the state as that term is used in s. 112.3145(1)(a)2., quoted above. Section 1.01(9), F. S. 1977, provides:
The words "public body," "body politic" or "political subdivision" include counties, cities, towns, villages, special tax school districts, special road and bridge districts, bridge districts and all other districts in the state.
The language in this definition of "political subdivision" is sufficiently broad to include an industrial development authority, a body politic which, like a special road or bridge district (see Ch. 336, F. S.), exists within a limited geographical area and exercises certain governmental functions for a narrow, specified purpose. Secondly, an industrial development authority does not fall within the definition of "advisory body" because its powers and authority are not solely advisory.
Accordingly, we find that the members of a county industrial development authority are "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing financial disclosure annually.