CEO 79-51 -- September 6, 1979
ADVISORY COMMITTEES TO AVIATION AUTHORITY
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
Members of a concession panel, construction committee, and qualification selection committee of a regional aviation authority do not constitute "local officers" under s. 112.3145(1)(a)2., F. S. 1977, because the budgets, powers, and responsibilities of all three bodies meet criteria set forth in the definition of the term "advisory body" contained in s. 112.312(1). Members of such bodies accordingly are not subject to the annual filing of financial disclosure under s. 112.3145(2)(b).
1. Are the members of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority's Concession Panel "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing financial disclosure annually?
2. Are the members of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Construction Committee "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing financial disclosure annually?
3. Are the members of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Qualification Selection Committee "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing financial disclosure annually?
Question 1 is answered in the negative.
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 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. 1977.]
In turn, an "advisory body" 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.]
In your letter of inquiry you advise that the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority has established a concession panel which is composed of the authority's executive director and attorney (or their designees), an airport consultant, and a member of the community appointed by the authority, as well as not more than two special consultants who may be requested by the panel and who must be expressly approved by the authority. You also advise that the purpose of the panel is to assist the authority in the determination of eligibility of each applicant bidding or proposing on the individual concession or consumer service privileges of the airport. In doing so, you advise, the panel reviews the experience of each applicant and determines those applicants who meet the minimum level of eligibility requirements established by the authority for the privilege to be awarded. The panel then prepares and submits to the authority a list of all applicants, indicating those who meet the eligibility criteria. You further advise that the authority may accept or reject the panel's findings or refer the list to the panel for further investigation. In a telephone conversation with our staff, you advise that the panel has no budget, appropriations, or authorized expenditures.
In our opinion, given the nature of the concession panel's responsibilities, authority, and budget, the panel meets the requirements of an "advisory body." Accordingly, we find that the members of the concession panel are not "local officers" and therefore are not required to file financial disclosure pursuant to s. 112.3145, F. S.
Question 2 is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority has established a construction committee composed of the deputy executive director of the authority, the airport planner, the administrative engineer, and the facilities manager, all of whom are staff employees of the airport. In addition, the committee includes as ex officio members the authority's chairman, legal counsel, and finance director. The duties and responsibilities of the construction committee are outlined in the project coordinator's agreement, which has been entered into by the authority and which pertains to the construction of the new airport passenger terminal facility. Under that agreement, a project coordinator furnished by the consulting firm for the project reviews proposed change orders, supplemental agreements, and requests for time extensions under the contract for construction. These proposals then are forwarded to the construction committee, along with the project coordinator's recommendations. Under the agreement, the construction committee has the authority from the airport authority to approve or disapprove change orders up to $50,000 and to settle any disagreements which have not been settled by the project coordinator under written authority granted to him. Each change order approved by the construction committee is presented to the airport authority for ratification; and, you advise, although the agreement does not make any special reference as to what happens if the authority fails to ratify the committee's action, it has consistently been the practice of the authority that ratification is required of any change order proposal.
The agreement further provides that, if the project coordinator or the construction committee agree an emergency exists which requires approval of a change order in excess of $50,000 but not more than $100,000, the chairman of the airport authority may approve the emergency change order. The airport authority then is requested to ratify the change order at its next meeting. In a telephone conversation with our staff, you advise that the construction committee has no budget, appropriations, or authorized expenditures of its own.
As it appears that the airport authority has retained the final power and authority to approve or disapprove change orders, we find that the construction committee is solely advisory and does not have the power to make the final determination or adjudication of any personal or property rights, duties, or obligations. Inasmuch as the committee also meets the budgetary guidelines contained in the definition of an "advisory body," we find that the committee does constitute an "advisory body." Accordingly, we find that the members of the construction committee are not "local officers" and therefore are not required to file financial disclosure annually under s. 112.3145, F. S.
Question 3 is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that the Qualification Selection Committee of the Greater Orlando Airport Authority is composed of the chairman of the authority, the authority's executive director, and the authority's attorney (or their designees).
The authority also is empowered to appoint additional members to this committee from time to time as it sees fit. This committee, you advise, announces each occasion when professional services, generally of an engineering nature, are required to be purchased for a project whose basic construction cost is estimated to be more than $100,000 or for a planning or study activity when the fee for the professional service exceeds $5,000, except when valid public emergencies exist as certified by the authority. The committee assists the authority by keeping a list of qualified firms, indicating performance of firms providing service to the authority, recommending a list of qualified firms, negotiating fees subject to authority approval, and generally advising the authority in the area of professional services of an engineering or architectural nature. The committee has no final authority and, you advise in a telephone conversation with our staff, has no budget, appropriations, or authorized expenditures of its own.
In our view, the powers and authority of the qualification selection committee are solely advisory; since the committee meets the budgetary limitations contained in s. 112.312(1), F. S., we find that it meets that definition of "advisory body." Accordingly, we find that the members of the airport's qualification selection committee are not "local officers" and therefore are not required to file financial disclosure under s. 112.3145, F. S.