CEO 79-77 -- November 16, 1979
COUNTY 208 AGRICULTURAL TECHNICAL SUBCOMMITTEE
APPLICABILITY OF DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS
To: Joseph R. Orsenigo, Chairman, Palm Beach County 208 Agricultural Technical Subcommittee, West Palm Beach
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
Reference is made to CEO 79-73. A county 208 agricultural technical subcommittee which is charged with assisting in developing technical recommendations and programs, with assessing the technical implications of 208 recommendations on public and private sectors, and with forwarding recommendations to the 208 implementation advisory committee regarding the sufficiency and feasibility of all technical programs or recommendations is deemed to have land-planning and natural resources responsibilities. Accordingly, members of the subcommittee constitute "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing financial disclosure annually under s. 112.3145.
Are the members of the Palm Beach County 208 Agricultural Technical Subcommittee "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 interest within 30 days from the date of appointment and annually thereafter. Section 112.3145(2)(b), F. S. 1977. The term "local officer" is defined to mean:
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, "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.]
We previously have advised that even though a committee may serve only an advisory function, it is not an "advisory body" if it has natural resources responsibilities. See CEO 77-29, relating to advisory committees to the Palm Beach County Area Planning Board. We have further advised that a committee has natural resources responsibilities when it is designed to provide citizen input into natural resources planning processes as being representative of the general public, rather than by actively seeking public reaction through public hearings from which it reports public response to plan proposals. See CEO's 78-69 and 78-80.
The Palm Beach County 208 Agricultural Technical Subcommittee has been established as an advisory body to the county area planning board, which is responsible for planning the interim water quality management system for the Palm Beach County 208 area. The bylaws of the 208 agricultural technical subcommittee specify that it is responsible for assisting in developing technical recommendations and programs developed by the area planning board's staff during the continuing planning process, for assessing the technical implications of 208 recommendations on public and private sectors, and for forwarding recommendations to the 208 implementation advisory committee regarding the sufficiency and feasibility of all technical programs or recommendations. Since the 208 program involves planning both for land use and water quality (see CEO 77-29), it appears that the implementation advisory committee, by its input into the planning process, has land-planning and natural resources responsibilities.
Accordingly, we find that the members of the 208 agricultural technical subcommittee are "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing financial disclosure annually.