CEO 80-78 -- October 30, 1980
CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE AND TECHNICAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO AIRPORT AUTHORITY
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS
To: Russell S. Koss, Attorney for Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority, Sarasota
Prepared by: Bonnie J. Williams
Reference is made to CEO's 78-4 and 78-69, in which members of technical coordinating committees to metropolitan planning organizations were found to be subject to the financial disclosure law because, although they function solely in an advisory capacity, they have land-planning responsibilities. When a technical advisory committee to an airport authority exercises similar responsibilities, its members too are deemed to constitute "local officers" under s. 112.3145(1)(a)2., F. S., and they are subject therefore to the annual filing of financial disclosure under s. 112.3145(2)(b).
Are members of a citizens advisory committee and a technical advisory committee to an airport authority "local officers" for purposes of the financial disclosure law?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
You enclosed with your letter of inquiry a lengthy document entitled "Application for Federal Assistance for Future Airport Capability and Site Investigation Study," prepared by the Sarasota- Manatee Airport Authority. This study calls for the appointment by the authority of a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and a Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) and, in its "program narrative" section, describes how the two committees will operate within the project's overall framework. Chief among the study's aims, as its title suggests, is the selection of a site for future construction of a new airport facility.
Also included with your letter of inquiry were two summary outlines of the committees' responsibilities, which reflect that the overall responsibility of the TAC is to advise the CAC and the project consultant relative to the study. More specifically, the TAC is expected to provide technical data and information, inform the CAC of user input, and assist in the conduct of CAC, technical, and public meetings. The CAC, on the other hand, is charged with formulation and execution of public involvement in the study, which consists of the following more specific duties: advising the consultant and the authority on issues and tasks, preparing for and conducting all public meetings, assessing public concern, monitoring public input, informing the public of the program's progress, assisting in the preparation of newsletters and brochures, and developing a public mailing list.
We refer you to CEO's 78-4 and 78-69, in which members of technical coordinating committees to metropolitan planning organizations were found to be subject to the financial disclosure law because, although they function solely in an advisory capacity, they have land-planning responsibilities. The subject TAC exercises responsibilities of a similar nature with respect to the airport study; its members, too, are deemed to be "local officers" under s. 112.3145(1)(a)2., F. S., based on the same rationale. Accordingly, members of the TAC are subject to the annual filing of financial disclosure under s. 112.3145(2)(b).
Question 2 of CEO 78-69 concerns members of a CAC to a metropolitan planning organization, who were found not to be "local officers" subject to disclosure because the committee did not directly participate in establishing plan proposals and specific projects designed to implement those plans but, rather, functioned only as a sounding board for public opinion by taking proposals to the local community and reporting community response back to the planning organization. Responsibilities of so passive a nature were deemed not to constitute actual involvement in decisionmaking and therefore not to be land-planning responsibilities within the contemplation of the statute.
In the instant case, however, the CAC to the airport authority, although essentially advisory in nature, does more than merely shuttle information between the public and the authority. In addition to those duties of the CAC cited above, we note on page 11 of the study's program narrative that the CAC is called upon to chair all public meetings and "report to the Authority their [CAC members'] opinions and conclusions drawn from these meetings." Similarly, on page 33, we learn that the CAC will be called upon to make its own recommendations to the authority, not simply to report public reactions and recommendations. Accordingly, the committee is deemed to have land-planning responsibilities within the meaning of s. 112.3145(1)(a)2., making its members "local officers" under the financial disclosure law. See CEO's 77-47, 78-80, and 79-20 relative to other citizen advisory committees whose members were found to be subject to disclosure.
In summary, both the Technical Advisory Committee and the Citizens Advisory Committee to the Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority are found to constitute bodies with land-planning responsibilities whose members constitute "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing financial disclosure annually.