CEO 81-18 -- April 2, 1981
CITY CIVIL SERVICE BOARD
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS
To: Edward Paul Kreiling, Counsel for City of Hallandale Civil Service Board, Miramar
Pursuant to Section 112.3145(1)(a)2, F. S., members of local boards which meet the definition of "advisory body" contained in Section 112.312(1) are exempted from the requirement of filing statements of financial interests. A municipal civil service board with the authority to provide examinations and maintain lists of eligible candidates; the authority to suspend the requirement of examination in some instances; the authority to hold hearings to determine seniority within a grade or class of employees; and the authority to conduct investigations concerning the enforcement of the city's civil service code, among other recommendatory powers, does not perform a solely advisory function. Accordingly, members of a municipal civil service board with such powers are local officers subject to the requirement of filing financial disclosure.
Are the members of the City of Hallandale Civil Service Board "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 within 30 days from the date of appointment and annually thereafter by July 15. Section 112.3145(2)(b), F. S. (1979). 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.]
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.]
In your letter of inquiry you advise that the City of Hallandale Civil Service Board has been created by a Special Act of the Legislature, with three of its members being appointed by the City Commission, one member being a regularly-employed member of the Fire Department, and the remaining member being a regularly-employed police officer.
Prior to a recent City Charter Amendment, you advise, the Civil Service Board had the power to adopt, enact, and amend a Code of Rules and Regulations for Civil Service employees which would have the effect of law. However, you advise that the recent Charter Amendment had the effect of repealing this section and granting the power to adopt rules and regulations to the City Commission. Presently, the Board has the power to make recommendations to the City Commission for proposed rules and regulations. In addition, you advise that the Board hears appeals from employees who have been disciplined; but, whereas the Board's decision formerly was final, at present the Board's finding is merely a recommendation to the City Manager, who has the final authority with regard to an employee's dismissal and suspension.
In a telephone conversation with our staff, you advised that the Board has retained many of its functions under the Special Act which created it, Chapter 30793, Laws of Florida (1955). Among these responsibilities retained by the Board are the authority to provide examinations and maintain lists of candidates eligible for positions in the Civil Service System, with appointment being made only from those lists; the authority to suspend the requirement of examination in some instances; the authority to hold hearings to determine seniority within a grade or class of the Civil Service System; and the authority to conduct investigations concerning the enforcement of the City's Civil Service Code.
We are of the opinion that the responsibilities of the Civil Service Board which are outlined in the immediately-preceding paragraph are not solely advisory. That is, in fulfilling these responsibilities the Board does not merely make recommendations to another body or agency of the City, but rather makes independent decisions in the exercise of its substantial, though diminished, responsibilities.
Accordingly, we find that the members of the City of Hallandale Civil Service Board are "local officers" required to file statements of financial interests annually.