CEO 82-84 -- October 29, 1982
CITY CATCHMENT AREA ADVISORY COMMITTEE
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS
To: Mr. David H. Brady, Member, City of West Palm Beach Catchment Area Advisory Committee
A member of the City of West Palm Beach Catchment Area Advisory Committee is not a "local officer" subject to the requirement of filing annually a statement of financial interests. The Committee falls within the definition of "advisory body" in Section 112.312(1), Florida Statutes, and does not have any land-planning, zoning, or natural resources responsibilities as contemplated by Section 112.3145(1)(a)2, Florida Statutes. CEO 81-16 is referenced.
Are you, a member of the City of West Palm Beach Catchment Area Advisory Committee a "local officer" subject to the requirement of filing annually a statement of financial interests?
Your question is answered in the negative.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees requires that each "local officer" annually file a statement of financial interests. Section 112.3145(2)(b), Florida Statutes. For purposes of such disclosure, the term "local officer" is defined to include
[a]ny 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, Fla. Stat. (1981).]
The term "advisory body" is defined in Section 112.312(1), Florida Statutes, 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), Fla. Stat. (1981).]
Therefore, an appointed member of an "advisory body" as defined above is not required to file a statement of financial interests annually unless that body has land-planning, zoning, or natural resources responsibilities.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that the City of West Palm Beach Catchment Area Advisory Committee was created by City Commission Resolution 76-77. Section 7 of that Resolution provides that the Committee is to advise the City Commission regarding the preservation of an adequate water supply and regarding such matters as will ensure the preservation of the City-owned land known as the water catchment area for its use for that purpose. In addition, the Committee is to make recommendations to the City Commission concerning public use facilities, concession leases, transportation for the public by boat, organized tours, and access from adjoining private land. In a telephone conversation with our staff, you advised that the Committee has no budget, appropriations, or authorized expenditures.
We find that the Committee is an "advisory body," as defined above, since the Committee has no budget, appropriation, or authorized expenditures and its powers are solely advisory. In addition, we find that the Committee does not have natural resources responsibilities as contemplated by Section 112.3145(1)(a)2, Florida Statutes. In a previous opinion, CEO 81-16, we advised that an advisory board did not have natural resources responsibilities where the board was not delegated the responsibility of playing a role in a permitting, planning, or other type of process relating to natural resources, but rather was given the authority only to review generally some natural resource matters, to formulate policy recommendations, and to present its advice to a superior board or officer. Under this test, it is apparent that the Committee has been given only the authority to generally review matters pertaining to the catchment area and to provide recommendations to the City Commission concerning the area.
Accordingly, we find that the members of the West Palm Beach Catchment Area Advisory Committee are not "local officers" and therefore are not required to file statements of financial interests annually. Please note, however, that even members of advisory bodies are deemed to be public officers subject to the standards of conduct set forth in Section 112.313, Florida Statutes, including the requirement to file Form 3, "Disclosure of Specified Business Interests," if applicable, under Section 112.313(9), Florida Statutes.