CEO 82-90 -- December 10, 1982
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS OF COUNTY COMMUNITY TASK FORCE FOR COOPERATIVE PLANNING
The members of the Alachua Community Task Force for Cooperative Planning are not "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing annually a statement of financial interests. The Task Force is an "advisory body," as that term is defined in Section 112.312(1), Florida Statutes. In addition, the Task Force does not have land-planning responsibilities, as it is involved only with reviewing procedures and processes of land planning rather than with making decisions on how land is to be used.
Are the members of the Alachua County Community Task Force for Cooperative Planning "local officers" 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, Florida Statutes (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.
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 Alachua County Community Task Force for Cooperative Planning is chaired by the Executive Director of the Regional Planning Commission and is composed of five members appointed by the Gainesville City Commission, five members appointed by the County Commission, one member from the County School Board, and one member invited to participate from each of the incorporated jurisdictions within the County. The Task Force, which is supported by the City of Gainesville and the County, is charged with several responsibilities. These responsibilities include examining the need for coordinated comprehensive planning among the County, the School Board, and the various municipalities of the County; identifying problems, both procedural and substantive, which could be solved by coordinated comprehensive planning; and identifying and evaluating alternative methods and recommending a joint planning structure, including mission, geographic scope, composition, responsibilities, and a time frame for implementation. You also have advised that for the 1982-83 budget year, the Task Force does not have a budget approved by the County Commission. Nor are there current appropriations within the County budget for the Task Force, and no expenditures have been authorized by the County Commission.
We find that the Task Force falls within the statutory definition of an "advisory body," as its powers are solely advisory and it meets the budgetary tests of that definition. In addition, we find that the Task Force does not have any land-planning, zoning, or natural resources responsibilities. While the Task Force's responsibilities relate to land-planning, the Task Force is involved with the procedures, processes, and mechanisms of land planning rather than with decisions on how particular land is to be used. See] CEO's 78-14, 81-16, and 82-84.
Accordingly, we find that the members of the Alachua County Community Task Force for Cooperative Planning 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. Section 112.313(1), Florida Statutes.