CEO 83-41 -- June 16, 1983
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS OF PALM COAST SERVICE DISTRICT ADVISORY COUNCIL
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Members of the Palm Coast Service District Advisory Council are not "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing a statement of financial interests annually, as the Council is an "advisory body" as defined in Section 112.312(1), Florida Statutes.
Are you, a member of the Palm Coast Service District Advisory Council, a "local officer" subject to the requirement of filing a statement of financial interests annually?
Your question is answered in the negative.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides that each "local officer" shall file a statement of financial interests annually. Section 112.3145(2)(b), Florida Statutes. The term "local officer" is defined to include:
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, Florida Statutes (1981).]
In addition, the term "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), Florida Statutes (1981).]
In your letter of inquiry and in a telephone conversation with our staff, you advised that the Flagler County Commission has created by ordinance a municipal service taxing district known as the Palm Coast Service District. Currently, under County Ordinance 82-14, the Board of County Commissioners serves as the governing body of the District and is authorized to provide and maintain such services, facilities, and improvements as fire protection, law enforcement, beach erosion control, canal and waterway maintenance, recreation service and facilities, water, streets, sidewalks, street lighting, garbage and trash collection and disposal, drainage, transportation, and other essential facilities and municipal services and improvements within the District from funds derived from service charges, special assessments, or taxes. The Ordinance also creates an Advisory Council for the District consisting of seven residents of the District appointed by the County Commission. The Advisory Council, which functions as a means of communication between the residents and the County Commission, is authorized by the Ordinance to assist and make recommendations to the Commission on such matters as procedures, finance, budget, services, improvements, subdistricts, facilities and equipment, annexation, merger, abolishment, service charges, special assessments, taxes, liens, petitions, hearings, and funding. You advise that the Advisory Council has no budget or authorized expenditures; it has no authority to contract on behalf of the District, and all expenditures of District funds must be approved by the County Commission.
In our view, the responsibilities of the Advisory Council, although broad, are solely advisory. In addition, having no budget or authorized expenditures, the Advisory Council meets the budgetary tests set out in the definition of "advisory body." Finally, it does not appear that the Advisory Council has any land-planning, zoning, or natural resources responsibilities within the contemplation of Section 112.3145(1)(a)2, above.
Accordingly, we find that the members of the Palm Coast Service District Advisory Council are not "local officers" and therefore are not required to file a Statement of Financial Interests (Commission on Ethics Form 1). However, even members of advisory bodies are "public officers" for purposes of the Code of Ethics and therefore are subject to the requirement of filing a Disclosure of Specified Business Interests (Commission on Ethics Form 3), as provided in Section 112.313(9), Florida Statutes.