CEO 84-59 -- June 27, 1984
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW TO LIGHTING DISTRICT COMMISSIONER
To: Mr. J. Elwood Lamphear, Commissioner, Southgate Lighting District
The Commissioners of the Southgate Lighting District, created by Chapter 67-2033, Laws of Florida, are "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes, as the Commissioners' authority is not solely advisory. CEO 83-41 is contrasted.
Are you, a Commissioner of the Southgate Lighting District, a "local officer" subject to the requirement of filing a statement of financial interests 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 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 (1983).]
For purposes of this provision, 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 (1983).]
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you serve as a Commissioner of the Southgate Lighting District, which was created by Chapter 67- 2033, Laws of Florida. Sections 5 and 6 of Chapter 67-2033 provide for a governing body to manage the District, consisting of three Commissioners appointed by the Governor for three-year terms. Under Section 8, the governing body is authorized to contract for street lights, for electrical current, and for any materials, supplies, labor, or other things incidental to their operation. Section 9 authorizes the District to levy assessments against taxable real estate within the District, which it does by notifying the Board of County Commissioners of the amount of millage required for the necessary expenses of the District. Section 10 requires the Board of County Commissioners to budget the millage requested by the governing body of the District, with collections handled by the county tax collector.
In a previous opinion, CEO 83-41, we advised that the members of a service district advisory council were not subject to the disclosure law, because the advisory council served a solely advisory function. There, the advisory council had no power to contract or expend district funds, as the county commission serving as the governing body of the district possessed those powers. In contrast, the Commissioners of the Lighting District do not merely advise the governing body of the District, as they are the governing body responsible for managing the district.
Accordingly, we find that as a Commissioner of the Southgate Lighting District you are a "local officer" subject to the requirement of filing a statement of financial interests annually.