CEO 84-62 -- June 27, 1984
APPLICABILITY OF DISCLOSURE LAW TO VILLAGE LIBRARY BOARD
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
The members of the Palm Springs Library Board are "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes. The authority of the Board under the Village Code is not solely advisory. CEO's 75-9, 77-7 and 79-43 are referenced.
Are you, a member of the Palm Springs Library Board, 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 (1983). 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, Florida Statutes (1983).]
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), Florida Statutes (1983).]
The Palm Springs Library Board consists of seven members appointed by the Village Council. Section 32.065, Village Code. Section 32.068 of the Code provides:
The Library Board shall make those rules and regulations and establish the fines and rentals they deem proper. The Library Board may make and adopt rules and regulations for their own guidance and for the government of the library and reading room as they deem expedient, subject to the supervision and control of the Village Council and not inconsistent with law.
You have advised that although the phrase "subject to the supervision and control of the Village Council" is contained only in the second sentence of this section, the practice of the Village is to apply it to the first sentence also, so that all rules, regulations, fines, rentals, and even policies set by the Library Board are subject to the supervision and control of the Village Council.
Further regarding the Library Board, Code Section 92.07 provides for a library board trust fund, the expenditures from which are limited to those first recommended to the Village Council by the Library Board for the purchase of books and audiovisual media. The Village Council, with the approval of the Library Board, may temporarily transfer funds from this fund into another portion of the Village budget. In addition, persons excluded from the library by the librarian may appeal to the Library Board, under Code Section 93.02.
Under Article III, Section 2 of the Board's Bylaws, the Board is to set policies for the orderly functioning of the library and to improve and expand library services to Village residents. Under Article III, Section 5, the Board routinely sends copies of its minutes to the Village Council. Unless notified otherwise within thirty days after the minutes are submitted to the Village Manager, the Board's business is deemed approved by the Village Council. You advise that this provision is interpreted to mean that the Village Council has the right to approve or disapprove of any business transacted by the Library Board. Therefore, you believe that the Board's actions are advisory in nature, as they all are subject to approval by the Village Council.
In our view, the powers and authority of the Library Board are not solely advisory. See CEO 75-9, Question 6, in which we advised that another library board empowered to operate a city library under the supervision of the city council did not perform a solely advisory function. In previous opinions CEO 77-7 and CEO 79-43, we have concluded that the fact that a decision of a body may be appealed to another body, which has the right to reverse or modify such a decision, does not indicate that the body's authority is merely advisory, as its decisions may be reversed or superseded only by positive action of another body. Here, the Library Board does not merely recommend rules, regulations, fines, and rentals to the Village Council, but rather establishes those policies subject to review and approval by the Village Council. If the Council takes no action, the Board's policies stand.
Accordingly, we find that as a member of the Palm Springs Library Board, you are a "local officer" subject to the requirement of filing a statement of financial interests annually.