CEO 84-109 -- November 29, 1984
APPLICABILITY OF DISCLOSURE LAW TO ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH DIRECTORS WITHIN COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS
To: Mr. J. David Sellars, Assistant Secretary for Operations, Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services
An Environmental Health Director employed by the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services within a county health department is neither a "specified state employee" nor a "local officer" subject to the requirement of filing a statement of financial interests annually under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes. CEO 77-105 is revoked.
Is an Environmental Health Director, an employee of the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services within a county health department, a "specified state employee" or "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 requires each "local officer" and each "specified state employee" to file a statement of financial interests annually. Section 112.3145(2)(b), Florida Statutes (1983). The term "local officer" is defined to include:
Any person holding one or more of the following positions: . . . county or municipal pollution control director; county or municipal environmental control director . . . . [Section 112.3145(1)(a)3, Florida Statutes (1983).]
There is no equivalent position within the list of positions designated as a "specified state employee" by Section 112.3145(1)(b), Florida Statutes (1983). That is, persons with environmental or pollution control responsibilities are not included specifically as a category of specified state employees.
You have advised that Environmental Health Directors hold State career service positions as employees of the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, serving within county health departments. The various classes of Environmental Health Directors are responsible for planning and directing the environmental health program of each county health department, including inspecting and permitting food service establishments, food outlets, and food processing plants; cooperating with the Department of Environmental Regulation in implementing the Safe Drinking Water Act; working with the Department of Environmental Regulation in inspecting and monitoring public sewage treatment plants and individual sewage disposal systems; inspecting school facilities; inspecting hospitals and nursing homes in cooperation with D.H.R.S. licensing teams; inspecting trailer parks, recreation parks, and camps; and in certain instances inspecting child care centers and foster homes.
In a previous opinion, CEO 77-105, we advised that employees of a county health department would be considered under the classification of "local officer" rather than that of "specified employee" because of the control exercised over the health department by the county. Subsequent statutory changes recognized in CEO 84-27 have made it clear that employees of health departments such as environmental health directors are employees of D.H.R.S. rather than of the county. This being the case, we look to the classification of "specified state employee" to determine whether Environmental Health Directors are subject to the financial disclosure law. As noted above, no position with environmental or pollution control responsibilities is included in those listed as specified state employees. Nor does it appear that any position among those included as specified state employees would encompass the responsibilities of Environmental Health Directors.
Accordingly, we find that Environmental Health Directors employed by the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services within county health departments are not subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes. To the extent that this opinion modifies the result of CEO 77-105, that opinion is hereby revoked.