CEO 85-3 -- January 24, 1985
APPLICABILITY OF DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS OF COUNTY ATTRACTION ADVISORY COMMITTEES
To: Mr. Larry M. Haag, County Attorney, Citrus County
The members of the Citrus County Attraction Financial Advisory Committee and Operation Plan Advisory Committee are not "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes. The Committees' responsibilities are solely advisory and do not relate to land-planning, zoning, or natural resources. CEO's 77- 153, 78-68, 82-84 and 84-82 are referenced.
Are the members of the Citrus County Attraction Financial Advisory Committee and Operation Plan Advisory Committee "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually?
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 this 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 (1983).]
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).]
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 Board of County Commissioners of Citrus County is in the process of acquiring a local attraction which will be operated as a county park. The attraction consists of virgin wetlands, fresh water springs, and a zoo with a variety of animals. In order to facilitate the transition of the park from a privately owned attraction to a publicly owned park, the Board has created two committees of fifteen members each. The Financial Advisory Committee is responsible for advising the Board on the financial aspects of operating the attraction. The Operation Plan Advisory Committee is responsible for advising the Board on the functional operations of the park, or, in other words, how the 155 acres of the park are to be utilized. At present neither of these committees has been appropriated any money for their use.
In our view, the powers of the Financial Advisory Committee are solely advisory and relate to finances rather than to land-planning, zoning, or natural resources. For similar examples, see CEO 78-68 and CEO 77-153 regarding municipal finance advisory committees. As the Financial Advisory Committee has no budget or authorized expenditures, it also meets this part of the test for being an "advisory body."
Similarly, we conclude that the responsibilities of the Operation Plan Advisory Committee are solely advisory. We do not believe that this Committee has land-planning responsibilities, as it plays no formal role in any type of process relating to land-planning and its recommendations cannot be considered a condition precedent to final government action in land-planning matters. See CEO 84-82. Similarly, we do not believe that the Committee has natural resources responsibilities. See CEO 82-84 regarding a city catchment area advisory committee created to advise a city commission on the preservation and public use of city-owned land used as a water catchment area. Finally, we note that this Committee also has no budget or authorized expenditures.
Accordingly, we find that the members of the Citrus County Attraction Financial Advisory Committee and Operation Plan Advisory Committee are not "local officers" and therefore are not subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests.