CEO 85-4 -- January 24, 1985
APPLICABILITY OF DISCLOSURE LAW TO CITY CEMETERY ADVISORY BOARD
To: Ms. Virginia L. Paul, City Clerk, City of Coral Gables
The members of the Pinewood Cemetery Advisory Board are "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes, as the Board's powers and duties are not solely advisory.
Are the members of the Pinewood Cemetery Advisory Board "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements 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).]
Under 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).]
The City of Coral Gables by Resolution No. 24705 has created a Pinewood Cemetery Advisory Board with the purpose of refining and implementing a restoration plan for the cemetery produced by a prior committee, accepting donations, supervising the proper care of the site, and reporting to the City Commission periodically on the condition and possible requirements of the cemetery. The Board's activities consist of establishing priorities for the various elements of the restoration plan, communicating with expert advisors such as architects, landscapers, historians and cemetery officials, arranging for volunteer assistance, conducting fund-raising efforts, and obtaining bids for necessary work. Contracts for goods or services and the payments required for such goods or services must be approved by the City Manager or City Commission. Although the Board makes recommendations in these matters, the Board does not have the power to authorize expenditures.
In our view, although the Board does not have the full authority to expend funds in order to restore the cemetery and care for the site, the Board's role is not solely advisory. As we understand the Resolution creating the Board, the Board has been established to oversee the restoration of the cemetery and is responsible for implementing the restoration plan; its role is not merely to advise the City Commission or City Administration on matters concerning the cemetery. As the Board's responsibilities are not solely advisory, the Board does not come within the definition of an "advisory body" exempt from the financial disclosure law.
Accordingly, we find that the members of the Pinewood Cemetery Advisory Board are "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes.