CEO 85-68 -- September 3, 1985
APPLICABILITY OF DISCLOSURE LAW TO TRUSTEES OF DADE COUNTY LAW LIBRARY
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
The trustees of the Dade County Law Library are not "local officers" subject to the financial disclosure provisions of Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes. The statutory disclosure law does not apply to officers of the judicial branch of government. Here, the trustees are established by court order, are appointed by the chief circuit judge, and are subject to the supervision and control of the chief judge. CEO's 77-133 and 81-65 are referenced.
Are the Trustees of the Dade County Law Library subject to the financial disclosure provisions of Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that you serve as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dade County Law Library. You also advise that the Trustees were established by court order in 1937 and are appointed and serve at the will of the Chief Circuit Judge.
The Trustees administer and operate the law library subject to the supervision and control of the Chief Judge. Each legislative enactment establishing the library has given the Senior Circuit Judge (now the Chief Judge) control over location, enforcement of rules and regulations, expenditure of funds, appointment of librarians, and direction and control of the Board of Trustees. The Trustees have proceeded by petitioning the Court for orders authorizing them to enter into leases and purchase agreements and by recommending the appointment of library personnel, salary changes, and rules and regulations. Books and supplies are purchased by the Director of Law Libraries and paid for by County warrant drawn on the special law library fund or by check signed by any two Trustees. The Trustees make recommendations on policy changes, space and funding requirements, and other matters, but the Chief Judge is responsible for the final decisions. The control and supervision of the library by the Chief Judge has been accomplished by designating one of the Circuit Judges as Administrative Judge of the library or in some instances directly by administrative order.
In CEO 77-133 we advised that the members of a county board of visitors appointed by the circuit court and answering to the court were not subject to the financial disclosure provisions of Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes, because they constituted an agency of the judicial branch of government. Officers of the judicial branch of State government are not subject to the financial disclosure provisions of the present Code of Ethics. In re The Florida Bar, 316 So.2d 45 (Fla. 1975). Similarly, in CEO 81-65 we advised that a general master for a judicial circuit, being an officer of the judicial branch, is not subject to the statutory financial disclosure law.
Here the Law Library Trustees are appointed by and answer to the Chief Judge of the Circuit. In addition, we note that the Board of Trustees was established by order of that Court. Therefore, it is our view that the Board of Trustees of the Law Library are officers of the judicial branch of government.
Accordingly, we find that the Trustees of the Dade County Law Library are not "local officers" and are not subject to the financial disclosure provisions of Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes.