CEO 86-3 -- January 9, 1986
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS OF COUNTY CITIZENS TASK FORCE
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Members of the Palm Beach County Citizens Task Force are not "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes. The duties of the Task Force are solely advisory and do not include an ongoing role in land-planning, zoning, or natural resources proceedings. CEO's 81-16 and 85-64 are referenced.
Are members of the Palm Beach County Citizens Task Force "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing annually a statement of financial interests?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that members of the Palm Beach County Citizens Task Force are appointed pursuant to County resolution. The Task Force has authority to only generally review provisions of the Palm Beach County Zoning Code, Landscape Code, Sign Code, and Subdivision Regulations and make recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners. The Task Force may make other recommendations on other ordinances, rules, and regulations only when specifically authorized by the Board of County Commissioners. Furthermore, the Task Force does not have a budget, appropriations, or authorized expenditures and their recommendations are not a prerequisite to action by the County.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees requires that each "local officer" annually file a statement of financial interest. Section 112.3145(2)(b), Florida Statutes. For purposes of such disclosure, the term "local officer" is defined to include:
Any appointed member of a board; commission; authority, including any expressway authority or transportation authority established by general law; 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. (1985).]
The term "advisory body" is defined in Section 112.312(1), Florida Statutes, 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 (1985).]
Therefore, appointed members of an "advisory body" as defined above are not required to file statements of financial interests annually unless that body has land-planning, zoning, or natural resources responsibilities.
It is clear that the powers of the Palm Beach County Citizens Task Force are solely advisory. In addition, we find that the Task Force does not have "land-planning, zoning, or natural resources responsibilities" as contemplated by Section 112.3145(1)(a)2, Florida Statutes. In a previous opinion, CEO 81-16, we advised that an advisory board did not have natural resources responsibilities where the board was not delegated the responsibility of playing an ongoing role in a permitting, planning, or other type of process relating to natural resources, but rather was given the authority only to review generally some natural resource matters, to formulate policy recommendations, and to present its advice to a superior board or officer. Similarly, in CEO 85-64 we found that where a task force was established by county ordinance to review interim land use regulations designed to protect a well field and to make recommendations to the County Commission there were no "land-planning or natural resources responsibilities."
Accordingly, we find that members of the Palm Beach County Citizens Task Force are not "local officers" and therefore are not required to file statements of financial interests annually under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes.