CEO 86-16 -- February 20, 1986
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS OF COUNTY MUNICIPAL SERVICE BENEFIT UNIT ADVISORY BOARD
To: Mr. Neal D. Bowen, County Attorney, Osceola County
Members of the Buenaventura Lakes Municipal Service Benefit Unit Advisory Board are not "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually, as the Board is an "advisory body" as defined in Section 112.312(1), Florida Statutes.
Are members of the Buenaventura Lakes Municipal Service Benefit Unit Advisory Board "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 provides that each "local officer" shall file a statement of financial interests annually. Section 112.3145(2)(b), Florida Statutes (1985). 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).]
In addition, 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 (1985).]
In your letter of inquiry you advise that the Osceola County Commission has created by ordinance the Buenaventura Lakes Municipal Service Benefit Unit (MSBU). Under County Ordinance 85-6, the Board of County Commissioners serves as the governing body of the MSBU and is authorized to provide and maintain such services, facilities, and improvements as street lighting, fire protection, garbage disposal, maintenance of water ways, canals, lakes, retention and detention areas, and operation and maintenance of parks, recreation areas, and community centers from funds derived from special assessments on taxable real property within the MSBU. The Ordinance also creates an Advisory Board consisting of five resident property owners in the MSBU appointed by the County Commission. The Advisory Board, which functions as a means of communication between the residents and the County Commission, is authorized to advise the Commissioners on matters concerning the MSBU, specifically including the management and the needs of the area encompassed.
In our opinion, the responsibilities of the Advisory Board, although broad, are solely advisory in nature. In addition, apparently having no budget or authorized expenditures, the Advisory Board meets the budgetary tests set out in the definition of "advisory body." Finally, it does not appear that the Advisory Board has any land-planning, zoning, or natural resources responsibilities within the contemplation of Section 112.3145(1)(a)2, above.
Accordingly, we find that the members of the Buenaventura Lakes MSBU Advisory Board are not "local officers" and therefore are not required to file a Statement of Financial Interests (Commission on Ethics Form 1).