CEO 86-72 -- September 17, 1986
APPLICABILITY OF DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS OF COUNTY PARENTAL HOME COMMISSION
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
The members of the Orange County Parental Home Commission are "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes. As the Commission acts as trustee for all gifts donated to the home, its responsibilities are not solely advisory.
Are the members of the Orange County Parental Home Commission "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 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
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 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).]
By ordinance, the County has created a five member Commission composed of two circuit judges, a county commissioner, and two residents of the County appointed by the Board of County Commissioners. The Commission is to act as trustee for all gifts donated to the Orange County Parental Home which are to be used only for the specific benefit of the children living there.
In our view, the Commission does not qualify as an "advisory body," as its powers are not solely advisory. Trustees are granted broad powers by statute. See Section 737.402, Florida Statutes. In addition, a trustee by implication has all the authority necessary to carry out the purposes of a trust, subject to limiting provisions in the trust instrument. 56 Fla. Jur. 2d Trusts, Section 43.
This is consistent with our previous opinions. In CEO 76-121 we advised that members of a city board of bond trustees were required to file financial disclosure, and in CEO 80-54 we advised that police and firefighters pension board members were subject to the financial disclosure law. In contrast, the members of municipal finance advisory committees having the authority only to make recommendations on budgetary and finance matters have not been required to file financial disclosure statements. See CEO 78-68 and CEO 77-153.
Accordingly, we find that the members of the Orange County Parental Home Commission are "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes.