CEO 87-35 -- June 11, 1987
APPLICABILITY OF DISCLOSURE LAW TO CITY
MEMORIAL TREE COMMITTEE
To: Mr. Raymond A. Rea, City Attorney, City of Boynton Beach
The members of the Boynton Beach Memorial Tree Committee are not "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes. The Committee serves the City Parks and Recreation Department in solely an advisory capacity, funds for the purchase of trees are accumulated solely through outside donations, and it is the Parks and Recreation Department which oversees and implements the planting of the trees.
Are members of the Boynton Beach Memorial Tree Committee considered "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. The term "local officer" is defined to mean:
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)]
Section 112.312(1), Florida Statutes, defines the term "advisory body" as
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.
In your letter of inquiry you advise that the Boynton Beach Memorial Tree Committee is under the auspices of the City Parks and Recreation Department's Recreation and Park Advisory Board. In a telephone conversation with our staff, you advised that the Committee makes periodic reports to the Advisory Board on the species and planting location of trees purchased with donated funds. Any person or organization wishing to have a tree planted in memory of an individual may donate money to purchase a tree. These funds are placed in a special account of the City Finance Department, and payment for the trees is processed through the normal billing procedures of the City Purchasing Department. The Parks and Recreation Department's forester/horticulturist arranges for the purchase of all trees and processes the payment invoices. Once a total of $100 in donations is accumulated, a tree is scheduled to be planted. The Parks Division does the actual planting, so the only expense involved is for the purchase of the tree.
In our view, the Memorial Tree Committee operates as solely an advisory body. The Committee has no allocated budget; its funds come solely from outside donations. It does not have land-planning, zoning, or natural resource responsibilities. The Committee only votes on the species of the trees and the locations desired for the planting of the trees. The Parks and Recreation Department oversees and implements the program by handling the actual purchasing and planting of the trees.
Accordingly, we find that the members of the Boynton Beach Memorial Tree Committee are not "local officers" and therefore are not subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually.