CEO 87-38 -- June 11, 1987
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW TO
MEMBERS OF COUNTY LAW LIBRARY COMMITTEE
To: Mr. David W. Wilcox, Chairman, Manatee County Law Library Committee, Bradenton
The members of the Manatee County Law Library Committee are "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually, as their duties as committee members are not solely advisory. CEO's 75-143 and 76-158 are referenced.
Are the members of the Manatee County Law Library Committee "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. The term "local officer" is defined to include:
Any appointed member of a board, commission, authority, 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).]
"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 Manatee County Law Library Committee was established pursuant to Chapter 61-2455, Laws of Florida. The Committee is composed of practicing attorneys and judges from the 12th Judicial Circuit. You further advise that the annual budget of the Committee does not exceed $100,000 or 1 percent of the budget of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Manatee County. You question whether the Committee's budgetary position may exempt the Committee from the requirement of financial disclosure.
The exemption to the requirement of financial disclosure under Section 112.312(1), Florida Statutes, for an advisory body requires not only a meeting of budgetary tests, but also meeting the requirement that the body have "solely advisory" powers. In previous advisory opinions of this Commission, the classification of law library trustees as "local officers" subject to financial disclosure requirements turned on the duties of the boards.
For example, in CEO 75-143 the county law library board of trustees was found to have duties "solely advisory" in nature and therefore was determined to be exempt from the requirement of financial disclosure. The board's duties consisted of the maintenance and acquisition of legal volumes and the submission of purchase recommendations to the county commission, which had the final authority to acquire such materials. In contrast to that opinion, CEO 76-158 found members of a county law library board of trustees to be "local officers" subject to financial disclosure requirements. There, the board supervised, managed, and controlled the operation of the library. We found that such powers were not "solely advisory." See also CEO 85-43.
Here, the Manatee County Law Library has the sole and absolute authority to select the law books, periodicals, and services which are purchased from the County Law Library Fund. The Committee purchases all law books, legal periodicals, and services from the County Law Library Fund and conducts, manages, and makes all policy decisions and rules for the Manatee County Law Library. Chapter 79- 506, Section 3, Laws of Florida. We find that these duties cannot be considered "solely advisory" in nature. Therefore, we are of the opinion that the Committee members are "local officers."
Accordingly, we find that members of the Manatee County Law Library Committee are subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually.