CEO 87-62 -- July 30, 1987
APPLICABILITY OF DISCLOSURE LAW TO MAYOR (ST. PETERSBURG)
To: Mr. Robert L. Ulrich, Mayor, City of St. Petersburg
The Mayor of the City of St. Petersburg is a "local officer" subject to the requirement of filing a statement of financial interests under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes, even though he is also required to file full and public disclosure by a City ordinance.
Are you, the Mayor of the City of St. Petersburg, subject to the requirement of filing a statement of financial interests annually when you also file full and public disclosure as required by a City ordinance?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
The financial disclosure law requires each "local officer" to file a statement of financial interests (CE Form 1) no later than July 1 of each year. Section 112.3145(2)(b), Florida Statutes (1985). The term "local officer" is defined to include every person who is elected to office in a political subdivision of the state, as well as any person holding the position of mayor. Section 112.3145(1)(a)1 and 3, Florida Statutes (1985).
However, no person who is required "pursuant to" Article II, Section 8(a) of the State Constitution to file full and public disclosure (CE Form 6), and who has filed such disclosure, is required also to file a statement of financial interests. Section 112.3144(1), Florida Statutes (1985). The constitutional provision requires that
[a]ll elected constitutional officers and candidates for such offices and, as may be determined by law, other public officers, candidates, and employees shall file full and public disclosure of their financial interests.
A mayor of a city is not required to file under this subsection, as he does not hold an office created by or provided for in the Florida Constitution. Therefore, the answer to your question will turn on whether your position is one which has been "determined by law" to be required to file full and public disclosure. If it is not, then you have not been required "pursuant to" Article II, Section 8(a), to file full disclosure, and you have not been exempted by Section 112.3144(1), Florida Statutes, from having to file also a statement of financial interests.
City of St. Petersburg Ordinance 14 1/2 - 2 adopts Article II, Section 8, Florida Constitution, by reference. In particular, the ordinance requires all elected city officials to make full and public disclosure of their financial interests.
In our view, the phrase "as may be determined by law" contemplates an act of the Legislature and does not encompass a city ordinance. In the case of Myers v. Hawkins, 362 So.2d 926 (Fla. 1978), the Florida Supreme Court interpreted another subsection of the Sunshine Amendment in light of the primary purpose for which the provision had been adopted, after examining the terminology of the constitutional provision and the explanatory flyer which accompanied the Sunshine Amendment petition when it was circulated for placement on the ballot. The explanatory flyer referenced by the Supreme Court in Myers, entitled "An Explanation of the Sunshine Amendment," provides:
The cornerstone of the amendment is the provision requiring financial disclosure. Subsection (a) requires that all elected constitutional officers file full and public disclosure of their financial interests. The provision allows latitude for the legislature to determine any other public officers, candidates or public employees that will be required to file financial disclosure.
Additionally, we note that the court in Williams V. Smith, 360 So.2d 417 (Fla. 1978), in discussing a provision of the Sunshine Amendment, stated that the phrase "such manner as may be provided by law," required the Legislature to implement the mandate of the people.
Accordingly, we find that as the Mayor of the City of St. Petersburg, you are subject to the requirement of filing a statement of financial interests annually. We applaud the efforts of the City of St. Petersburg to provide by ordinance for the full and public disclosure of the financial interests of its local officers. We suggest that the anomaly created by the existing law would be a proper subject for resolution by the Legislature.