CEO 94-46 -- December 1, 1994
APPLICABILITY OF DISCLOSURE LAW TO ATTORNEYS
VOLUNTARILY SERVING AS ASSISTANTS TO STATE ATTORNEY
To: Mr. Ben Daniel, Assistant State Attorney (Miami)
Attorneys who participate in a volunteer program developed by the state attorney's office, who are neither compensated nor expected to exercise all of the responsibilities normally required of an assistant state attorney, are not "specified state employees" required to file financial disclosure pursuant to Section 112.3145(1)(b)1, Florida Statutes. CEO 88-30 is referenced.
Are attorneys who volunteer to serve as assistants with the state attorney's office subject to the financial disclosure requirements of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry and through discussions with our staff we are advised that the State Attorney's Office for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit is contemplating developing a program to encourage attorneys in private practice to volunteer their services on an occasional basis to the State Attorney's Office. These attorneys, although they would be required to take an oath, would not be considered "assistant state attorneys" pursuant to Section 27.181, Florida Statutes. Instead, they are appointed under the authority of Section 27.18, Florida Statutes, which permits state attorneys to "procure the assistance of any member of the bar when the amount of state business renders it necessary. . . ." These volunteers would not be compensated for their services or receive any benefits of employment, you advise, and the duties they would perform for the State Attorney would be ministerial in nature, confined to representing the State at depositions and certain limited hearings, and participating in the office's training programs.
Under Section 112.3145(1)(b)1, Florida Statutes, a "specified state employee" required to file financial disclosure includes:
Public counsel created by chapter 350, an assistant state attorney, an assistant public defender, a full-time state employee who serves as counsel to any state agency, a judge of compensation claims, or a hearing officer.
In our view, these volunteers are not "assistant state attorneys" and, therefore, are not required to file financial disclosure. In CEO 88-30, we were asked to determine whether the Code of Ethics was applicable to members of the Highway Patrol Auxiliary, and we determined that those auxiliary officers were neither public officers nor public employees because they were not compensated and had no arrest powers. Similarly, in the situation you have described, the attorneys who volunteer to serve as assistants to the State Attorney's Office will not be compensated, and the duties they fulfill will be of a limited, prescribed nature. Therefore, we conclude that these assistants are not required to file financial disclosure pursuant to Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes.
Your question is answered accordingly.