CEO 99-12 -- September 8, 1999
AIRPORT AUTHORITY MEMBER VOTING ON AIRPORT
DEVELOPMENT AND LIVING NEAR AIRPORT
To: Mr. Ronald A. Soulard, Commissioner, Naples Airport Authority
A commissioner of an airport authority is subject to Section 112.3143, Florida Statutes, regarding measures concerning development (road realignment project and greenway project) affecting the quadrant of the authority=s airport that fronts his neighborhood. The size of the class of residences affected, including the commissioner=s, is such that the effect on the commissioner would be special. However, measures concerning development in the airport=s other three quadrants would not subject the commissioner to Section 112.3143. CEOs 78-27, 78-96, 85-17, 85-62, 87-95, 90-64, 96-12, and 98-17 are referenced.
Would measures concerning the quadrant of an airport located very near the neighborhood where you, an airport authority commissioner, reside (measures concerning an airport road realignment project and an airport greenway project) inure to your special private gain or loss such that you would be subject to the voting and Aparticipation@ provisions contained in Sections 112.3143(3)(a) and 112.3143(4), Florida Statutes?
This question is answered in the affirmative.
By your letter of inquiry and several other resources, we are advised that you serve as a member of the Naples Airport Authority, an appointed position, and that you reside in a neighborhood very near the Airport. In addition, we are advised that extension/ improvement/ realignment of an Airport road (ANorth Road@) is to occur soon and that a greenway is planned for the quadrant of the airport (west quadrant) fronting your neighborhood. Further, both you and the Airport=s Executive Director agree that the road extension and the greenway Amight directly impact [your] property.@
Section 112.3143, Florida Statutes, provides in relevant part:
No county, municipal, or other local public officer shall vote in an official capacity upon any measure which would inure to his or her special private gain or loss; which he or she knows would inure to the special private gain or loss of any principal by whom he or she is retained or to the parent organization or subsidiary of a corporate principal by which he or she is retained, other than an agency as defined in s. 112.312(2); or which he or she knows would inure to the special private gain or loss of a relative or business associate of the public officer. Such public officer shall, prior to the vote being taken, publicly state to the assembly the nature of the officer's interest in the matter from which he or she is abstaining from voting and, within 15 days after the vote occurs, disclose the nature of his or her interest as a public record in a memorandum filed with the person responsible for recording the minutes of the meeting, who shall incorporate the memorandum in the minutes. [Section 112.3143(3)(a), Florida Statutes.]
No appointed public officer shall participate in any matter which would inure to the officer's special private gain or loss; which the officer knows would inure to the special private gain or loss of any principal by whom he or she is retained or to the parent organization or subsidiary of a corporate principal by which he or she is retained; or which he or she knows would inure to the special private gain or loss of a relative or business associate of the public officer, without first disclosing the nature of his or her interest in the matter.
(a) Such disclosure, indicating the nature of the conflict, shall be made in a written memorandum filed with the person responsible for recording the minutes of the meeting, prior to the meeting in which consideration of the matter will take place, and shall be incorporated into the minutes. Any such memorandum shall become a public record upon filing, shall immediately be provided to the other members of the agency, and shall be read publicly at the next meeting held subsequent to the filing of this written memorandum.
(b) In the event that disclosure has not been made prior to the meeting or that any conflict is unknown prior to the meeting, the disclosure shall be made orally at the meeting when it becomes known that a conflict exists. A written memorandum disclosing the nature of the conflict shall then be filed within 15 days after the oral disclosure with the person responsible for recording the minutes of the meeting and shall be incorporated into the minutes of the meeting at which the oral disclosure was made. Any such memorandum shall become a public record upon filing, shall immediately be provided to the other members of the agency, and shall be read publicly at the next meeting held subsequent to the filing of this written memorandum.
(c) For purposes of this subsection, the term 'participate' means any attempt to influence the decision by oral or written communication, whether made by the officer or at the officer's direction. [Section 112.3143(4), Florida Statutes.]
These statutes would require your abstention from voting, declaration of interest, and filing of CE Form 8B (Memorandum of Voting Conflict) regarding measures which would inure to your special private gain or loss, including measures specially affecting you by virtue of your ownership of property in the neighborhood on the Airport=s west quadrant.
Under our longstanding precedent, we have often decided issues such as the one presented based upon the number of persons or properties similarly affected. See CEO 78-27, CEO 78-96, CEO 85-17, CEO 85-62, CEO 87-95, CEO 90-64, CEO 96-12, and CEO 98-17, among many others. In view of that precedent, and in view of your representation that only nineteen homes other than yours would be affected by west quadrant development, we find that you are required to declare your interest (owner of home in neighborhood bordering west quadrant of Airport), abstain from voting, and file CE Form 8B regarding the west quadrant measures (road extension and greenway measures), in order to comply with Section 112.3143(3)(a), and that before making any attempt to influence such measures, short of voting, you must comply with the Aparticipation@ requirements of Section 112.3143(4).
Accordingly, we find that the west quadrant measures would inure to your special gain or loss, thereby subjecting you to the requirements of Sections 112.3143(3)(a) and 112.3143(4), Florida Statutes.
Would measures affecting the north, east, and south quadrants of the Airport (quadrants not near your neighborhood) inure to your special private gain or loss such that you would be subject to the provisions of Section 112.3143 set forth above?
This question is answered in the negative.
Continuing, you and the Executive Director writing in your behalf advise that hangar development is anticipated for the north quadrant of the Airport; that in the east quadrant taxiway extension(s), landscaping and water management, and hangars are anticipated; and that in the south quadrant road improvement, hangars, a new maintenance facility, and potential expansion of the commercial terminal and rental car facilities are anticipated. You question whether these measures would specially affect you, thus subjecting you to Section 112.3143.
For the reasons stated below, we find that they would not.
Unlike the road extension/entranceway modification and the greenway discussed in Question 1, projects in quadrants other than the west quadrant would not be physically close to your property. Further, based on the maps that have been provided to us any effects from such projects, to the extent the same would reach beyond private properties contiguous to the north, east, or south quadrants, would not be special, in that the effects would extend to a large number of properties.
This question is answered accordingly.
ORDERED by the State of Florida Commission on Ethics meeting in public session on September 2, 1999 and RENDERED this 8th day of September, 1999.
Peter M. Dunbar, Chairman
Your letter dated June 3, 1999, and attachments; Airport Executive Director Theodore D. Soliday=s letter dated June 18, 1999, and attachments, responding to our staff=s letter dated June 15, 1999; your letter dated July 13, 1999, and attachment, responding to our staff=s letter dated July 2, 1999; and the contents of our complaint file in In re RONALD SOULARD, Commission on Ethics Complaint No. 98-204.
A neighborhood containing nineteen residences other than your own.
Even though the road to be extended is called ANorth Road@ and even though it currently is oriented to the Airport=s south quadrant, its extension (including the modification of the west quadrant entranceway) would affect the west quadrant (the quadrant near your neighborhood). Further, the greenway apparently would include a bikeway and a walkway.
For example, we are advised that your neighborhood is not in a flight path and that many City residents (presumably most often those in flight paths) are impacted by Airport noise.