CEO 74-11 -- September 25, 1974
APPLICABILITY TO MEMBERS OF JUDICIAL
To: Ralph H. Martin, Attorney, Jacksonville
Prepared by: Gerald Knight
Under part III, Ch. 112, F. S., as amended by Chs. 74-176 and 74 177, Laws of Florida, and specifically s. 112.312(7), supra, only members of boards with solely advisory powers are exempted from the definition of the term "public officer" and thereby from financial disclosure requirements of Ch. 74-177. Members of judicial nominating commissions are empowered to nominate three persons to fill a judicial vacancy which the Governor is entitled to fill. The members of the commissions are not merely advising but are in effect limiting the Governor's options for appointment and are themselves an integral part of the judicial selection process. Therefore, a member of a judicial nominating commission is not merely an advisory board member but is a public officer within the purview of part III, Ch. 112, supra.
Do the financial disclosure requirements of Ch. 74 177, Laws of Florida, apply to the members of judicial nominating commissions?
"Public officer" or "officer," within the purview of part III, Ch. 112, F. S., as amended by Chs. 74-176 and 74-177, Laws of Florida, is defined in s. 112.312(7), supra, to include, inter alia,
(b) Members of boards, commissions, authorities, special taxing districts and the head of each state agency, however selected but excluding advisory board members. (Emphasis supplied.)
Judicial nominating commissions established pursuant to Art. V, s. 11, State Const., are charged with the responsibility of nominating not fewer than three persons to fill a vacancy in judicial office which is subject to appointment by the Governor. In making the appointment, the Governor must select one of the commission's nominees. (For other provisions relating to the membership and procedure of judicial nominating commissions, see Art. V, s. 20(c)(5) (7), State Const., and s. 43.29, F. S.)
Thus, it would appear that judicial nominating commissions are constitutionally created commissions which aid the Governor in filling those judicial vacancies which he is entitled to fill. In participating in this procedure, the members of judicial nominating commissions are giving the Governor more than advice. They are, in effect, limiting his options in making judicial appointments and themselves are an integral part of the judicial selection process. Therefore, we are of the opinion that a member of a judicial nominating commission is not an "advisory board member," but is a "public officer" or "officer" within the purview of part III, Ch. 112, supra.