CEO 74‑25 ‑‑ October 14, 1974
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW TO ORANGE
COUNTY SEWER AND WATER ADVISORY BOARD
To: Steven R. Bechtel, Attorney, Orlando
Prepared by: Gene L. "Hal" Johnson
Members of boards are included within the definition of the term "public officer" as found in part III, Ch. 112, F. S., as amended by Ch. 74‑177, Laws of Florida. Exclusion from this definition and the disclosure provisions applicable thereto is made only if the board is solely advisory in nature. As delineated in CEO 74‑05 and CEO 74‑22, any board having policymaking powers is not a solely advisory body. A resolution adopted February 8, 1972, by the Orange County Board of County Commissioners empowers the Orange County Sewer and Water Advisory Board to develop, operate, and maintain water and sewer systems and to develop and effect sewer and water development plans. While the board has advisory functions, it also exercises regulatory and decision‑making powers jointly with the county commission. Members of the Orange County Sewer and Water Advisory Board are thus public officers subject to the disclosure provisions required of public officers in part III, Ch. 112, supra.
Are members of the Orange County Sewer and Water Advisory Board within the meaning of the term "public officer" as defined in part III, Ch. 112, F.S., as amended by Ch. 74‑177, Laws of Florida?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
The term "public officer," as found in part III, Ch. 112, supra, is defined to include "[m]embers of boards . . . however selected but excluding advisory board members." Section 112.312(7)(b), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74‑177, supra. Since the members of the Orange County Sewer and Water Advisory Board are brought within the purview of the law as "members of boards," we must determine whether this board is advisory in nature and thus excluded from the application of the law to public officers.
It has been our position that if any nonadvisory function is legally delegated to, or exercised by, a board, even where such functions are secondary to the board's advisory function, that body cannot be classified as "advisory." See CEO 74‑05 and CEO 74‑22.
On February 8, 1972, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners adopted a resolution forming the Orange County Sewer and Water Advisory Board. This resolution states, inter alia, that the board's "responsibility shall be the development, operation and maintenance of an adequate water and sewer system or systems within this County." Continuing, the resolution states that the board shall "develop plans and take such actions as to effect adequate and orderly sewer and water developments. . . ." Later, in a second resolution, the board of county commissioners speaks of the advisory board's ability to "regulate and control" water systems.
While much of the power bestowed upon the board is subject to approval by the board of county commissioners, an analysis of its functions in toto must lead to the conclusion that, although the board may be predominantly advisory, it cannot be said that its functions are solely advisory. The board has been given powers to be exercised jointly with the county commission, and, as noted above, it is called upon to "regulate and control" and to "develop plans and take actions." These powers are not of an advisory nature.
We thus conclude that the Orange County Sewer and Water Advisory Board is not within the advisory board exclusion. Consequently, the members of the board are "public officers" within the meaning of part III, supra, and are therefore subject to those provisions of the code of ethics governing public officers.