CEO 75-134 -- June 23, 1975
DISCLOSURE OF REPRESENTATIONS
PUBLIC OFFICER REQUIRED TO DISCLOSE REPRESENTATIONS AT SAME LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT BY ASSOCIATES IN HIS FIRM
To: Raymer F. Maguire, Board of Trustees, Valencia Community College, Orlando
Prepared by: Jeff Trammel
Pursuant to s. 112.3145(1)(c), F. S. (1974 Supp.), a public officer is required to disclose representations made by himself or by any member of his professional firm before agencies at the same level of government as his own agency. In the case of a community college board member, "same level of government" is deemed to apply to those agencies at the county level in those counties which the community college serves. As a public officer, such board member is required to disclose on CE Form 2 those representations made by himself or by any member of his firm before any agency of the counties which the college serves.
Am I, as a member of the Board of Trustees of Valencia Community College, required to disclose representations before all nonjudicial agencies at the state level made by associates of the law firm of which I am a member?
This question is answered in the negative.
Disclosure of representations before nonjudicial agencies is required by s. 112.3145(1)(c), F. S. (1974 Supp.), which states in part:
Any public officer or candidate who represents another before his own agency or any agency at the same level of government as his own agency, except in ministerial matters, for a fee or commission shall list the agencies before which he appears, and the name of the client whom he represented, in a quarterly report subsequent to such appearance. Representation before any agency shall be deemed to include representation by such public officer or candidate, or any partner or associate of the professional firm of which he is a member and of which he has knowledge. (Emphasis supplied.)
As a member of the Board of Trustees of Valencia Community College, you are clearly a public officer within the definition of s. 112.312(7)(b), F. S. Consequently, you are subject to the provisions of the above-stated statute and thus are required to disclose representations by yourself and by associates of your law firm in accordance with s. 112.3145(1)(c), supra.
For purposes of determining which agencies are at "the same level of government as [your] own agency," it should be noted that the intent of the Florida Legislature is that community colleges operate as a function of local government. See s. 230.7535, F. S. 1973. Valencia Community College serves students from Orange and Osceola Counties and is governed by a board of trustees comprised of members from these two counties. We are of the opinion that Valencia Community College's Board of Trustees corresponds most nearly to the county level of government. The state and regional levels are more removed from the essentially local administration of community colleges which the Legislature sought to effectuate.
It follows that you are not required to disclose representations made by yourself or members of your firm at the state level of government. However, you are required to disclose those made at the county level. Your disclosure must include representations by yourself and members of your firm made before agencies of Orange and Osceola Counties. See CEO 74-89A, question 3, in which we determined the phrase "same level of government" to apply to the political subdivision within which an officer serves. The disclosure of representations before agencies is to be made on CE Form 2, a copy of which is enclosed for your convenience.