CEO 75-159 -- August 6, 1975






To:      (Name withheld at the person's request.)


Prepared by:   Bonnie Johnson




Although a hospital may operate largely from contributions and from revenue generated by its operation, where county tax moneys are expended for capital outlay and building repairs such hospital's Board of Trustees is deemed to be a public body. The board's duties include the control and management of the property, affairs, and funds of the hospital, and therefore the board does not meet the advisory board exclusion of s. 112.312(7)(b), F. S. (1974 Supp.). Members of the Board of Trustees therefore are deemed to be public officers subject to financial disclosure.




Are members of the Board of Trustees of ____ Hospital public officers within the meaning of that term as used in part III, Ch. 112, F. S. (1974 Supp.), and therefore subject to disclosure provisions applicable to public officers?


Your question is answered in the affirmative.


The statutory definition of the term "public officer" includes, among others, "[m]embers of boards, commissions, authorities, special taxing districts, and the head of each state agency, however selected but excluding advisory board members." Section 112.312(7)(b), F. S. (1974 Supp.).

Although ____ Hospital is not a special taxing district, and although the hospital operates largely from contributions and from revenue generated by its day to day operations, you confirm in your letter dated June 17, 1975, that county tax moneys are utilized for capital expenditures and building repairs as well as for the operation of the hospital emergency room and prenatal clinic program. Moreover, the bylaws of ____ Hospital provide, in Art. I, s. 2, that the hospital "[b]oard of Trustees, being the governing Body, shall have charge, control and management of the property, affairs and funds of ____ Hospital . . . ." Members of the board select and appoint the hospital administrator and have authority to fill, by election, any vacancies occurring on the board.

The Board of Trustees has further responsibility for appointments to the medical staff, the assignment of duties to such staff, and the adoption of amendments to or repeal of rules and regulations governing the staff. Such authority clearly exceeds the merely advisory; rather, the board is regulatory and policymaking in nature.

We therefore are of the opinion that the members of the Board of Trustees of ____ Hospital are public officers pursuant to s. 112.312(7)(b), F. S., and thus are subject to disclosure provisions of part III, Ch. 112, F. S., as applicable to public officers.