CEO 75-198 -- November 5, 1975
DIRECTOR OF PLANNING AND ZONING DEPARTMENT
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW
To: Kermit H. Lewin, Director, Monroe County Planning and Zoning Department, Key West
Prepared by: Gene Rhodes
The revised financial disclosure law, which takes effect on January 1, 1976, provides that a county or city administrator with power to grant or deny a land development permit is a local officer subject to financial disclosure. A director of a county planning and zoning department with responsibility for certifying that zoning is proper for a development's intended purpose is deemed to have the power to deny a permit by failing to pass on zoning. Such director therefore is deemed to be a local officer for purposes of financial disclosure.
Am I, as director of a county planning and zoning department, subject to the financial disclosure requirements of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees?
Your letter of inquiry advises us that you are not a member of the planning board, the zoning board, or any other county board. Rather, you serve as Director of the Monroe County Planning and Zoning Department, an administrative position with responsibility for certifying that zoning is proper for a development's intended purpose. Such certification is granted, you inform us, in accordance with zoning laws as established by the county zoning board.
Your public position and above-stated responsibilities are not of a nature to require you to file a statement of financial disclosure under the current law. However, a recent revision of the law, which goes into effect on January 1, 1976, will require that you file. That revision provides that "local officers" file statements of disclosure, subsequently defining the term "local officer" to include:
Any person holding one or more of the following positions by whatever title, including persons appointed to act directly in such capacity, but excluding assistants and deputies unless specifically named herein: . . . county or city administrator with power to grant or deny a land development permit . . . or a purchasing agent having the authority to make any purchase exceeding $100 for any political subdivision of the state or any entity thereof. [Section 112.3145(1)(a)3., F. S., as amended by Ch. 75-196, Laws of Florida.]
The granting or denying of a land development permit depends, at least in part, upon your decision as to whether the zoning specifications are met by a proposed development seeking certification. By failing to grant such certification, you effectively deny a permit for the development. It is our view that the above-quoted section was intended to include those public employees exercising the type of decision-making authority which you possess. Accordingly, you will be required to file a statement of financial disclosure on or before noon, July 15, 1976, the deadline for filing in 1976.
We would like to point out that the present disclosure law defines the term "public officer" to include "[p]urchasing agents for any agency or persons having the power normally conferred to purchasing agents by whatever title." Section 112.312(7)(j), F. S. (1974 Supp.). Should your employment encompass such purchasing authority, you are deemed to be a public officer currently and therefore are subject to financial disclosure.