CEO 77-35 -- March 9, 1977
FEDERAL PROGRAMS MONITORING/COMPLIANCE COMMITTEE
APPLICABILITY OF DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Bonnie Johnson
For purposes of financial disclosure, the term "local officer" is defined to include a member of any board other than an advisory body, but it is stipulated that boards whose responsibilities are in the areas of land planning, zoning, or natural resources are not deemed to be advisory. Section 112.3145(1)(a)2., F. S. 1975. The term "advisory body" is further defined, in part, as a board which is solely advisory. A federal programs monitoring/compliance committee of a county, which is charged with overseeing programs and projects which are federally funded, is solely advisory to the board of county commissioners. Although the committee monitors some programs relating to land planning, zoning, or natural resources, its particular duties are restricted to ascertaining that funds are being spent in compliance with federal law. Accordingly, the committee is deemed to constitute an advisory body, and its members thus do not constitute local officers subject to the annual filing of financial disclosure.
Are members of my county's federal programs monitoring/compliance committee local officers subject to the annual filing of financial disclosure?
This question is answered in the negative.
You advise in your letter of inquiry that in August of 1975 the board of county commissioners approved the establishment of a federal programs monitoring/compliance committee to provide the board with continuing input relative to whether the county's federally funded programs are proceeding in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and contractual agreements. Prior to the board's agreeing to fund projects, or prior to releasing funds in payment, the committee reviews each program or project via evaluations of the activities of the county departments receiving the federal moneys and makes recommendations to the board, which may act upon the recommendation as it chooses. The committee is comprised of a standing committee and an ad hoc committee which generally meet and work together. The ad hoc committee is supportive to the standing committee in that the former is composed of members having special knowledge of various program areas.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees requires that each local officer annually file a statement of financial interests. Section 112.3145(2)(b), F. S. 1975. The term "local officer" is defined to include
[a]ny appointed member of a board, commission, authority, community college district board of trustees, or council of any political subdivision of the state, excluding any member of an advisory body. A governmental body with land-planning, zoning, or natural resources responsibilities shall not be considered an advisory body. [Section 112.3145(1)(a)2., F. S. 1975.]
The Code of Ethics further defines "advisory body" to mean
any board, commission, committee, council, or authority, however selected, whose total budget, appropriations, or authorized expenditures constitute less than 1 percent of the budget of each agency it serves or $100,000, whichever is less, and whose powers, jurisdiction, and authority are solely advisory and do not include the final determination or adjudication of any personal or property rights, duties, or obligations, other than those relating to its internal operations. [Section 112.312(1), F. S. (1976 Supp.).]
You have assured our staff that the committee meets the budget requirements contained in the above definition, and it is clear from your description of the committee's duties that it is solely advisory. And, although the committee monitors some programs relating to land planning, zoning, or natural resources, the committee's responsibilities are not related substantively to the content of such programs but are restricted to ascertaining that program funds are being spent for the proper purpose and in the proper manner.
Accordingly, the subject federal programs monitoring/compliance committee is deemed to constitute an advisory body for purposes of the financial disclosure law. Its members therefore are not local officers subject to the annual disclosure of financial interests.