CEO 77-185 -- December 14, 1977






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


Prepared by:   Phil Claypool




In accordance with a previous advisory opinion, CEO 76-61, members of a citizens advisory committee to a regional planning council constitute local officers under s. 112.3145(1)(a)2., F. S., and therefore are subject to the annual filing of statements of financial disclosure. Section 112.3145(2)(b), F. S.




Will the members of a citizen's advisory committee to the Northeast Florida Regional Planning Council be "local officers" for purposes of filing financial disclosure?


Your question is answered in the affirmative.


The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides that each "local officer" shall file financial disclosure annually. Section 112.3145(2)(b), F. S. 1975. The term "local officer" is defined to include:


Any 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.]


In turn, "advisory body" is defined as


any board, commission, committee, council, or authority, however selected, whose 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. 1975.]


Thus, the appointed members of a local or regional governmental body are local officers unless that body constitutes an "advisory body"; however, if the body has land planning, zoning, or natural resources responsibilities, it may not be considered an advisory body even though its function is solely advisory.

In your letter of inquiry you advise that the Northeast Florida Regional Planning Council, in order to obtain a financial assistance grant for comprehensive planning in a seven-county area, is required to provide an opportunity for citizen participation. To satisfy this requirement the council will be appointing 35 to 40 citizens of the area to serve on a citizen's advisory committee (CAC). According to Mr. R. Daniel Castle, the executive director of the council, the CAC basically will perform the function of providing citizen review and comment on the land use and housing elements of the comprehensive plan which will be formulated by the council.

In accordance with a previous opinion, CEO 76-61, in which we found that the Coastal Zone Citizens Advisory Committee to the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council did not constitute an "advisory body" because of its land planning responsibilities, we find that the CAC may not constitute an "advisory body" despite its advisory function because of its responsibilities in the area of land planning. Accordingly, we find that the members of the Citizen's Advisory Committee to the Northeast Florida Regional Planning Council are "local officers" for purposes of filing financial disclosure annually. Therefore, the members of the CAC are required to file part I of CE Form 1 and are required to file CE Forms 2, 3, and 4 if they have the interests sought by such forms.