CEO 78-4 -- January 19, 1978
COUNTY METROPOLITAN PLANNING ORGANIZATION ADVISORY COMMITTEES
APPLICABILITY OF STATUTORY FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS
To: Gerald L. Knight, Broward County Assistant General Counsel, Fort Lauderdale
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
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 an appointed member of a board of any political subdivision, excluding any member of an advisory body. Section 112.3145(1)(a)2. That statute further provides, however, that "[a] governmental body with land planning, zoning, or natural resources responsibilities shall not be considered an advisory body." Accordingly, although the responsibilities of certain advisory committees to a county metropolitan planning organization are primarily advisory, such responsibilities lie in the general area of land planning. The committees therefore do not constitute advisory bodies for purposes of disclosure, and committee members are deemed to be local officers subject to the financial disclosure requirements of s. 112.3145.
Are the members of the Technical Coordinating Committee and of the Citizens Advisory Committee of the Broward County Metropolitan Planning Organization "local officers" for the purposes of filing financial disclosure annually?
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; emphasis supplied.]
In turn, an "advisory body" is defined as
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. 1975.]
Reading the above two statutory provisions in conjunction, we have interpreted the term "local officer" to include members of advisory bodies where those bodies had land planning, zoning or natural resources responsibilities. See CEO 76-156, a copy of which is enclosed. See also CEO 77-18, wherein we found specially created districts to constitute political subdivisions for purposes of the Code of Ethics.
The interlocal agreement which creates the Broward County Metropolitan Planning Organization (BCMPO) specifies that it shall carry out the urban transportation planning process required by the federal Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964, as amended, and federal regulations promulgated under the act. As you advise in your letter of inquiry, the primary function of the BCMPO is to coordinate local transportation planning efforts in order to qualify for federal funding of local transportation projects. Clearly, although the BCMPO is not a land planning board, it has "land-planning responsibilities" within the contemplation of s. 112.3145(1)(a)2., quoted above.
The Technical Coordinating Committee (TCC) of the BCMPO is composed of technical personnel in the Broward County area and, as described in the policy manual of the BCMPO, is responsible for coordinating transportation planning and programming; for reviewing all transportation studies, reports, plans and programs; and for making recommendations to the BCMPO that are pertinent to the subject document. The Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) of the BCMPO is composed of representatives from area civic groups and, as set forth in the policy manual, is responsible for preparing a "Statement of Concern" regarding general plan proposals and specific projects designed to implement plans; for determining the effect of a plan or project upon the various segments of the population; and for making recommendations and findings to the BCMPO regarding plans or projects that appear to be harmful or detrimental to segments of the population.
Accordingly, although the responsibilities of the TCC and the CAC are primarily advisory, they do lie in the general area of land planning, and we therefore find that the members of the Technical Coordinating Committee and of the Citizens Advisory Committee of the Broward County Metropolitan Planning Organization are "local officers" subject to the financial disclosure requirements of s. 112.3145, F. S.