CEO 78-60 -- September 8, 1978
COMMISSIONER OF DEEDS
APPLICABILITY OF STATUTORY FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW
To: Peter H. Leavy, Commissioner of Deeds, Miami
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
As an appointed commissioner of deeds is not a member of a board or commission having statewide jurisdiction or of a board or commission of any political subdivision, he does not constitute either a "state officer" or a "local officer" within the terms of s. 112.3145(1)(c)2. or s. 112.3145(1)(a)2., F. S. 1977. Accordingly, he is not subject to the annual filing of financial disclosure under s. 112.3145(2)(b), F. S.
Is a commissioner of deeds either a "state officer" or "local officer" subject to the requirement of filing financial disclosure annually?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry, you advise that recently the Governor appointed you as a commissioner of deeds pursuant to Ch. 118, F. S. Section 118.01, F. S. 1977, provides as follows:
Appointment and power to take acknowledgments. -- The Governor may name, appoint and commission one or more commissioners in each of such of the states and territories of the United States, the District of Columbia, and in any foreign country, as he may deem expedient; and such commissioner shall continue in office for 4 years, and shall have authority to take the acknowledgment and proof of the execution of any deed, mortgage or other conveyance of any lands, tenements or hereditaments lying or being in this state, and any contract, letter of attorney, or any other writing under seal to be used or recorded in this state, and such acknowledgment or proof taken or made in the manner directed by the laws of this state and certified by any one of the said commissioners before whom the same shall be taken or made under his seal, which certificate shall be endorsed on or annexed to said deed or instrument aforesaid, shall have the same force and effect, and be as good and available in law for all purposes, as if the same had been made or taken before the proper officer of this state.
In addition, each commissioner of deeds is authorized to administer oaths or affidavits. Section 118.02, F. S. 1977.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides that each "local officer" and each "state officer" shall file a statement of financial interests annually. Section 112.3145(2)(b), F. S. 1977. 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. 1977.]
Similarly, the term "state officer" is defined to include:
Any appointed member of each board, commission, authority, or council having statewide jurisdiction, excluding a member of an advisory body. [Section 112.3145(1)(c)2., F. S. 1977.]
As a commissioner of deeds is not an appointed member of a board or commission of any political subdivision of the state or of a board or commission having statewide jurisdiction, it appears that the Legislature did not intend to include commissioners of deeds within the class of public officers who are required to file financial disclosure. Accordingly, we find that a commissioner of deeds is not a "state officer" or a "local officer," and therefore you are not subject to the requirement of filing financial disclosure annually.