CEO 80-54 -- September 19, 1980
CITY PENSION BOARD
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS
To: James T. Schoenbrod, Assistant City Attorney, Hallandale
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
For purposes of the filing of financial disclosure annually under s. 112.3145(2)(b), F. S., the term "local officer" is defined to include each appointed member of a collegial body other than a member of an advisory body. Section 112.3145(1)(a)2. Appointed members of a municipal pension board which fails to meet the definition of "advisory body" contained in s. 112.312(1) therefore are deemed to constitute local officers subject to disclosure even though the appointment of some of those members is by police and fire department personnel. Based on the definitions of "appoint" and "appointment" found in Black's Law Dictionary (5th Rev. ed.), there is no indication that an appointment must be made by a single individual or by a collegial body. In the instant case the police and fire department personnel have been granted the authority by ordinance to designate members of the pension board, and designation by vote of such personnel is deemed to constitute "appointment" to the board.
Are the members of the City of Hallandale Police Officers and Firefighters Pension Board "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing a statement of financial interests annually?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides that each "local officer" shall file a statement of financial interests annually. Section 112.3145(2)(b), F. S. 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.]
In turn, the term "advisory body" is defined 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.]
In your letter of inquiry, you advise that the Police Officers and Firefighters Pension Board of the City of Hallandale was created by ordinance to administer the provisions of a retirement plan for municipal police officers and firemen, a responsibility requiring decisions concerning investments, entitlement to benefits, and other decisions having financial and economic ramifications. In our view, these responsibilities are not solely advisory; consequently, the pension board is not an "advisory body." See CEO 76-89. Further, you advise that the pension plan ordinance provides that the pension board is to be composed of the mayor of the city, certain named officials of the police and fire departments, two persons appointed by the city commission, and persons elected to the board by police department and fire department personnel. In a telephone conversation with our staff, you advised that the officials named in the ordinance are the fire chief and the police chief of the city.
The mayor, fire chief, and police chief are "local officers" by virtue of the positions they hold -- the mayor as an elected official under s. 112.3145(1)(a)1., F. S., and the fire chief and police chief as officials specifically named in s. 112.3145(1)(a)3. The two board members appointed by the city commission also are "local officers," since they are appointed members of a nonadvisory board of the city under s. 112.3145(1)(a)2. Thus, the remaining question is whether the persons who serve on the pension board because of their selection by police and fire department personnel are "local officers." We are of the opinion that these persons are appointed members of the pension board, although the method of their appointment is more unusual than that of the other members, and therefore are also "local officers" under s. 112.3145(1)(a)2.
Black's Law Dictionary (5th Rev. ed.) defines "appoint" as
[t]o designate, ordain, prescribe, constitute, or nominate. To allot or set apart. To assign authority to a particular use, task, position, or office[,]
and defines "appointment" as
[t]he designation of a person, by the person or persons having authority therefor, to discharge the duties of some office or trust.
Neither of these definitions indicates that an appointment must be made by a single individual or by a small body which has the authority to designate particular persons to serve in a public capacity. In the present situation, the city's police and fire department personnel have been granted the authority by ordinance to designate members of the pension board. The fact that the process of designation is carried out by vote of the personnel does not indicate that the process is not one of appointment; appointments by the city commission presumably also are made by vote of the members of that body.
Accordingly, we find that the members of the City of Hallandale Police Officers and Firefighters Pension Board are "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing a statement of financial interests annually as provided in s. 112.3145, F. S.