CEO 80-62 -- September 19, 1980
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ADVISORY COUNCIL
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS
To: Stephen Albee III, Director, Division of Economic Development, Department of Commerce, Tallahassee
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
Based on its responsibilities as set forth in s. 20.17(4)(b), F. S., the Economic Development Advisory Council of the Division of Economic Development, Department of Commerce, is deemed to constitute an "advisory body" within the definition of that term contained in s. 112.312(1) of the Code of Ethics. Accordingly, members of the council do not constitute "state officers" subject to the annual filing of financial disclosure. Section 112.3145, F. S.
Are the members of the Economic Development Advisory Council of the Division of Economic Development, Department of Commerce, "state officers" subject to the requirement of filing financial disclosure annually?
Your question is answered in the negative.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides that each "state officer" shall file a statement of financial interests annually. Section 112.3145(2)(b), F. S. The term "state officer" is defined to include:
An 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.]
In turn, "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 Economic Development Advisory Council of the Division of Economic Development, Department of Commerce, was created pursuant to s. 20.17(4), F. S. Under that section, the council consists of 19 persons who are or have been actively engaged in industry or a related business area, appointed by the director of the division with the consent of the Secretary of Commerce. It is the statutory responsibility of the council to "function as a body from which the secretary may obtain differing and varying views as to what actions or proposals are needed throughout the state regarding economic development." Section 20.17(4)(b), F. S. In addition, the council is required to meet no less than quarterly to offer its views on economic development and to recommend proposed actions. Finally, in a telephone conversation with our staff, the department's general counsel advised that the council has no budget and that the expenses of its members are paid by the department.
Accordingly, we find that the council is an "advisory body" as defined by the Code of Ethics; therefore, its members are not "state officers" subject to the requirement of filing a statement of financial interests annually. Please note, however, that even members of advisory bodies are public officers for purposes of the standards of conduct contained in the Code of Ethics. Section 112.313(1), F. S. Members of the Economic Development Advisory Council should comply with s. 112.313(9), which requires the filing of a disclosure of specified business interests in certain instances. The form prescribed for complying with this disclosure, CE Form 3, Disclosure of Specified Business Interests, is available from our office.