CEO 80-67 -- September 19, 1980






To:      Robert Bruce Snow, Hernando County Attorney, Brooksville


Prepared by: Phil Claypool




A county personnel board, whose responsibilities include taking final action in grievance review proceedings, does not meet the definition of "advisory body" contained in s. 112.312(1), F. S. Accordingly, members of the board constitute "local officers" under s. 112.3145(1)(a)2., subject to the annual filing of financial disclosure. Section 112.3145(2)(b).




Are the members of the Hernando County Personnel 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 within 30 days from the date of appointment and annually thereafter. Section 112.3145(2)(b), F. S. The term "local officer" is defined to mean:


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, "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 Hernando County Personnel Board is composed of five members appointed by the Hernando County Commission. You advise that the board has the following duties: to advise the county commission and director of personnel on matters relating to trends in personnel management; to act as a grievance review committee to conduct hearings and submit its findings and recommendations, if any, to the county commission; to conduct any inquiry the board may consider desirable in the attainment of the objective of the personnel program and make recommendations to the county commission and the director of personnel concerning its findings; and to make suggestions to the county commission and the director of personnel for personnel policy changes which will improve employee morale and welfare. It is clear that, with respect to the majority of listed duties, the personnel board functions in a solely advisory capacity to the county commission and the director of personnel.

With respect to the board's function in the grievance review process, you advised our staff in a telephone conversation that, in matters other than issues of policy, the decision of the board is final, with the board not merely making a recommendation to the county commission for its action. However, you advised, if a party to a grievance matter so wishes, he may file an appeal to the county commission. Nevertheless, it is our opinion that the personnel board does not act in a solely advisory capacity, but rather is authorized to determine county employees' rights, duties, and obligations. See CEO 76-141, in which we advised that a municipal personnel board with similar responsibilities did not serve a solely advisory function.

Accordingly, we find that the members of the Hernando County Personnel Board are "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing financial disclosure annually.