CEO 81-71 -- October 29, 1981






To:      The Honorable Earl Rich, Clerk of Courts, Highlands County




Reference is made to CEO's 75-147, 76-146, 77-89, 78-36, and 80-43. A deputy clerk of court who is empowered to authorize purchases exceeding $100 constitutes a "purchasing agent" under Section 112.3145(1)(a)3., Florida Statutes. As such, a deputy clerk is a "local officer" required to file financial disclosure annually.




Is a Deputy Clerk of the Circuit Court who serves as a department supervisor within the Clerk's office and who has authority to purchase supplies over $100 in amount a "local officer" subject to the requirement 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 a statement of financial interests annually. Section 112.3145(2)(b), Florida Statutes (1979). The term "local officer" is defined to include


a purchasing agent having the authority to make any purchase exceeding $100 for any political subdivision of the state or any entity thereof. [Section 112.3145(1)(a)3., Florida Statutes (1979).]


In your letter of inquiry you advise that Deputy Clerks of the Circuit Court, who serve as supervisors of the several departments under your responsibility as Clerk of Courts, have the authority to purchase supplies with no limit on the amount spent.

In previous opinions we have advised that the term "local officer" encompasses any local public officer or employee who is authorized to make purchases exceeding $100 for his or her local government entity. See CEO 75-147, CEO 76-146, CEO 77-89, CEO 78-36, and CEO 80-43, copies of which are enclosed. Such public officers or employees were found to be "local officers" regardless of whether the title of their positions was "purchasing agent."

Accordingly, we find that employees of the Office of the Clerk of Circuit Court having the authority to purchase supplies without limitation on the amount spent are "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing financial disclosure annually.