CEO 83-1 -- January 27, 1983
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAND MANAGEMENT STUDY COMMITTEE
To: Mr. Robert C. Apgar, Executive Director, Environmental Land Management Study Committee
The members of the Environmental Land Management Study Committee are "state officers" subject to the annual filing of financial disclosure pursuant to Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes. Although the powers and duties of the Committee are solely advisory, the Committee fails to meet the budgetary tests contained in the definition of "advisory body" [Section 112.312(1), Florida Statutes], as the Committee's budget is not less than $100,000.
Are the members of the Environmental Land Management Study Committee "state officers" subject to the annual filing of financial disclosure pursuant to Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
Section 112.3145(2)(b), Florida Statutes, requires that each "state officer" file a statement of financial interests annually on or before July 15. The term "state officer" is defined to include
[a]n 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, Florida Statutes (1981).]
An "advisory body" further is defined in Section 112.312(1), Florida Statutes, 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.
In your letter of inquiry you advised that by Executive Order 82- 95 the Governor has created the Environmental Land Management Study Committee to review growth management legislation to balance environmental protection and economic concerns. Committee members are appointed by the Governor and serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The Committee is to review all Florida resource and growth management programs governed by and related to Chapter 380, Florida Statutes, and is to make recommendations for improvements in these programs, on the needs for State participation in land and water resource management, and when and to what extent the State should participate. No later than February 15, 1983, the Committee is to provide to the Governor a written report of specific legislative recommendations regarding budgetary needs of State agencies for effective land and water resource management, and such other recommendations as the Committee feels necessary for immediate improvements to existing programs. By February 15, 1984, the Committee is to provide a written report to the Governor on its final recommendations for specific legislation to improve land and water management programs.
You advise that administrative support is provided by the Department of Community Affairs. The Committee has a total cash budget of $100,000, authorized by amendment to the Department's current budget, from a $195,000 grant from the federal Office of Coastal Zone Management. These federal funds are provided to the Department to support the Committee and two other State projects. In addition, as part of the requirements of the grant, the Department provides two full-time agency employees to work on a federally supported program other than the Committee's program.
We are of the opinion that the powers and authority of the Committee 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 operation. However, we find that the Committee fails to meet the budgetary test contained in the definition of "advisory body" as the Committee's budget is $100,000.
In a telephone conversation with our staff, a member of the Governor's staff advised that the budget of the Office of the Governor for the current fiscal year is $14,600,000. Although the Committee's budget is less than one percent of this amount, it is not less than $100,000. In light of the clarity of the language used by the Legislature, we are of the opinion that any body with a budget of $100,000 or more cannot constitute an "advisory body" for purposes of the financial disclosure law.
Accordingly, we find that the members of the Environmental Land Management Study Committee are "state officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests after appointment and annually thereafter in accordance with Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes.