CEO 83-69 -- September 22, 1983
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS OF CITY GOLF COMMISSION
To: Mr. Kenneth M. Rubin, Assistant City Attorney, City of West Palm Beach
The members of the West Palm Beach Golf Commission are "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes, as the members are appointed to serve on the Commission by the Mayor, by the golf course membership, and by other members of the Commission, and as the Commission exercises powers which are not solely advisory. CEO 76-198 is overruled to the extent inconsistent with this opinion.
Are the members of the West Palm Beach Golf Commission "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
The financial disclosure law provides that each "local officer" shall file a statement of financial interests annually. Section 112.3145(2)(b), Florida Statutes (1981). The term "local officer" is defined in part as:
Every person who is elected to office in any political subdivision of the state, and every person who is appointed to fill a vacancy for an unexpired term in such an elective office. [Section 112.3145(1)(a)1, Florida Statutes (1981).]
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, Florida Statutes (1981).]
Under Section 21.90 of the West Palm Beach City Code, the Golf Commission is authorized to supervise and manage the municipal golf course, prescribe rules and regulations for the use of that facility, hire employees, make purchases, prescribe fees and charges, and supervise the collection and expenditure of funds from the operation of the golf course. Under Section 21.85 of the Code, two members of the Commission are appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the City Commission, two other members are elected by persons holding annual membership cards for the municipal golf course, and the remaining member is selected by the other four members.
In our view, the two members appointed by the Mayor clearly are appointed members of a commission of a political subdivision of the state, as is the one Commission member who is selected by the other four Commission members. In addition, we are of the opinion that the two Commission members selected by those persons holding annual memberships also are appointed members of the Golf Commission. Although these members are selected by a large body of persons, we do not believe that they have been "elected to office" in a political subdivision of the State, as are City Commission members, for example. The statute merely requires such an officer to have been appointed and makes no distinction on the basis of what person or group is authorized to make the appointment. Finally, we find that the powers and duties of the Golf Commission are not solely advisory, and therefore the Commission does not constitute an "advisory body" as defined in Section 112.312(1), Florida Statutes.
Accordingly, we find that members of the Golf Commission are "local officers" and consequently are required to file statements of financial interests as specified by Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes. To the extent that the rationale of CEO 76-198 differs from that expressed here, the previous opinion will not be controlling.