CEO 84-69 -- August 9, 1984
APPLICABILITY OF DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS OF CITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON EMPLOYMENT
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
The members of the City of Lakeland Advisory Committee on Employment are not "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes, as the Committee serves a solely advisory function.
Are the members of the City of Lakeland Advisory Committee on Employment "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually?
Your question is answered in the negative.
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 (1983). 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, Florida Statutes (1983).]
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), Florida Statutes (1983).]
In your letter of inquiry you advise that members of the City of Lakeland Advisory Committee on Employment are appointed to serve by the City's Mayor-Commissioner. You also advise that the Committee was established in the middle 1960's as a response to racial tensions in the City in order to advise the City Commission and City Administration on matters relating to minority employment conditions and to make suggestions as to how local government could enhance or advance minority hiring in the City. At the time, no resolution or ordinance of the City Commission and no other document setting forth the duties and responsibilities of the Committee was promulgated.
As the Committee evolved and began making recommendations, the City Commission decided that a vehicle was needed to implement those suggestions. In the early 1970's administrative staff were hired to administer programs recommended by the Committee and approved by the City Manager. The staff, which presently consists of three full-time employees, are employees of the City under the direct control of the City Manager. The staff and the City also are served by a community relations specialist who receives a fee for consulting services. The staff and the community relations specialist serve as members of the Committee.
The Committee, as opposed to the staff, has no budget and no authority to adopt rules and regulations. The Committee's authority continues to be that of advising the City and the staff on matters relating to employment in the area. Recommendations of the Committee may be ignored by the staff, but may be implemented upon approval of the City Manager. The Committee in no way adjudicates or otherwise determines the rights, duties, or responsibilities of any person. The City Administration retains sole discretion to implement the programs recommended by the Committee.
In our view, the Advisory Committee on Employment meets the test of an "advisory body," as it has no budget and possesses only advisory authority. Accordingly, we find that the members of the Advisory Committee on Employment are not "local officers" and therefore are not subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually.