CEO 84-71 -- August 9, 1984
APPLICABILITY OF DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS OF TOWN TENNIS BOARD
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
The members of the Town of Belleair Tennis Board are "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes, as the Board does not exercise only advisory powers.
Are the members of the Town of Belleair Tennis Board "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements 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 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).]
Resolution No. 80-11 of the Belleair Town Commission creates a Tennis Board consisting of eight members appointed by the Town Commission. The resolution gives the Board the responsibilities for establishing rules of play for the Town's tennis courts, of scheduling the times for general use of the courts and time blocks for use by specific groups, and of establishing a means to collect fees for the use of the courts. The Board also is authorized to make recommendations to the Town Commission on various subjects, to accept grants and gifts subject to the approval of the Commission, and to expend funds from fees collected with the concurrence of the City Manager for tennis related purposes. Fees for the use of the courts are established by the Town Commission.
If establishing rules, scheduling times, and establishing means to collect fees were done by the Town Recreation Department or by other Town officers or employees, with the advice of the Board, we easily would conclude that the Board's responsibilities are solely advisory. However, we are bound by the language adopted by the Legislature which for the past ten years we have interpreted as clearly providing that if a board's duties are not solely advisory, regardless of what those duties might be, the board's members are required to file financial disclosure. The responsibilities of the Tennis Board simply are not solely advisory. We are unable to interpret them as being otherwise, regardless of how much we might wish to in this case.
Accordingly, we find that the members of the Belleair Tennis Board are "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes.