CEO 84-82 -- August 9, 1984
APPLICABILITY OF DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS OF CITY R/UDAT TASK FORCE
To: Mr. Richard J. Taylor, City Attorney, City of Sarasota
The members of the City of Sarasota R/UDAT Task Force are not "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes. The Task Force performed a solely advisory role and did not have land planning responsibilities. CEO's 81-16, 82-84 and 84-54 are referenced.
Are the members of the City of Sarasota R/UDAT Task Force "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 in May of 1983 the City of Sarasota received an offer from the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects to make available through its national organization a team of inter-disciplinary professionals who would survey key urban areas of the City and provide the City with a study concerning how the City might provide for future growth and development in these areas in order to maximize the beauty, atmosphere, heritage and special character of the City. As a result, the City did support a study by a regional/urban design assistance team (R/UDAT), which resulted in the preparation of a written report. Following acceptance of the R/UDAT Report, the city commission established a R/UDAT Task Force consisting of citizens and representatives of community organizations in order to analyze the R/UDAT report and to make specific recommendations back to the Commission. The Task Force received $40,000 from the City, an amount which is less than one percent of the City's budget. In April of 1984, the city commission received the R/UDAT Task Force's critique and referred the subject to the planning board and planning staff for public workshops and recommendations. That ended the work of the Task Force.
We conclude that the Task Force clearly served a "solely advisory" function and met the budgetary restrictions of an "advisory body," as defined above. While the Task Force made many recommendations concerning future land use in the City, it played no formal role in any type of process relating to land planning and its recommendations cannot be considered a condition precedent to final government action in land planning matters. The Task Force simply was created to review and critique the R/UDAT study and to make recommendations to the City regarding the implementation of the R/UDAT recommendations. Therefore, we find that the Task Force did not have land planning responsibilities within the intent of the financial disclosure law. See previous opinions CEO 81-16, CEO 82-84, and CEO 84-54 for applications of this rationale to boards with responsibilities touching on natural resources.
Accordingly, we find that the members of the City of Sarasota R/UDAT Task Force are not "local officers" and therefore are not subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually.