CEO 84-103 -- October 18, 1984
APPLICABILITY OF DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS OF COUNTY ELECTRICAL BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT, APPEALS AND EXAMINERS
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
The members of the Hillsborough County Electrical Board of Adjustment, Appeals and Examiners are "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests annually under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes, as the Board's responsibilities are not solely advisory. CEO's 74-34, 74-76, 76-25 and 77-50 are referenced.
Are you, a member of the Hillsborough County Electrical Board of Adjustment, Appeals and Examiners, a "local officer" subject to the requirement of filing a statement 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 as
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).]
The Hillsborough County Electrical Code, adopted by the County Commission in 1982, creates the Electrical Board of Adjustment, Appeals and Examiners, formerly known as the Electrical Contractors Examining Board. The Board consists of the Chief Electrical Inspector and five voting members, three of whom are required to be electrical contractors, one of whom is required to be an electrical engineer, and one of whom is required to be a representative of an electrical utility company. Electrical Code Section 80-111.1. Section 80-105.2 of the Code requires any person desiring to engage in the business or act in the capacity of an electrical contractor to have a certificate of competency. Under Section 80-111.4, the Board has the power to conduct examinations of applicants for certificates of competency or designate authorized testing services, to hear charges of violations of the Code against an electrical contractor, to impose disciplinary actions on a contractor found to have violated a provision of the Code, and to hear the appeal of any person aggrieved by a ruling or order of the Electrical Inspection Department.
We consistently have found that these powers are not "solely advisory." See CEO 74-34, CEO 74-76, CEO 76-25, and CEO 77-50. As the Board's powers are not solely advisory, the Board cannot be considered to be an "advisory body" exempt from the financial disclosure law.
Accordingly, we find that as a member of the Electrical Board of Adjustment, Appeals and Examiners, you are a "local officer" subject to the requirement of filing a statement of financial interests annually. Your inquiry expresses concern over the possibility of allegations of conflict of interest on the part of an electrical contractor serving on this Board. However, the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees specifically exempts conflicts of interest where, as here, the ordinance creating the Board requires certain of its members to practice in a particular profession or occupation. See CEO 76-14 for a further explanation.