CEO 20-2—March 11, 2020
PUBLIC OFFICERS; FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE
MAYOR EMERITUS OF THE CITY OF CAPE CANAVERAL
To: Anthony A. Garganese, Esq. (Cape Canaveral)
Under the circumstances presented, the Mayor Emeritus of the City of Cape Canaveral is a "public officer" subject to the requirements of Section 112.313, Florida Statutes, but is not a "local officer" required to file a statement of financial interests under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes.
Is the Mayor Emeritus of the City of Cape Canaveral a "public officer" subject to the standards of conduct contained within Section 112.313, Florida Statutes?
Under the particular circumstances presented, this question is answered in the affirmative.
According to your inquiry, former Mayor of the City of Cape Canaveral, Rocky Randels, completed his most recent term of as a member of the City Council in November 2019, after 31 years of serving the City in elective office. In recognition of his public service record, the City passed a resolution to offer Mr. Randels the title and position of Mayor Emeritus of the City of Cape Canaveral (Mayor Emeritus). According to the resolution, the position of Mayor Emeritus is an unpaid,1 volunteer position without benefits, except as provided below, and with certain duties and privileges, including: (1) serving as an advocate and good will ambassador for the City, (2) having access to the City email and Office 365 Cloud, (3) having access to City Hall with a new ID badge and business cards, (4) having access to the council's workroom and a computer, and, subject to proper appropriations and approvals, (5) receiving direct payment or reimbursement by the City of expenses related to the official approved duties of the position, such as approved memberships, events, meetings, meals, mileage, and lodging. The resolution specifies that the Mayor Emeritus is not a member of the City Council or any City boards and does not have authority to bind the City to any decision or contract. Lastly, the resolution states that the position shall automatically terminate if Mr. Randels announces his candidacy or qualifies to run for any elective office.
In addition to what is stated in the resolution, you inform us that the Mayor Emeritus will serve as the City's alternate voting member on the Space Coast League of Cities, an organization of regional municipalities promoting their mutual interests. You also inform us that the City's insurance carrier will extend workers' compensation insurance to Mr. Randels as an incident of his volunteer status with the City.
Section 112.313(1), Florida Statutes, defines "public officer" as "any person elected or appointed to hold office in any agency, including any person serving on an advisory body." An "agency" is defined in Section 112.312(2), Florida Statutes, as:
"any state, regional, county, local, or municipal government entity of this state, whether executive, judicial, or legislative; any department, division, bureau, commission, authority, or political subdivision of this state therein; any public school, community college, or state university; or any special district as defined in s. 189.012."
We find that any holder of the Mayor Emeritus position, as outlined in the City's resolution, is a "public officer" as that term is defined by Section 112.312(2). The City is an "agency" inasmuch as it is a political subdivision of the State.2 The position is an "office" inasmuch as it has been delegated the authority by a mechanism of law to publicly represent the City on certain matters as a goodwill ambassador and to advocate for the interests of the City and the authority to exercise these duties is assumed only though appointment by the City Council.
For the foregoing reasons, we find the Mayor Emeritus is a public officer for purposes of Section 112.313.
Your first question is answered accordingly.
Is the Mayor Emeritus a "local officer" required to file statements of financial interests under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes?
Under the particular circumstances presented, your question is answered in the negative.
Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes, requires "local officers," "state officers," and "specified state employees" to a statement of financial interests annually no later than July 1 each year, within 30 days of assuming public office or employment, and within 60 days of leaving their public position. There is no indication that Mr. Randels is a state officer or specified state employee by way of other employment or officeholding, so we need only concern ourselves with the question of whether he is a local officer.
Section 112.3145(1)(a), Florida Statutes defines a "local officer" as:
1. 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.
2. Any appointed member of any of the following boards, councils, commissions, authorities, or other bodies of any county, municipality, school district, independent special district, or other political subdivision of the state:
a. The governing body of the political subdivision, if appointed;
b. A community college or junior college district board of trustees;
c. A board having the power to enforce local code provisions;
d. A planning or zoning board, board of adjustment, board of appeals, community redevelopment agency board, or other board having the power to recommend, create, or modify land planning or zoning within the political subdivision, except for citizen advisory committees, technical coordinating committees, and such other groups who only have the power to make recommendations to planning or zoning boards;
e. A pension board or retirement board having the power to invest pension or retirement funds or the power to make a binding determination of one's entitlement to or amount of a pension or other retirement benefit; or
f. Any other appointed member of a local government board who is required to file a statement of financial interests by the appointing authority or the enabling legislation, ordinance, or resolution creating the board.
3. Any person holding one or more of the following positions: mayor; county or city manager; chief administrative employee of a county, municipality, or other political subdivision; county or municipal attorney; finance director of a county, municipality, or other political subdivision; chief county or municipal building code inspector; county or municipal water resources coordinator; county or municipal pollution control director; county or municipal environmental control director; county or municipal administrator, with power to grant or deny a land development permit; chief of police; fire chief; municipal clerk; district school superintendent; community college president; district medical examiner; or purchasing agent having the authority to make any purchase exceeding the threshold amount provided for in s. 287.017 for CATEGORY TWO, on behalf of any political subdivision of the state or any entity thereof.
Because the position of Mayor Emeritus is not an elective office or a member of one of the specified appointive boards, the position will not meet the specifications of Sections 112.3145(1)(a)1. and 2., Florida Statutes. The Mayor Emeritus position does not coincide with the positions listed in Section 112.3145(1)(a)3., Florida Statutes. Among the positions listed is "mayor," but the Mayor Emeritus is not a mayor and does not have any duties typically reserved for a mayor. Also, we assume from the context of the duties of the Mayor Emeritus that the holder of the position will have spending authority below the threshold amount provided in Section 287.017 for Category Two.3 In sum, we find that the Mayor Emeritus is not a "local officer" and, therefore, is not required by Section 112.3145 to file a statement of financial interests.
Your second question is answered accordingly.
ORDERED by the State of Florida Commission on Ethics meeting in public session on March 6, 2020, and RENDERED this 11th day of March, 2020.
Kimberly B. Rezanka, Chair
You inform us that Mr. Randels is eligible under law to receive a pension from the City due to his length of service. Mr. Randels invoked this benefit during his last term of office and waived the payments for the remainder of his term. You state that he is eligible to receive pension payments going forward and those pension payments would not constitute payment for his performance as Mayor Emeritus.
Section 1.01(8), Florida Statutes, defines "political subdivision," for purposes of interpreting the Florida Statutes, to include "counties, cities, towns, villages, special tax school districts, special road and bridge districts, bridge districts, and all other districts in this state."
That amount presently is set at $35,000.