CEO 74-36 -- November 1, 1974






To:      Mrs. Luis Cubillas, Chairperson, North Miami Library Board


Prepared by: Patricia Butler




The definition of "public officer" as stated in s. 112.312(7)(b), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida, excludes only members of boards with solely advisory powers. Sections 167.29-167.39, F. S. 1953, and s. 167.30, F. S. 1953, as incorporated into the Code of the City of North Miami, 316-19 (1949), empower the municipal library board to purchase or lease grounds, appoint staff and fix compensation rates, establish library regulations, and erect or lease buildings. The North Miami board is thus a policymaking board whose members are public officers subject to disclosure provisions of part III, Ch. 112, F. S., applicable to public officers.




Is a member of the North Miami Library Board a public officer within the meaning of part III, Ch. 112, F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida, and therefore subject to the disclosure provisions of this law relating to public officers?


Your question is answered in the affirmative.


The term "public officer" is defined to include "[m]embers of boards, commissions, authorities, special taxing districts, and the head of each state agency, however selected but excluding advisory board members." (Emphasis supplied.) Section 112.312(7)(b), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, supra.

The broad language of this definition indicates that all board members are within the definition of the term "public officer" unless the board is advisory in nature. It has been determined by the Ethics Commission that an advisory board is one whose powers are solely advisory. See CEO 74-18.

The power of a city or town to establish public libraries is mandated in ss. 167.29-167.39, F. S. 1953. Included in these subsections is the procedure for creating a library board and the responsibilities of such a board. The duties of a library board include the following:


The library board may purchase or lease grounds; erect, lease or occupy an appropriate building or buildings for the use of such library; appoint a suitable librarian and assistants; fix their compensation, and remove their appointments at pleasure; establish regulations for the government of such library as may be deemed necessary . . . . [Section 167.32, F. S. 1953.]


As stated in s. 167.30, F. S. 1953, the library board also has "exclusive control of expenditures of all moneys collected or donated to the credit of the library fund. . . ."

This chapter of the Florida Statutes was subsequently repealed by the Municipal Home Rule Powers Act, Ch. 73-129, Laws of Florida. However, prior to repeal, the City of North Miami substantially incorporated the foregoing sections of Ch. 167 in the Code of the City of North Miami, 316-19 (1949):


The provisions of sections 167.30, 167.32, 167.33, 167.34, and 167.35 of the Florida Statutes are hereby adopted as if set forth herein in haec verba, as they relate to the manner of election of the members of the board of directors and their powers, duties and functions; provided however that each director elected to the board shall give bond in the sum of one thousand dollars ($1,000) before assuming office.


The term "in haec verba" means "in these words" or "in the same words." Therefore, by using this term, the text of said sections of Ch. 167, as written, are incorporated into the Code of the City of North Miami.

The board, having such powers as previously stated, is not advisory in nature but has a binding, policymaking function. As a member of the North Miami Library Board, we must conclude that you are within the definition of "public officer" for purposes of disclosure under this act.