CEO 76-158 -- September 13, 1976
COUNTY LAW LIBRARY
APPLICABILITY OF DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS OF BOARD OF TRUSTEES
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Gene Rhodes
Florida Statute s. 112.313(1)(1975) defines the term "advisory body" in part as any board whose authorized expenditures constitute less than $100,000 and whose powers, jurisdiction, and authority are solely advisory. Where the total budget of a county law library exceeds $100,000, and where its board of trustees supervises, manages, and controls the operation of the library, said board does not constitute an advisory body for purposes of the disclosure law. Accordingly, its members constitute local officers pursuant to s. 112.3145(1)(a)2. and thus are subject to the annual filing of financial disclosure. Fla. Stat. s. 112.3145(2)(b)(1975).
Are members of the board of trustees of a county law library local officers and, therefore, required to file statements of financial interests?
This question is answered in the affirmative.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees requires that each local officer file a statement of financial interests on an annual basis. Fla. Stat. s. 112.3145(2)(b)(1975). The term "local officer" is defined to include:
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. [Fla. Stat. s. 112.3145(1)(a)2.(1975).]
The Florida Statutes define the term "political subdivision" to mean, in part, any district in this state. Fla. Stat. s. 1.01(9)(1975). For our purposes, a judicial circuit constitutes a district. Accordingly, the trustees are local officers unless the board can be deemed advisory within the meaning of the Code of Ethics.
The term "advisory body" has been defined by a statute which took effect subsequent to our issuance of CEO 75-143 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. [Fla. Stat. s. 112.313(1)(1975).]
Your letter of inquiry advises us that the total budget of the county law library exceeds $100,000. The board of trustees is actually the agency head, and as such is part of the same agency that includes the two library branches located within two cities in the district. Accordingly, your agency's budget exceeds $100,000 and the board, therefore, does not meet the financial requirements for an advisory body cited above.
Furthermore, the board's duties are not solely advisory, as the library is under the supervision, management, and control of the board. (Administrative Order of the Judges of the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Florida, January 16, 1950.) This administrative order gives to the board the full power and authority to procure, conduct, manage, install, operate, and maintain the libraries and to adopt and enforce appropriate rules for the use of such facilities. The trustees also have the power to purchase and to contract for the purchase of library furniture, equipment, books, and other legal documents and aids. The trustees employ librarians for the operation of the library and may do all things and commit all acts necessary, wise, or expedient in acquiring and properly maintaining and operating the libraries. Obviously, these powers and duties are not solely advisory, and we therefore find the board not to be an advisory body for purposes of the financial disclosure law.
Consequently, members of the board of trustees of the subject law library are deemed to be local officers required to file financial disclosure statements on an annual basis.