By Kevin Deutsch
The Coral Springs City Commission passed a resolution this month opposing legislation requiring local officials to file more extensive financial disclosures, arguing the proposed law “may deter people from running for offices within the city.”
Senate Bill 510, filed by Florida Senator Jason Brodeur, would force elected officials in Florida municipalities to file a full annual disclosure of their financial interests, rather than the currently required limited disclosure.
On Feb. 16, the commission’s resolution 2022-010 passed unanimously and adopted states that “Broward County has already imposed stricter financial disclosure requirements on all elected officials in Broward than what is currently provided for in State law.”
“The State should not impose even stricter requirements on municipal elected officials, but instead should respect the home-rule authority of municipalities, under which they can impose additional financial disclosure requirements if it is the will of its voters,” the resolution states.
If the proposed legislation becomes law, all mayors, commissioners, and other local elected officials in Florida, along with city managers, would be required to file a Form 6 financial disclosure form with the Florida Commission on Ethics, rather than the more limited Form 1 they now file annually.
Brodeur’s bill, which has an accompanying bill in the Florida House of Representatives, unanimously cleared the Senate Community Affairs Committee in January.
In a written statement, Lynne Martzall, the director of communications and marketing for Coral Springs, called Brodeur’s bill “overreaching and intrusive.”
“The process currently in place, which identifies financial interests (Form 1) along with the governance of the Broward Office of the Inspector General, provides oversight, training, and financial reporting, while protecting the privacy of municipal leaders,” Martzall said. “This Bill is another example of the state not respecting home-rule authority.”
According to the Florida Constitution, the full financial disclosure elected officials would have to file if the bill becomes law includes a “sworn statement showing net worth and identifying each asset and liability in excess of $1,000 of its value.”
Officials would also have to file a copy of their most recent federal income tax return, or, alternatively, a sworn statement declaring every source of income of more than $1,000, as well as the amount earned from each of those income sources.
The pending legislation is supported by the Florida Commission on Ethics, among other good government groups.
Brodeur’s bill must still clear the Senate Rules Committee before reaching the Senate floor.
The accompanying House version has been referred to three separate committees for review.
If the legislation passes, the Coral Springs resolution argues, “it may deter people from running for offices within the city… the City Commission believes it is in the best interest of the residents of the City of Coral Springs to oppose Senate Bill 510.”
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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