Advisory Opinion No. 2000-44

Re: Joseph B. Sousa

QUESTION PRESENTED

The petitioner, an East Providence Recreation Board member, a municipal appointed position, requests an advisory opinion as to whether he is required by the Code of Ethics to file a Financial Disclosure Statement, given that the Recreation Board has not held a meeting in over two years.

RESPONSE

It is the opinion of the Rhode Island Ethics Commission that the Code of Ethics requires the petitioner, an East Providence Recreation Board member, a municipal appointed position, to file a Financial Disclosure Statement pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-16, despite the fact that the Recreation Board has not held a meeting in over two years.

The Code of Ethics requires all state and municipal elected and appointed officials to file annual financial statements with the Ethics Commission. See R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-16.

Members of many Commissions serve as volunteers or are not compensated for their public service; however, the General Assembly has deemed that if an official is appointed by the highest governing body of the state or municipality or for a term of office and exercises governmental functions other than in an advisory nature, the public official is required to file a personal financial statement pursuant to the Code of Ethics. See R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-2(9). Here, the petitioner received his appointment from the Town Council. Therefore, the petitioner is a “state or municipal appointed official” within the meaning of R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-4 or § 36-14-16, and is required to file a financial disclosure statement. Although the Recreation Board has not held a meeting in over two years, the Town has taken no official action to disband the Board. Accordingly, unless and until the Town takes action to formally disband the Board, the petitioner is required to file annual financial statements with the Ethics Commission.

Code Citations:

36-14-2(9)
36-14-4
36-14-16

Related Advisory Opinions:

2000-31
99-112
99-87
99-66
97-69
97-68
97-60

Keywords:

Financial disclosure