July 11, 1972
RE: Applicability of Chapter 287, FS to SWFWMD
The answer to the question presented necessarily involves
a determination as to whether or not SWFWMD falls within the
definition of "agency" as set out in 287.012. This section
defines agency to mean, "any of the various state officers,
departments, boards, commissions, divisions, bureaus, councils
and any other unit of organization however designated."
Strictly speaking, SWFWMD doesn't fall into any of these categories.
Additionally, 287.032 states that the purpose of the Division
of Purchasing is to "promote efficiency and economy. in the
purchase of commodities for the state." While SWFWMD is in a
sense a creature of the state, the above wording does not suggest
r that one of the purposes of 287 is the regulation of such a
unique public corporation as SWFWMD.
Some vight is given to this last statement when it is remembered
that the only state funds received by SWFWMD are through the
Water Resources Development Account, for the purpose of acquiring
land. The district pays its own bills; they are not paid by the
State Comptroller, as is the case with most state agencies.
You should be aware however, that Forbes Pioneer Boat Line v.
Board of Comm. 77 Fla. 742, 82 So 346 (1919), held that the
Everglades drainage was a public corporation, and, as such, a
governmental agency of the state "for certain definite purposes..."
The question presented in the case was that of tort liability,
but the reasoning could logically be extended.
Thus, while it seems desirable that SWFWMD regulate itself
by Chapter 287, it is not in my opinion, required to do so.