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Do you know how much your city commissioner still owes on his or her home? Or how many rental properties they own and how much income those yield? Do you know which stocks your mayor owns, or how much money is in their checking account and 401(k)? 

Floridians soon will have access to these and other details about the mayors and elected city officials in their cities, towns and villages.

Enacted Jan. 1, a new Florida elections law that touts increased transparency expands the state’s full financial disclosure requirements to include elected mayors and city commissioners, who were previously subject to less detailed financial reporting.

Now, mayors and city commissioners, as well as candidates for those offices, must file what’s known as Form 6 with the Florida Commission on Ethics by July 1. 

Florida’s county- and state-level elected officials and candidates have been subject to the Form 6 requirement for decades, but many city-level politicians have dubbed the new requirement “invasive” and “onerous” for local offices, many of which pay less than $10,000 per year. 

The new law has prompted scores of mayors and city council members across the state to resign or decline to seek reelection, including 15 officials in Pinellas County and more than a dozen in the Tampa Bay area, according to reports from NewsChannel 8 in Tampa.

As of Jan. 9, no elected official in the Florida Keys had resigned over the new Form 6 requirement, but Key West City Commissioner Sam Kaufman, who will be term-limited out this year, told the Keys Weekly, “the resignations are understandable.”

Kaufman will have to file Form 6F — a “final” version of the form for officials leaving office — by July 1 despite not seeking reelection; he recently watched a webinar about the new requirement.

“Form 6 is tough,” he said. “I have a feeling a lot of officials don’t yet know what they’re in for. Some may not comply fully with its requirements, hoping no one looks too closely — until someone with an ax to grind complains to the Commission on Ethics. Personally, I don’t have any fear or worries about disclosing, but I can see how some people don’t want others to know what businesses they’ve invested in, or how heavily.”

Jimmy Weekley, a longtime Key West city commissioner, former mayor and business owner, agreed, telling the Keys Weekly on Jan. 9, “As a business person, do I want my employees to know my net worth and all those details?”

Florida State Rep. Spencer Roach, who championed the new law, told NewsChannel 8 that the annual salary of the elected office was not the issue, but rather the millions of dollars in taxpayer money that these local officials control.

“Officials who are making procurement decisions, that are letting out millions, in some cases billions, of dollars of contracts using taxpayer money. This way the public knows whether they have a financial interest in the companies they’re using taxpayer dollars to do business with.”

Monroe County Supervisor of Elections Joyce Griffin has sent emails to incumbent elected officials in Key West, Marathon, Layton, Key Colony Beach and the Village of Islamorada, alerting them to the new requirements and the July 1 deadline.

“If they were in office on Dec. 31, 2023, they have to file Form 6,” Griffin said. “Even if they quit now, they have to file the Form 6F – the final version.”

According to the Florida Commission on Ethics, candidates must file Form 6 at the time of qualifying, which in Monroe County occurs in June. Incumbent officials must file annually by July 1. Those who don’t file Form 6 by Sept. 3 will be fined $25 for each day it’s late, up to $1,500. Failure to file could also result in removal from public office, disqualification from being on the ballot, or a civil penalty up to $10,000.

Mandy Miles
Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.