2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 12 - CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES
CHAPTER 2 - DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
ARTICLE 1 - GENERAL PROVISIONS
§ 12-2-6 - Authority to arrange for and accept federal aid and cooperation; volunteer services; cooperation with other government entities and civic organizations; creation of nonprofit corporation
. Authority to arrange for and accept federal aid and cooperation; volunteer services; cooperation with other government entities and civic organizations; creation of nonprofit corporation
(a) In carrying out its objectives, the department is authorized to arrange for and accept such aid and cooperation from the several United States governmental bureaus and departments and from such other sources as may lend assistance.
(b) (1) The commissioner is authorized to accept without regard to the State Personnel Administration, laws, rules, or regulations, the services of individuals without compensation as volunteers for or in aid of environmental protection, coastal resources, historic preservation, interpretive functions, hunter safety and boating safety instruction, hunter safety and boating safety programs, wildlife management, recreation, visitor services, conservation measures and development, public education on conservation, and any other activities in and related to the objectives, powers, duties, and responsibilities of the department.
(2) The commissioner is authorized to provide for reimbursement of volunteers for incidental expenses such as transportation, uniforms, lodging, and subsistence. The commissioner is also authorized to provide general liability coverage and fidelity bond coverage for such volunteers while they are rendering service to or on behalf of the department.
(3) Except as otherwise provided in this Code section, a volunteer shall not be deemed to be a state employee and shall not be subject to the provisions of law relating to state employment, including, without limitation, those relating to hours of work, rates of compensation, leave, unemployment compensation, and state employee benefits.
(4) Volunteers performing work under the terms of this Code section may be authorized by the department to operate state owned vehicles. They may also be treated as employees of the state for the purposes of inclusion in any automobile liability insurance or self-insurance, general liability insurance or self-insurance, or fidelity bond coverage provided by the department for its employees while operating state owned vehicles.
(5) No volunteer shall be authorized or allowed to enter privately owned or operated lands, facilities, or properties without the express prior written permission of the owner or operator of such privately owned or operated lands, facilities, or properties; provided, however, such prohibition shall not apply to lands, facilities, or properties leased to the State of Georgia.
(c) The department shall have the power and authority to create, establish, and operate a program or programs to facilitate, amplify, or supplement the objectives and functions of the department through the use of volunteer services, including, but not limited to, the recruitment, training, and use of volunteers.
(d) The department is directed to cooperate with and coordinate its work with the work of each department of the federal government dealing with the same subject matters dealt with by the Department of Natural Resources. The department is authorized to cooperate with the counties of the state in any surveys to ascertain the natural resources of the counties. The department is also authorized to cooperate with the governing bodies of municipalities and boards of trade and other local civic organizations in examining and locating water supplies and in giving advice concerning and in recommending plans for other municipal improvements and enterprises. Such cooperation is to be conducted upon such terms as the department may direct.
(e) The department shall have the authority to participate with public and private groups, organizations, and businesses in joint advertising and promotional projects that promote environmental protection, coastal resource conservation, historic preservation, interpretive functions, hunter safety and boating safety instruction and programs, outdoor recreation, wildlife management, recreation, visitor services, conservation measures and development, public education on conservation and any other activities in and related to the objectives, powers, duties, and responsibilities of the department and that make efficient use of funds appropriated for advertising and promotions; provided, however, that nothing in this subsection shall be construed so as to authorize the department to grant any donation or gratuity.
(f) (1) The department shall have the power and authority to incorporate one nonprofit corporation that could qualify as a public foundation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code to aid the department in carrying out any of its powers and in accomplishing any of its purposes. Any nonprofit corporation created pursuant to this power shall be created pursuant to Chapter 3 of Title 14, the "Georgia Nonprofit Corporation Code," and the Secretary of State shall be authorized to accept such filing.
(2) Any nonprofit corporation created pursuant to this subsection shall be subject to the following provisions:
(A) In accordance with the Constitution of Georgia, no governmental functions or regulatory powers shall be conducted by any such nonprofit corporation;
(B) Upon dissolution of any such nonprofit corporation incorporated by the department, any assets shall revert to the department or to any successor to the department or, failing such succession, to the State of Georgia;
(C) No member of the Board of Natural Resources shall be an officer or director of any such nonprofit corporation;
(D) As used in this subparagraph, the term "direct employee costs" means salary, benefits, and travel expenses. To avoid the appearance of undue influence on regulatory functions by donors, no donations to any such nonprofit corporation from private sources shall be used for direct employee costs of the department;
(E) Any such nonprofit corporation shall be subject to all laws relating to open meetings and the inspection of public records;
(F) The department shall not be liable for the action or omission to act of any such nonprofit corporation;
(G) No debts, bonds, notes, or other obligations incurred by any such nonprofit corporation shall constitute an indebtedness or obligation of the State of Georgia nor shall any act of any such nonprofit corporation constitute or result in the creation of an indebtedness of the state. No holder or holders of any such bonds, notes, or other obligations shall ever have the right to compel any exercise of the taxing power of the state nor to enforce the payment thereof against the state; and
(H) Any nonprofit corporation created pursuant to this Code section shall not acquire or hold a fee simple interest in real property by any method, including but not limited to gift, purchase, condemnation, devise, court order, and exchange.
(3) Any nonprofit corporation created pursuant to this subsection shall make public and provide an annual report showing the identity of all donors and the amount each person or entity donated as well as all expenditures or other disposal of money or property donated. Such report shall be provided to the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the chairpersons of the House Committee on Natural Resources and Environment, the House Committee on Game, Fish, and Parks, and the Senate Natural Resources and the Environment Committee. Any such nonprofit corporation shall also provide such persons with a copy of all corporate filings with the federal Internal Revenue Service.
Graham Syfert - Jacksonville Lawyer