(1) In each county there is created a public body corporate and politic to be known as the “____ County Education Loan Authority.” Each such authority is constituted as a public instrumentality, and its exercise of the powers conferred by this act shall be deemed the performance of an essential public function. No authority shall transact any business or exercise any power pursuant to this act until the commission by ordinance or resolution declares that there is a need for an authority to function in such county.
(2) The commission may adopt such an ordinance or resolution of need if it finds that the youth of the county and state do not have the opportunity to attend institutions of higher learning located within the county because of their inability to obtain financing for the cost of such education and the inability of such institutions to provide adequate financial aid to their students.
(3) In any suit, action, or proceeding involving the validity or enforcement of or relating to any contract of the authority, the authority shall be conclusively deemed to have been established and authorized to transact business and exercise its powers hereunder upon proof of the adoption of an ordinance or resolution by the commission declaring the need for the authority. Such ordinance or resolution shall be sufficient if it declares that there is such a need for an authority in the county. A copy of such ordinance or resolution certified by the clerk shall be admissible in evidence in any suit, action, or proceeding.
(4) The ordinance or resolution shall designate five persons as members of the authority. The membership of the authority shall include:
(a) A trustee, director, officer, or employee of an institution located in such county.
(b) One lay citizen who does not derive a majority of his or her income from education or an education-related field.
(c) Two persons from the commercial financial community in the county, each of whom has a favorable reputation for skill, knowledge, and experience in the field of state and municipal finance.
(d) One person from the commercial financial community or educational community in the state who has a favorable reputation for skill, knowledge, and experience in the field of higher education loan finance.
(5) Of the members first appointed, one shall serve for 1 year, one for 2 years, one for 3 years, one for 4 years, and one for 5 years, in each case until his or her successor is appointed and has qualified. Thereafter, the commission shall appoint for terms of 5 years each members to succeed those whose terms will expire. The commission shall fill any vacancy for the unexpired portion of the term. Any member of the authority may be reappointed. Any member of the authority may be removed by the commission for misfeasance, malfeasance, or willful neglect of duty. Before entering upon his or her duties, each member of the authority shall take and subscribe to the oath or affirmation required by the State Constitution. A record of each such oath shall be filed with the Department of State and with the clerk.
(6) The authority shall annually elect one of its members as chair and one as vice chair and shall also appoint an executive director who shall not be a member of the authority and who shall serve at the pleasure of the authority and receive such compensation as fixed by the authority.
(7) The executive director shall keep a record of the proceedings of the authority and shall be custodian of all books, documents, and papers filed with the authority; the minute book or journal of the authority; and its official seal. The director may have copies made of all minutes and other records and documents of the authority and may give certificates under the official seal of the authority to the effect that such copies are true copies, and any person dealing with the authority may rely upon any such certificate.
(8) Three members of the authority shall constitute a quorum, and the affirmative vote of a majority of the members present at a meeting shall be necessary for any action to be taken; however, any action may be taken by an authority with the unanimous consent of all of the members. A vacancy in the membership of the authority shall not impair the right of a quorum to exercise the rights or perform the duties of the authority. The majority shall not include any member who has a conflict of interest, and a statement by a member of a conflict of interest is conclusive for this purpose. Any action taken by the authority under the provisions of this act may be authorized by resolution at any regular or special meeting. Each such resolution shall take effect immediately and need not be published or posted.
(9) The members of the authority shall receive no compensation for the performance of their duties, but each member, when engaged in the performance of such duties, shall be entitled to per diem and travel expenses as provided in s. 112.061.
(10) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, it shall not be, nor shall it constitute, a conflict of interest for a trustee, director, officer, or employee of an institution to serve as a member of the authority.