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Sunshine Workshop

What an improvement!

First class set up by the Town staff…

everything from the printed agenda… the pamphlet from the new town legal firm…the seating…and …the new Town Attorney…

It was attended by the commission…town staff members…board members from all boards newly appointed…and a few residents…

Sunshine was answered …..as follows…

Sunshine Law…..

public meetings…what constitutes a meeting….

2 or more members …. who sit on the same board…talking about something that might come before them….

a memo between 2 members……emails…or a “shuttle” between letting each know what the other thinks…polling….

anyone on a decision making/ advisory board / or commission ad hoc …

notice must be given on the Sunshine board…24 hours notice…

2 general exceptions… (shade sessions)…

1. collective bargaining …labor issues…

2. presently pending litigation….

Surprisingly….

a member can…. use 1 way communication…

call another member …and say their opinion…by prefacing that the recipient can not respond…

also email another member…and preface that the recipient is not to respond….

Vice Mayor….asked about the walk around committee…with sunshine…

Town Attorney…yes they are under sunshine…

Comm. Dodd….asked for an opinion for a commissioner to express their opinion at a public civic organization meeting with other commissioners in attendance…

Town Attorney…it must be published on the sunshine board for the commission to speak in this fashion…

The Mayor…. asked if Sunshine happens before taking office…

Town Attorney answered for a commissioner…it happens after elected and before swearing in…but not the same for board members…

Public records documents…

emails…letters…anonymous letters… are public record…

travel itineraries…appointment calendars….are public record…

the exception…medical records…

request for public records must be produced in a timely manner…

as soon as reasonably possible/ reasonably recoverable…

Vice Mayor…asks about town hall procedure of currently disposing any anonymous mail….

Town Attorney…answered…he is uncomfortable with that….do not discard..

Subpoenas ….

when received …have a time requirement …to respond before a default…

insurance coverage….

If the town is sued… the Mayor, Vice Mayor, commission may be served…

I asked about the scenario of what should have taken place with a board member being served… sued…

This Town Attorney replied very differently the the ex- Town Attorney…

He said that each board has an attorney sitting with them…and that attorney represents them!

An insurance policy is in place with League of Cities and should immediately be contacted…

the coverage is arguable on paying …..but representation would be forthcoming…

Board Members rights…

targets for lawsuits….statutes provide defenses…

Vice Mayor…appointees have the right to call the Town Attorney…

Gifts and ethics……

cannot accept anything over $100 dollars from a lobbyist or PAC

quarterly reporting required…

under $100 does not need to be reported… is acceptable

no one can buy your vote…

exception…gifts from family members..

misuse of office…not to do something that would stop a person from what they ordinarily would do…using your position…

disclosure of information…

a commissioner can not buy items from another commissioner…

conflicts on interest…..

no hiring of relatives…

voting conflicts…Florida law prevents a member from abstaining from a vote…

a conflict must be stated publicly and a form must be filled out…

if a member stands to gain or lose financially….it is a conflict

contractual agreements…

I asked about voting as a commissioner for the VFD when a commissioner is also a VFD member…

it is a question I have been asked repeatedly…due to the constant questioning of the previous Vice Mayor when he voted on the BSO contracts…being employed by the BSO and possibly receiving financial gain from the BSO…

In no way was I insinuating any wrongdoing…

I was relaying a question being asked by residents…so we do not make the same mistake …if the ex-Town Attorney was wrong on this important decision also….

Town Attorney…answered he would need more information before responding…

I ask that those answers be forthcoming to put the minds of the concerned residents at ease…

meeting was adjourned…

Note: I was very impressed with the new Town Attorney…Dan Abbott…he was knowledgeable, friendly, approachable… and in giving out his phone numbers and email address …..accessible…to all….

quite a change… a great move in the right direction!

This should be the norm at the beginning of each new appointment to future commissions and boards…

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