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Here’s The Scoop … Talk About “Raining” On Their Parade …

May 12, 2010 by Barbara

BEWARE OF FRIENDS AND STRANGERS WEARING WIRES …

Dear Readers …for and hour and a half tonight most of the Town Boards and Commission attended the 2010 Sunshine Workshop to hear the pitfalls that may come their way as they serve the Town… Town Atty. Trevarthen gave them the rundown of  Florida’s Sunshine and Public Records Laws…She  held up her “Bible” found online from the Fl. Atty. General … http://www.myflsunshine.com/sun.nsf/sunmanual …..She peppered her information with commentary such as a violation can “turn on the facts of the situation”…”the right mindset”…”don’t rely on the rule of thumb”…The information presented this evening ” is designed to be a bit of a road map through the maze”… The information on the link (see above) makes for some “mind numbing minutia”…She added that if two members of a board meet in the hall or at Publix and the conversation tips to something that could possibly appear before them…it’s a meeting…and as such that meeting is taking place out of the sunshine… Board members should have an “artificial relationship”…or no contact at all…She stated zero contact is the safest…but the hardest to do in a small town…She covered other ways to communicate via e-mail/ facebook/ phone…direct or indirectly by engaging with constituents……She addressed the scope of subject matter as anything that can come before the Town…Next up was the consequences of “knowingly” violating sunshine…up to 60 days imprisonment and up to $500 dollars in…”unknowingly” breaking sunshine..non-criminal but still up to $500 in fines…and a possible removal from office by the Governor… It was refreshing to see the poerpoint did have the attorneys being provided under Town business related charges for Commissioners and Board Members…(prev. post)…On to Public Records…and a repeat of Trevarthen’s past comments on the subject (prev. posts)…heard by Readers when addressing the Brandt-McIntee-Dodd Public Records requests for e-mails debacle recently passed on by the State Atty’s office (prev. post)…In a nutshell all Town business is public record whether on private or Town e-mails..computers…etc…and all private non-Town business e-mails…correspondence is private no matter if it is received on Town  owned computers etc…After that she cited 3 public officials that have recently faced the “Honest Services Law”..which falls under the Mail Fraud Statute .. http://www.tulanelink.com/tulanelink/honestservices_09a.htm … explaining it is something Congress put forth to say a public official may not deprive the public of honest services…It was invalidated once and Trevarthen believes that will be the case again…but that Congress will come back yet again with another statute.. Also covered were the ethics for Local Officials with dealing with financial disclosure and gifts of over $100…along with conflicts of interest…. Atty. Trevarthen even spoke of a friend who wore a wire and the implication was…it could happen to you…Hmmm…Beware of friends and strangers wearing wires…GULP!….

The first question was from Peanuts Wick (newly re-appointed by Comm. Clottey fro a 3rd term on P&Z ) …He should have known the answers to the questions he asked and must have asked them to just hear his own voice… He asked if an e-mail from him or another person about him to the Town Manager was public record?…The answer was of course, yes… All e-mails from and to the Town state on the Town website (all towns/government sites) and on the e-mails themselves that they are subject to public record…He topped himself with doing a “Mcintee” (He did a McIntee twice …see below)…in his 2nd question by asking if restaurants who receive 1/2 price bills for their meals and then the restaurant wants something should be reported on… YIKES!…

MPSC member Sandra Booth asked about recording the board meetings…Trevarthen answered the Town is not obligated to provide recording or verbatim minutes…

BC- This Town is supposed to now keep the videoed meetings for MPSC ( prev. post- Co-Chair Edmund Malkoon May 5, 2010 meeting) and should do the same for P&Z/ BOA….

P & Z member Ben Freeny asked about a “conduit” between 2 elected officials… TAtty. Trevarthen answered that a person cannot tell what “A” is doing to “B” …A “conduit” is doing polling..not allowed…(But a constituent may speak to each Commissioner/Board member and tell of their plight or opinion without telling any feedback from the other elected/appointed members)…

Vice Mayor Dodd remarked that now that the new members were sufficiently scared from the presentation by Trevarthen..he would like her to address the high threshold  involved to find an act deliberate and the low number of Sunshine cases found … Trevarthen instead went on to speak of a colleague in Miami and the opinion of what might be in the future…

There was a question from the back that sounded to be from Frank Hermann about the $100 and why somebody would give an elected official $100…(I did not hear the reply…due to a waking granddaughter)… Hopefully, it was an equal stab at being humorous…

Quasi-Judicial Decision making was covered by Atty. James White…the process and the reasons for them…

The question again from P &Z member Peanuts Wick…was another “Mcintee” and was about a private property reverting back to the Town..as he alluded to the “Cul-De-Sac” property in the south end of Town that is now extended under the new state statute to allow for financial setbacks of property development(prev. post) after coming before the prior Commission…Atty. White being up on the situation replied he could not go into specifics because it is something that was and will be dealt with in a quasi-judicial forum…(much as was stated last night by TAtty. Trevarthen when the Commission began to discuss 101 N. Ocean’s shed situation prior to a hearing and notice given…

No more questions…the Sunshine Workshop was finished by 8:30pm……

more to come…

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Here’s The Scoop … May 12,2010 … LBTS Sunshine Workshop ….

May 12, 2010 by Barbara

IT’S IN THEIR HANDS NOW …

Dear Readers…At last night’s Comm. meeting the tally was that most of the newly appointed members to the Town Boards will be attending this evening’s workshop with the Commission…In light of this writer’s own brush with false accusations of Sunshine violations a few years back (2007)..I encourage all board members to attend and for all know they have “protection” from the Town via the FLOCities Attys. if need be…I also ask that you new members be smart …don’t let a “gotcha” happen to you by answering a “reply to all” e-mail which may include unknown recipients who are on the same board….that results in  orchestrated, trumped up charges against you and racking up time spent clearing the situation up while the the instigators watch from the sidelines with such glee…That is until it all plays out and you are vindicated in the fact that there was no violation in the first place!…Same goes for social situations… easier to “Talk to the hand” and politely get away from any encounter that might come back to bite you!… Tonight’s explanations will be much more professional and full of “legal-eze” but you all get the jest of it.. keep records, e-mails…..keep notes and watch your backs! ….

TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA

TOWN COMMISSION ROUNDTABLE MEETING

WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2010 / 7 PM – JARVIS HALL

AGENDA BACKUP DOCUMENTS

1. CALL TO ORDER, MAYOR ROSEANN MINNET

2. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG

3. ORIENTATION AND TRAINING FOR TOWN COMMISSION, COMMITTEE AND

BOARD MEMBERS -TOWN ATTORNEY

a. Sunshine Law – Chapter 286, Fla. Stat.; Article I, Section 24, Florida

Constitution

b. Public Records Law – Chapter 119, Fla. Stat.; Article I, Section 24, Florida

Constitution

c. Code of Ethics for Local Officials – Chapter 112, Part III, Fla. Stat.

1. Disclosure of Financial Interests and Gifts

2. Voting Conflicts of Interest and Section 286.012 Voting Requirement

d. Quasi-Judicial Decision making – Section 30-13, Town Code

4. ADJOURNMENT

more to come…

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