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Why Is Sunshine So Tricky?

Online today a question of Sunshine having to do with a “secret” pizza night and a group of politicians….Palm Beach Blog….

As in previous posts…this is Sunshine week/ I was accused along with another Planning and Zoning Board member of breaking Sunshine….it was bogus and dropped…

In the throes of dealing with this accusation…a little Google research…a call to the Tallahassee Sunshine/ Ethics expert…… attorneys and politicians…only to find Sunshine on the most part is an accusation…that causes anxiety, finger pointing, despair for some weak of heart, legal fees and then it is over ….because it is rarely Sunshine after all!

It is ever so tricky to say what is potentially Sunshine…as in the article…pizza night…Sunshine?…in the eye of the beholder…to the inquisitor …just might be…seems suspicious…to the participants…no way!

The group involved say they are socializing…talking about topics…that do not border on that constitutes Sunshine.

Our former commissioners …it has long been said had a regular poker night…were in many groups together outside of the commission…

Our current commission….have 2 that are VFD… 4 that belong to the same civic organization…and some that like the old commission are social friends as well.

We have to assume they are well aware of Sunshine and do their darnedest to carefully consider everything that is being discussed when together.

Sometimes it seems arbitrary when Sunshine is preemptively addressed, case in point …this week…Commissioners Clottey and Dodd are volunteering to head up the July 4th festivities… in previous post….and they were told they needed to publish their meeting 48 hours in advance so they would not be breaking Sunshine.

Commissioner Dodd being only a few weeks into his term…and assuming that a reservation made through town hall… within the allotted 48 hours for Jarvis Hall to meet with Commissioner Clottey would suffice to meet the required criteria….was informed immediately before the 4 pm appointment that he had not called all the departments needed in the town to fully carry out this meeting!

Therefor…he was unable to meet with Commissioner Clottey and get these time sensitive decisions made.

In fact after the meeting which did not include Commissioner Clottey…the commissioners were informed that a written request for such a meeting will be required a week in advance to use Jarvis Hall.

Deep breath everyone…maybe the first thing our new Town Attorney will need is a Sunshine expert on call 24/7 to arbitrate what constitutes Sunshine…

How is meeting about an event for the town…a possible Sunshine violation?

I do not recall meetings published for the former Commissioner who was in charge of the 4th over the past few years?

Why not just offer the service of a town employee to sit in…as done with groups such as the defunct Walk Around Committee?

After Sunshine Week is over…and the Tallahassee League of Cities sponsored Sunshine seminars next month….will there be any more clarity on the subject of what is Sunshine?

Probably not……

UPDATE: a meeting this morning at Town Hall…the new Mayor was sure it was breaking Sunshine to discuss zip codes with Ron Klein staffers…..she was advised by the staffers…it was not….need I say more?

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