Monday, July 1, 2013

The Attack on Commissioner Readey

At last Wednesday's workshop meeting, Mayor Brooks briefly discussed the council meeting he illegally cancelled last month. He stated that there had been violations of the law, leading those in attendance to believe that the Mayor was going to show some sign of contrition, or least acknowledge his violation of the law.

We could not have been more wrong. Instead of acknowledging that he had illegally cancelled last month's meeting, Mayor Brooks instead proceeded to attack Commissioner Harvey Readey for inquiring about the meeting cancellation. As you probably know, Commissioner Readey has been the only Council member in recent history to challenge Mayor Brooks' plans and questionable methods of accomplishing them.

Soon after learning of the last-minute meeting cancellation, Commissioner Readey emailed Mayor Brooks to inquire about the cancellation and its legality. Technically, this may have violated Florida's Sunshine Law, which prohibits elected officials from communicating outside of public meetings. But despite acknowledgement that the Council lacks Sunshine Law training, Mayor Brooks and City Attorney Frank Kruppenbacher did not hesitate to highlight Mr. Readey's minor violation without mentioning the Mayor's own breach of the law.

Had Mayor Brooks followed the legal procedure for rescheduling the prior Council meeting, Commissioner Readey's email would never have become necessary. Regardless, it seems that Mayor Brooks may intend to seize this opportunity to remove a thorn from his side and replace Commissioner Readey with a "friendlier" commissioner who will not question the Mayor's plans.

Call or email your commissioner and let them know how you feel about this attack on Commissioner Readey. And be sure to attend Tuesday's meeting to show your support for Harvey Readey and all he has done to promote democracy in our City.

6 comments:

  1. This wouldn't be a sunshine law violation. They aren't on the same board.

    http://www.myfloridalegal.com/sun.nsf/sunmanual

    section 286.011, F.s., applies to public boards and commissions, i.e., collegial bodies, and
    has been applied to meetings of “two or more members” of the same board or commission when
    discussing some matter which foreseeably will come before the board or commission. Therefore,
    the statute does not ordinarily apply to an individual member of a public board or commission
    or to public officials who are not board or commission members. inf. op. to Dillener, January
    5, 1990 (sunshine law not normally applicable to meeting of town council member with private
    citizens). See City of Sunrise v. News and Sun-Sentinel Company, 542 so. 2d 1354 (Fla. 4th DCa
    1989); Deerfield Beach Publishing, Inc. v. Robb, 530 so. 2d 510 (Fla. 4th DCa 1988) (requisite
    to application of the sunshine law is a meeting between two or more public officials); and
    Mitchell v. School Board of Leon County, 335 so. 2d 354 (Fla. 1st DCa 1976). Cf. Jennings v.
    Dade County, 589 so. 2d 1337 (Fla. 3d DCa 1991), review denied, 598 so. 2d 75 (Fla. 1992),
    stating that ex parte (i.e., from one side only) communications in quasi-judicial proceedings raise
    a presumption that the contact was prejudicial to the decision-making process; and s. 286.0115,
    F.s., enacted in response to the Jennings case, relating to access to local public officials in quasijudicial proceedings.

    The sunshine laws are to prevent commissioners of the same public body from speaking to eachother on public business. They don't prevent folks that are not on the same board from speaking.

    So..-what's the beef?

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  2. On 6-24 I contacted our commissioner, J Nagle, asking for his side of the agenda issue. To date I have received no reply.

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  3. We should have an open and responsive Mayor and City Council. It appears that we don't. Hopefully we can elect new members soon.

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  4. This is a sad state of elected officials that run our city, except for Comm. Readey who appears to be trying to do what is right. The mayor has been able to do whatever he wants for so long he doesn't know how to act if he doesn't get his way. He is an embarrassment to all elected officials that run for office to "do the right thing".
    Thank you for keeping the citizens in the loop with what is going on.

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  5. Interesting that Commissioner Readey seems to be the only one claiming to do the right thing. I didn't even realize he was my commissioner until recently. It would certainly be nice if he introduced himself to his constituents. I am not so certain this isn't just politics as usual. So what is the real agenda here?

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    Replies
    1. I can appreciate your political skepticism, but I think if you spoke with Mr. Readey or observed him at a meeting, you would realize that he is the only one on the Council standing up for our rights as residents of Belle Isle.

      I don't know that any Commissioner could be expected to go door to door and introduce himself to each of his almost 1000 constituents. I can tell you that if you contact Mr. Readey, he'll be more than happy to speak with you. Which is more than I've heard about most of the other Commissioners, some of whom still have resident emails dating back to the beginning of this year that have gone unanswered.

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