Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Next Step [UPDATE]

Now that our Belle Isle election results are official, you may be wondering what happens next.

Under our City Charter, newly-elected commissioners become active members of the Belle Isle City Council on the first Tuesday in April. This year, the first Tuesday falls on April 1. I don't think being sworn in on April Fools Day has any real legal effect, but I'll double-check to be sure.

I suggest that our new commissioners elect enjoy their last few days of freedom. Come April 1, they will come under the purview of the Florida Sunshine Law. The Sunshine Law has many facets, one of which is that our elected City officials are not permitted to discuss matters which could come before the Council outside of properly-noticed public meetings. Want to learn more about the Sunshine Law?

Florida Sunshine Law Frequently Asked Questions

The final meeting of our City Council in its present composition will be at the upcoming workshop meeting on March 26 at 8:30 a.m. The following week, Ed Gold and Sue Nielsen will be sworn in at our City Council's next regular meeting on Tuesday, April 1 at 5:30 p.m.

UPDATE 3/19/14

According Sue Nielsen, as well as a helpful reader of the Sun, the Sunshine Law may actually apply to our new commissioners elect as soon as the election results are certified.


  1. I suggest that all of us attend Sue and Ed's swearing in ceremony. Let's show the entire council that our support for its newest members will continue and that we expect major changes from all in the coming months. See you there!

  2. Yes, not only did we show, as voting citizens, that we did not like what was happening in our city, but now need to publicly acclaim that we will back our representatives for fair and transparent governance. And 5:30 is not the time that the majority of citizens can be at these meetings. What can I do to help change this?

  3. Hopefully this election sent a strong message to the Mayor, CM and the other council members that the residents have had enough of the way he (mayor) runs this city.

    Congratulations to Sue and Ed!

  4. This is a good example of how to make a public records request from the city. Legally they have to provide you this information in a timely manner. it is not an option for them.

    ATTENTION: Custodian of Public Records

    Pursuant to Article 1, Section 24 of the Florida Constitution and Chapter 119.07 of the Florida
    Statutes I wish to make a public records request of your agency for the following:


    If you contend that any of the records I am seeking, or any portion thereof, are exempt from
    inspection or disclosure please cite the specific exemption as required by §119.07(1)(e) of the
    Florida Statutes and state in writing and with particularity the basis for your conclusions as
    required by §119.07(1)(f) of the Florida Statutes.

    Please take note of §119.07(c) Florida Statues and your affirmative obligation to (1) promptly
    acknowledge receipt of this public records request, and; (2) make a good faith effort which
    “includes making reasonable efforts to determine from other officers or employees within the
    agency whether such a record exists and, if so, the location at which the record can be accessed.”

    I am, therefore, requesting that you notify every individual in possession of records that may be
    responsive to this public records request to preserve all such records on an immediate basis.
    If the public records being sought are maintained by your agency in an electronic format please
    produce the records in the original electronic format in which they were created or received. See
    §119.01(2)(f), Florida Statutes.

    If you anticipate the production of these public records to exceed $1.00 please notify me in
    advance of their production with a written estimate of the total cost. Please be sure to itemize any
    estimates so as to indicate the total number of pages and/or records, as well as to distinguish the
    cost of labor and materials.

  5. When will we see the minutes of the last meeting on the city web site?
    The last ones posted are for February 4

  6. I won't be able to attend the swearing in because I'll be at work, but I'll be there in spirit. Maybe one of the first motions of our newly elected council members will be to move the meetings back to a time when working residents can attend.


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