Sunshine and Public Records Law Violations
- Mayor Stoner Violated Florida’s Sunshine Law at a Shade Meeting
- Mayor Stoner Violated the Sunshine Law at a One-on-One Meeting
- Mayor Stoner Violated Florida’s Public Records Law By Improperly Responding to a Public Records Request
… on January 9, 2019, the council held a meeting wherein a Councilmember raised the Sunshine issue, attempting to cure the violation that had happened at the shade meeting. … Specifically, a Councilmember asked for “job descriptions, salary ranges, and … minimum qualifications for those positions.” While the mayor originally assured her, “[O]kay, we’ll get them,” she then stated, “I am compiling the documents requested and would prefer to have them all ready before I present them to the public.” With these two comments, the mayor settled the fact that documents responsive to the Councilmember’s request did indeed exist.
At the January 23, 2019, council meeting, the same Councilmember again asked for the documents she had asked for on January 9, 2019. This time she added more documents to the request, stating:
I would like to ask the mayor – I did ask – you said that you’re putting together the job requirements, the items that I asked for. I would like to add to that, if you could, just draft a proposal so we’re all clear, because I still need a lot of clarification on these deputy administrative roles; if the organizational chart is being reworked; who’s reporting to whom; who do we communicate with; what happens in an instance that I just brought up? … So, I would ask that in addition to the documents I asked for, which is, minimum requirements, job description, salary range and, resumes for those two individuals, that we be also provided with the proposals how this is to work… . I’d like to read section 10 of the charter, which is appointing powers. The city council shall have the power to designate or create such offices, departments, or divisions as may be necessary for the administration of the affairs of the city; to provide the duties and powers of the officers and employees of such office, department or division; provide for the appointment and fix the salary or compensation of such officers or employees… . So, if the mayor could please provide us with those documents and the proposal how this is to work, before the council meeting – the next council meeting, I’d appreciate it, and I’d like the council to take a look at that.
January 23, 2019 – Video
The mayor’s refusal was clear when she replied:
Those items will not be provided to you at the next council meeting. As far as administrative staff, I am “strong mayor,” and I don’t have to provide you with any of that. All directors report directly to me. All directors. You don’t get to comment on their staff and how they run their departments. You don’t get to comment on how I run my department. It’s not unusual for new people to be elected and rearrange their staff, which is what I’m doing. When it’s finalized, you can take a look … but I will not, at any point, provide you with all of that information by next week. I will present it when I’m ready to present it.
Mayor Stoner did not respond further to either request at any time.