Tallahassee Reports by Steve Stewart
January 2, 2019
Dr. Erwin Jackson believes the Tallahassee City Commission violated Florida’s Sunshine Law and has filed a lawsuit with the Second Judicial Circuit Court in Leon County.
Dr. Jackson told TR that “given the millions of dollars our city government spends on legal advice it is disappointing they can’t devise a selection process that conforms to State Sunshine Law.”
The filing states:
the City of Tallahassee, acting through the Tallahassee City Commission, made decisions on over 90 applications to fill a vacancy on the City Commission without holding a public meeting. Deciding which candidates to keep and which to reject for a public office is a quintessential governmental function. The public had a right to hear from the Commissioners about their reasoning and to offer comment on the applicants before the City Commission narrowed the applicant pool to a small group of finalists. Excluding the public from this process was a Sunshine Law violation.
The filing notes that under Florida law, “[a]ll meetings of any . . . municipal corporation . . . at which official acts are to be taken are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times, and no resolution, rule, or formal action shall be considered binding except as taken or made at such meeting. The board or commission must provide reasonable notice of all such meetings.” (286.011(1), Fla. Stat.)