The Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund is asking the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee to reconsider its decision to upheld a local ruling that the city of Jacksonville violated the state’s Government in the Sunshine law during pension negotiations in 2013.
A three judge panel unanimously upheld the ruling of local Circuit Judge Waddell Wallace, who found in favor of a Sunshine lawsuit filed by Times-Union Editor Frank Denton.
The Fire Pension Fund said it planned to ask for a rehearing in a notice of joint developments filed with Wallace. That notice did not say why they were seeking a rehearing, or what the arguments would be.
Usually when a notice for rehearing is filed attorney’s ask for the case to be reconsidered “en banc” by every judge on the appellate court. The notice in this case does not say if that’s what attorney’s want.
The Fire Pension Fund and the city of Jacksonville are co-defendants in the case, but it appears as if it is only the Fire Pension Fund that is asking for the rehearing.
Wallace in his 2013 ruling found the city and the Police and Fire Pension Fund had “confidential, non-public collective bargaining negotiations” where public talks were required in violation of the state’s open records law.
The judge listed a series of ways the earlier talks violated state law, noting sessions weren’t open to the public, were conducted without reasonable notice and without minutes being taken — all requirements of public meetings under state law.
The appeals court also ruled that the city must pay Denton’s attorney fees for the appeals portion of the lawsuit. Wallace had previously ruled that the city would have to pay attorney fees for the trial portion of the lawsuit, and Wallace will likely decide the amount due after having a hearing.