The Palm Beach Post by Kristina Webb
February 4, 2019
LOXAHATCHEE GROVES — The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office is investigating a possible violation of Florida’s public meeting and open records laws in Loxahatchee Groves.
Sources close to the investigation told The Palm Beach Post the State Attorney’s Office is looking into a complaint that two or more Town Council members met privately ahead of last week’s hiring of Jamie Titcomb as town manager.
Any meeting of two or more elected officials of the same board or commission where official actions are discussed is subject to Florida’s broad Government in the Sunshine Law. Meetings must be “open and noticed to the public,” the law states.
The Town Council voted 4-1 last week, with Councilman David DeMarois dissenting, to hire longtime local official Titcomb to replace Bill Underwood as town manager while cancelling the town’s contract with Underwood Management Services Group to run the town.
A spokesperson for the State Attorney’s Office declined comment Monday.
The State Attorney’s Office’s Public Corruption Unit will meet with Town Council members one-on-one at Town Hall beginning Wednesday afternoon, Underwood said. He said he did not know the nature of the complaint about which they were meeting.
But several sources who said they were contacted or knew some who were contacted told The Palm Beach Post the matter was regarding a Sunshine Law complaint.
Unintentional violations of the Sunshine Law are non-criminal and punishable by a fine of up to $500. An intentional violation is a second-degree misdemeanor and punished by a fine up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail. Public officials who violate the Sunshine Law could be suspended or removed from office.
Sources told The Post the complaints center around Councilwoman Anita Kane, who was appointed to the dais in December after Joyce Batcheler resigned the prior month.