June 22, 2016 – Palm Beach Post
by Eliot Kleinberg
The Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County, if inadvertently, violated Florida’s public meetings and records laws in the handing out of grants for a beautification program, the county’s Inspector General said in a report issued Wednesday.
The report said a committee set up to award the grants did its work in private and didn’t take minutes.
According to the report, a committee formed to hand out $500,000 in grants for the Authority’s “blighted and distressed property clean-up and beautification grant program” met Jan. 13. It marked the first time the authority had awarded money to other governments under the beautification project.
The report said that “the process of evaluating, ranking, scoring, and short-listing the grant applications did not occur at a publicly noticed meeting of either the Grant Committee or the SWA Board.”
“I’m pleased with the IG’s conclusion,” Barbara Petersen, president of Florida’s First Amendment Foundation, a Tallahassee nonprofit open-government advocacy group supported by newspapers and broadcasters, said Wednesday in an email. “The grant committee is clearly subject to Florida’s open government laws.” [READ MORE]