Palm Beach Post by Frank Cerabino
December 7, 2017
The Sunshine Law is turning out to be very inconvenient for the mayor of Riviera Beach.
Florida’s open government law requires notice for all public meetings, letting anybody know where and when they will be held.
For Mayor Thomas Masters, this just means tipping off the repo man.
Masters had his 2014 Subaru repossessed during an October city council meeting. There he was, inside, presiding over the meeting, while Strong Recovery was swooping in, putting his car on the hook and driving away with an involuntary repossession of a vehicle on behalf of a lien holder.
This doesn’t send the proper message. A mayor who gets a $750-a-month car allowance and is entrusted with being fiscally responsible with public money, can’t wonder every time he walks out of a meeting whether his parking space will be empty.
I blame the Sunshine Law.
It’s making it too easy to track down Masters. If there were no Sunshine Law, Masters might persuade his fellow council members to help him out by moving the meetings to a new secret location around town each time and announcing these meetings at the last minute.
Pop-up city council meetings. Keep the repo man guessing.
But as it stands now, the poor mayor is a sitting duck during these meetings. And unless his colleagues allow him to participate in future meetings remotely, perhaps by letting Masters sit in is car in the parking lot with an audio-visual link, it just may happen again.
Of course, Masters considers the repossession of his car a trivial event of no concern. [READ MORE]