286.011 Public meetings and records; public inspection; criminal and civil penalties.—
(1) All meetings of any board or commission of any state agency or authority or of any agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision, except as otherwise provided in the Constitution, including meetings with or attended by any person elected to such board or commission, but who has not yet taken office, 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.
In John Rhett Joiner Bullard’s reign as Mayor and prior, White Springs had never believed in abiding by the public meetings law. People have been hired or fired without Transparency to its Citizens, until after the fact. I remember Tom Moore’s prior argument with Joe Griffin about a meeting held at the White Springs Bed and Breakfast. Joe mentioned that notice should be given for the public to attend and Moore said it was not necessary at the time. Unfortunately, in accordance with the law it is necessary and since that time more and more people, including Tom Moore who we supported for council, know that to be the case.
(2) The minutes of a meeting of any such board or commission of any such state agency or authority shall be promptly recorded, and such records shall be open to public inspection. The circuit courts of this state shall have jurisdiction to issue injunctions to enforce the purposes of this section upon application by any citizen of this state.
What we realized is that such minutes or recordings are tampered with or a recorder is taken off at specific times so that there is not a public record.
Various times in Pam Tomlinson’s handwritten notes, there have been pauses and indication of when the recorder was shut off. Obviously the Town has many things in which they wish to hide from their citizens. And once the Resolution 18-05 passes on Tuesday, not only will information be hidden from the citizens but the citizens will not have the opportunity to express their grievances, and if they do have the chance, the council does not have to respond and can throw them out. Alas, Mayor Lofty has taken away our First Amendment rights.
(3)(a) Any public officer who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a noncriminal infraction, punishable by fine not exceeding $500.
(b) Any person who is a member of a board or commission or of any state agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision who knowingly violates the provisions of this section by attending a meeting not held in accordance with the provisions hereof is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(4) Whenever an action has been filed against any board or commission of any state agency or authority or any agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision to enforce the provisions of this section or to invalidate the actions of any such board, commission, agency, or authority, which action was taken in violation of this section, and the court determines that the defendant or defendants to such action acted in violation of this section, the court shall assess a reasonable attorney’s fee against such agency, and may assess a reasonable attorney’s fee against the individual filing such an action if the court finds it was filed in bad faith or was frivolous. Any fees so assessed may be assessed against the individual member or members of such board or commission; provided, that in any case where the board or commission seeks the advice of its attorney and such advice is followed, no such fees shall be assessed against the individual member or members of the board or commission. However, this subsection shall not apply to a state attorney or his or her duly authorized assistants or any officer charged with enforcing the provisions of this section.
The problem however is that the 3rd Judicial District will protect the actions or transgressions of any of the Officials or Staff of White Springs. Joe Griffin attempted to have the council realize they were unlawful by issuing Complaints; over a hundred of which have never been answered but dismissed. In accordance with the Sunshine Law, Joe was forced to go to court nineteen times and the only time his suit was even looked at pertained to Shirley Heath having to follow 119 laws. The Judges in the district stuck up for the Town charging Joe tremendous court costs and fees because neither the judges nor the attorneys felt a Citizen had the right to complain. And of course to show others that it was wrong to go against White Springs, the newspaper made certain the article was printed about the 19 lawsuits because even they were friends of the Town and made Joe Griffin the dupe when all he was doing was fighting for the law and transparency.
(5) Whenever any board or commission of any state agency or authority or any agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision appeals any court order which has found said board, commission, agency, or authority to have violated this section, and such order is affirmed, the court shall assess a reasonable attorney’s fee for the appeal against such board, commission, agency, or authority. Any fees so assessed may be assessed against the individual member or members of such board or commission; provided, that in any case where the board or commission seeks the advice of its attorney and such advice is followed, no such fees shall be assessed against the individual member or members of the board or commission.
(6) All persons subject to subsection (1) are prohibited from holding meetings at any facility or location which discriminates on the basis of sex, age, race, creed, color, origin, or economic status or which operates in such a manner as to unreasonably restrict public access to such a facility.
(7) Whenever any member of any board or commission of any state agency or authority or any agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision is charged with a violation of this section and is subsequently acquitted, the board or commission is authorized to reimburse said member for any portion of his or her reasonable attorney’s fees.
(8) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1), any board or commission of any state agency or authority or any agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision, and the chief administrative or executive officer of the governmental entity, may meet in private with the entity’s attorney to discuss pending litigation to which the entity is presently a party before a court or administrative agency, provided that the following conditions are met:
(a) The entity’s attorney shall advise the entity at a public meeting that he or she desires advice concerning the litigation.
(b) The subject matter of the meeting shall be confined to settlement negotiations or strategy sessions related to litigation expenditures.
(c) The entire session shall be recorded by a certified court reporter. The reporter shall record the times of commencement and termination of the session, all discussion and proceedings, the names of all persons present at any time, and the names of all persons speaking. No portion of the session shall be off the record. The court reporter’s notes shall be fully transcribed and filed with the entity’s clerk within a reasonable time after the meeting.
Koberlein stated he would not talk to Joe Griffin relating to the interest owed on the McKire Case after Joe Paid in excess of $15,000 (for three banker boxes which Koberlein knew were not all from the McKire case) even though Joe made a formal request for the interest in Jasper, McKire and the Town of White Springs. Therefore a lien was held.
Then Koberlein would not complete the satisfaction of judgment after we paid the interest of approximately $400 and had to hire an attorney, who we found was a friend of Koberlien’s, who charged us $2,000 to complete the document. The Town and the Third judicial district is so deceitful that Koberlein mixed up cases intentionally when our refinance company was trying to determine the liens.
After Joe returned from being hospitalized for 11.5 months, Koberlein at the beheast of the Council removed all of his property to pay for the three judgments. No notice was given to Joe but rather the property was removed and even though Joe could not yet walk, Koberlein wished to take his wheelchairs. Joe paid for these liens, got his wheelchair back with the help of the Sheriff’s department, paid for his property to be returned and when he asked Koberlein what was to be done about the Collection agency, Koberlein answered “that is your problem”. So when the satisfactions of Judgment were produced during the refinancing, the collection agency stated they were fraudulent because White Springs had not notified them or paid the fee.
The Fee was in excess of $4,500 possibly $4,800, because I do not have the paperwork in front of me, and the Town ultimately had to pay the Collection Agency. But they did not pay immediately; instead the Mortgagee issued a check (our money) for the full amount of the Judgment to the Collection Agency who would not return our money until the Town of White Springs paid its fee to the Collection Agency. It may be mentioned that White Springs was living pay check to pay check and as a result had to place that fee on a credit card. Yes the Town of White Springs has used their authority to have its attorney, and even the State’s attorney to silence and punish Joe Griffin because of his fight for the law and for transparency..
(d) The entity shall give reasonable public notice of the time and date of the attorney-client session and the names of persons who will be attending the session. The session shall commence at an open meeting at which the persons chairing the meeting shall announce the commencement and estimated length of the attorney-client session and the names of the persons attending. At the conclusion of the attorney-client session, the meeting shall be reopened, and the person chairing the meeting shall announce the termination of the session.
(e) The transcript shall be made part of the public record upon conclusion of the litigation.
History.—s. 1, ch. 67-356; s. 159, ch. 71-136; s. 1, ch. 78-365; s. 6, ch. 85-301; s. 33, ch. 91-224; s. 1, ch. 93-232; s. 210, ch. 95-148; s. 1, ch. 95-353; s. 2, ch. 2012-25.
Karin for the blog