First some quotes out of the Attorney General.
Florida’s Public records law, Ch. 119, F.s., provides a right of access to the records of the state and local governments as well as to private entities acting on their behalf. in the absence of a statutory exemption, this right of access applies to all materials made or received by an agency in connection with the transaction of official business which are used to perpetuate, communicate or formalize knowledge. access to public records has been described as a “cornerstone of our political culture.” In re Report & Recommendations of Judicial Mgmt. Council of Fla. on Privacy & Elec. Access to Court Records, 832 so. 2d 712, 713 (Fla. 2002)
section 119.011(2), F.s., defines “agency” to include:
any state, county, district, authority, or municipal officer, department, division, board, bureau, commission, or other separate unit of government created or established by law including, for the purposes of this chapter, the Commission on ethics, the Public service Commission, and the office of Public Counsel, and any other public or private agency, person, partnership, corporation, or business entity acting on behalf of any public agency.
a right of access to records is also recognized in art. i, s. 24, Fla. Const., which applies to virtually all state and local governmental entities, including the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. The only exceptions are those established by law or by the Constitution.
section 119.011(12), F.s., defines “public records” to include:
all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, data processing software, or other material, regardless of the physical form, characteristics, or means of transmission, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency.
The Florida supreme Court has interpreted this definition to encompass all materials made or received by an agency in connection with official business which are used to perpetuate, communicate or formalize knowledge. Shevin v. Byron, Harless, schaffer, reid and associates, inc., 379 so. 2d 633, 640 (Fla. 1980). all such materials, regardless of whether they are in final form, are open for public inspection unless the legislature has exempted them from disclosure. Wait v. Florida Power & Light Company, 372 so. 2d 420 (Fla. 1979). The text of Ch. 119, F.s., the Public records act, is found in appendix C and summaries of exemptions not included in Ch. 119, F.s., are contained in appendix D.
The term “public record” is not limited to traditional written documents. as the statutory definition states, “tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, data processing software, or other material, regardless of the physical form, characteristics, or means of transmission” can all constitute public records. And see National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Associated Press, 18 so. 3d 1201 (Fla. 1st DCa 2009), review denied, 37 so. 3d 848 (Fla. 2010) (“public records law is not limited to paper documents but applies, as well, to documents that exist only in digital form”). Cf. Church of Scientology Flag Service Org., Inc. v. Wood, no. 97-688Ci-07 (Fla. 6th Cir. Ct. February 27, 1997) (physical specimens relating to an autopsy are not public records because in order to constitute a “public record” for purposes of Ch. 119, “the record itself must be susceptible of some form of copying . . . .”).
Clearly, as technology changes the means by which agencies communicate, manage, and store information, public records will take on increasingly different forms. Yet, the comprehensive scope of the term “public records” will continue to make the information open to public inspection unless exempted by law.
article i, s. 24, Fla. Const., establishes a constitutional right of access to any public record made or received in connection with the official business of any public body, officer, or employee of the state, or persons acting on their behalf, except those records exempted pursuant to art. i,s. 24, Fla. Const., or specifically made confidential by the Constitution. See State ex rel. Clayton v. Board of Regents, 635 so. 2d 937 (Fla. 1994) (“[o]ur Constitution requires that public officials must conduct public business in the open and that public records must be made available to all members of the public.”); and Rhea v. District Board of Trustees of Santa Fe College, 109 so. 3d 851, 855 (Fla. 1st DCa 2013) (“a citizen’s access to public records is a fundamental constitutional right in Florida”).
Public records request number 1
I asked for a copy of Kenny Hutcherson’s weekly Hours page and weekly leave balance pages for the last three years. I got two years worth instead. The copies I got were for two years and they didn’t have Kenny’s signature on them. The White Springs Personnel and Procedures Manual requires that such pages be signed by the receiver. It is my supposition that the reason Stacy won’t direct Pam to provide the documents requested is bcause such documents clearly show that Hutcherson worked from three years ago until two years ago but didn’t work for the two years prior to his retirement. That means folks that we paid him a year’s worth of salary and medical payments before he got sick and the last two years we paid him for no work at all. I’ve always liked Kenny and have contributed to his May Day efforts for a couple of years. But if my supposition is correct he didn’t work the last two years he was on the payroll, including medical of approximately $1000.00 per month. Nice work if you can get it but it just happens to be fraud by Mr. Hutcherson and anybody, read Stacy and Pam, who signed those checks aided and abetted this fraud on the White Springs taxpayers. No work no pay, even the least intelligent kid in the Hood knows that.
PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST TWO.
Mr. Elkind’s contract which Stacy and Pam are dragging their feet on. Mr. Elkind is the Attorney Stacy used to protect her in the Helen Miller flap. His contract for that evolution was for Stacy and the Staff but not for the Town. Chapter 4 of the Ethics Rules of the Florida Bar requires Elkind to have a valid contract to defend his client. The town has never given him one, not even a verbal one. That contract must have come from the Council. No such contract exists. I’ve asked for it at least ten times to no avail. I’ve asked for the minutes when such a verbal contract was issued. Also the verbal approval has been asked for multiple times. It’s simple no contact no money yet we have paid him, it is believed more than $10,000 in legal expenses. This denial of public documents is easy to deal with. A simple letter to the Florida Bar Ethics committee highlighting the theft of Taxpayer funds should do the trick. One other thing. If there is no contract, and there isn’t, who is Elkind getting his directions from? It should be the Council by the town charter but no such person has been identified by Stacy and Pam much less the Mayor Lofton or former Mayor Bullard. The Florida Bar Ethics require Elkind to take his directions from the Client whom is neither Stacy nor Pam. It is the Town Council, yet no minutes exist that would show any directions given by the Council to Elkind. Somebody must be in charge of an attorney. Such is not the case. Sorry Elkind.
THIRD 119 REQUEST.
Walter, the A$$HOLE’S, number of times he has voted for Open Government in the 18 years he has been on the Council. I have checked the minutes on the Town website which cover approximately 2 years worth. Walter never did vote for Open Government in those two years. I also asked for Tonja’s Spencer’s, Willie’s and Rhett’s times they have voted for Open Government since they have been on the Council. Not a single time has any of the five of them voted for open government in the two years I have been filing Open Government complaints and lawsuits. My estimate is that that is over 400 times in the 18 years Walter has been on the Council that he has violated Due Process and the Ethics Law, the Public Records Law and the Sunshine Law. Yet we, as a town keep putting him on the Council with our votes. Stacy says that she is not going to look at the past 18 years of minutes even though the Florida Statute requires her to do so. It’s funny that she can bring a 119 suit against DeBary but refuses to obey the dictates of 119 in her own bailiwick. By the way her (Tebo’s) suit, her 119 suit was denied by the Circuit Court judge in Volusia County. Not Stacy’s year for lawsuits. I suggested that they could cut down on her workload is she would just ask Walter the A$$HOLE if he ever voted for Open Government with respect to me. She refused. Stacy has come up with a whole lot of non-statutory excuses which are against the State Statute. But when you are corrupt as Stacy and the Town Council you get used to violating the law.
FOURTH 119 REQUEST
Recently I asked for the Attorney’s Opinion on the LOFT concern and the three items Helen asked the Attorney to provide an opinion on regarding the Sunshine Law. There has been no response. Thursday is the DAY. I’m going to Jasper that day to talk to the JUDGE.
I fail to see what the problem is with the exception of the documents requested, if turned over would prove the wholesale complicity of the Town Council and Stacy Tebo in illegal activities. What is so wrong with following the law?