THE 2018 GISM

The courts have recognized that the Sunshine Law should be construed so as to frustrate all evasive devices. City of Miami Beach v. Berns, 245 So. 2d 38 (Fla. 1971); Blackford v. School Board of Orange County, 375 So. 2d 578 (Fla. 5th DCA 1979); Wolfson v. State, 344 So. 2d 611 (Fla. 2d DCA 1977). As the Florida Supreme Court stated in Canney v. Board of Public Instruction of Alachua County, 278 So. 2d 260, 264 (Fla. 1973):
“Various boards and agencies have obviously attempted to read exceptions into the Government in the Sunshine Law which do not exist. Even though their intentions may be sincere, such boards and agencies should not be allowed to circumvent the plain provisions of the statute. The benefit to the public far outweighs the inconvenience of the board or agency. If the board or agency feels aggrieved, then the remedy lies in the halls of the Legislature and not in efforts to circumvent the plain provisions of the statute by devious ways in the hope that the judiciary will read some exception into the law.”
If a board member is unable to determine whether a meeting is subject to the Sunshine Law, he or she should either leave the meeting or ensure that the meeting complies with the Sunshine Law. See City of Miami Beach v. Berns, supra at 41; Town of Palm Beach v. Gradison, 296 So. 2d 473, 477 (Fla. 1974) (“The principle to be followed is very simple: When in doubt, the members of any board, agency, authority or commission should follow the open-meeting policy of the State.”).
3. Effect of statutory exemptions

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