MISUSE OF PUBLIC FUNDS BY HELEN

MISUSE OF PUBLIC POSITION.—No public officer, employee of an agency, or local government attorney shall corruptly use or attempt to use his or her official position or any property or resource which may be within his or her trust, or perform his or her official duties, to secure a special privilege, benefit, or exemption for himself, UNAUTHORIZED COMPENSATION.—No public officer, employee of an agency, or local government attorney or his or her spouse or minor child shall, at any time, accept any compensation, payment, or thing of value when such public officer, employee, or local government attorney knows, or, with the exercise of reasonable care, should know, that it was given to influence a vote or other action in which the officer, employee, or local government attorney was expected to participate in his or her official capacity.

UNAUTHORIZED COMPENSATION.—No public officer, employee of an agency, or local government attorney or his or her spouse or minor child shall, at any time, accept any compensation, payment, or thing of value when such public officer, employee, or local government attorney knows, or, with the exercise of reasonable care, should know, that it was given to influence a vote or other action in which the officer, employee, or local government attorney was expected to participate in his or her official capacity.

In the absence of a legislative exemption, discussions between a public board and its attorney are subject to s. 286.011, F.S. Neu v. Miami Herald Publishing Company, 462 So. 2d 821 (Fla. 1985) (s. 90.502, F.S., providing for the confidentiality of attorney-client communications under the Florida Evidence Code, does not create an exemption for attorney-client communications at public meetings; application of the Sunshine Law to such discussions does not usurp Supreme Court’s constitutional authority to regulate the practice of law, nor is it at odds with Florida Bar rules providing for attorney-client confidentiality). Cf. s. 90.502(6), F.S., stating that a discussion or activity that is not a meeting for purposes of s. 286.011, F.S., shall not be construed to waive the attorney-client privilege. And see Florida Parole and Probation Commission v. Thomas, 364 So. 2d 480 (Fla. 1st DCA 1978), stating that all decisions taken by legal counsel to a public board need not be made or approved by the board; thus, the decision to appeal made by legal counsel after private discussions with the individual members of the board did not violate s. 286.011, F.S.

“The Sunshine Law does not provide for any ‘government by delegation’ exception; a public body cannot escape the application of the Sunshine Law by undertaking to delegate the conduct of public business through an alter ego.” IDS Properties, Inc. v. Town of Palm Beach, 279 So. 2d 353, 359 (Fla. 4th DCA 1973), certified question answered sub nom., Town of Palm Beach v. Gradison, 296 So. 2d 473 (Fla. 1974). See also News-Press Publishing Company, Inc. v. Carlson, 410 So. 2d 546, 547-548 (Fla. 2d DCA 1982) (when public officials delegate de facto authority to act on their behalf in the formulation, preparation, and promulgation of plans on which foreseeable action will be taken by those public officials, those delegated that authority stand in the shoes of such public officials insofar as the Sunshine Law is concerned).

ACCORDING TO MEAGAN’S BILLS HELEN HAS USED THE TOWN ATTORNEY FOR HER OWN PERSONAL ATTORNEY AND THE ATTORNEY BILLED THE TOWN FOR SUCH UNAUTHORIZED REPRESENTATION.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

erself, or others.

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