JANUARY 2004: Former Oak Hill City Commissioner Ron Mercer was ordered to pay a $500 fine for violating the state's open meetings law nearly two years ago. Although he never violated the law intentionally, the fine was for the noncriminal infraction. Another commissioner pleaded no contest to the violation in May and was fined $250 and ordered to attend a Sunshine Law class.

JANUARY 2004: Circut Judge Janet Ferris denied a motion by the Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT) to dismiss a suit filed by community members who allege that the Enviornmental and Resource Agency Group(ERAG), a branch of the state's Turnpike Enterprise met privately in violation of the state's Sunshine Law.

APRIL 2004: The 4th District Court of Appeal ruled that a Palm Beach County panel violated the Florida Sunshine Law when it decided behind closed doors to fire a senior secretary. As a result of the appellate decision, the senior secretary will get her job back and receive back pay.
 
APRIL 2004: North Bay Village Mayor Alan Dorne and City Commissioner Armand Abecassis resigned after being arrested on second-degree misdemeanor charges of violating the Open Meetings Law. Dorne and Abecassis were accused of meeting privately to discuss firing City Manager James Vardalis because of his cooperation with an investigation of former police chief Irving Heller, a longtime friend of Dorne’s. .

MAY 2004: The 5th District Court of Appeal ruled that Hernando County violated the state's open government law by excludng the public from meetings to review development plans. The county was required to pay the legal fees of lawyer Ralf Brookes who represented the environmental group who filed the lawsuit.

JUNE 2004: A judge fined the executive director of the Florida Crown Workforce board, which helps secure jobs for those needing employment, $100 for court costs after the director decided not to contest a civil infraction for aiding and abetting a Sunshine Law violation.

JULY 2004: The 4th District Court of Appeal ruled that a Palm Beach County grievance panel violated the state Sunshine Law when it decided to fire a senior secretary behind closed doors. The employee will get her job back and will be entitled to back pay.

AUGUST 2004: Two Sugarmill residents won a lawsuit against the Floirda Turnpike Enterprise for violating the Sunshine Law by allowing an advisory committee to meet behind closed doors.. The judge made it clear that the Environmental and Resource Agncy Group arm of Turnpike Enterpise is coverend under the Sunshine Law. The state was ordered to pay the legal expenses of the two residents.

SEPTEMBER 2004: An Escambia County Commissioner, Janice Gilley, and a task force were found to have violated the state's Sunshine Law by failing to properly advertise meetings but the grand jury cleared them of criminal wrongdoing.

OCTOBER 2004: Former Florida Senate President W.D. Childers lost an appeal of convictions for violating the state’s Sunshine Law by speaking privately about government business with fellow Escambia County Commissioner Terry Smith. A three judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal affirmed his guilt on two counts without writing an opinion.



Florida Public Records and Open Meetings Laws Prosecutions Database

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