December 2015: Tom Terrell, a Walton County Planning Commission Board member, faces an allegation of violating the state's Sunshine Law by polling other board members through an intermediary. In an effort to remove Commissioner Suzanne Harris from the board, fellow board member Mr. Terrell allegedly had a former board member call three planning commissioners to ask if they would vote to oust Harris at their next meeting. Mr. Terrell denied the charge, but all three members who were allegedly polled confirmed having received the phone calls. Please see the December 2015 edition of The Brechner Report for more details.
November 2015: Santa Rosa County Commissioner Bob Cole pleaded no contest to a Sunshine Law violation and will be fined the maximum $500 fine allowed by law. Please see the November 2015 edition of The Brechner Report for more details.
November 2015: Five board members of the Jacksonville Electric Authority have resigned after The Florida Times-Union discovered its practice of distributing scripted talking points before meetings, in violation of Florida's Sunshine Law. Please see the November 2015 edition of The Brechner Report for more information.
October 2015: Two Hollywood Police Department officers have been demoted for violating Florida's Public Records Law and police department policy, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The former assistant chief, Ken Haberland, and former major, Norris Redding, have been demoted to lieutenaut positions and were suspended for two weeks without pay. Haberland and Redding were cleared of any criminal charges after a lengthy investigation and avoided civil fines. The men are appealing their demotions. See the October 2015 edition of The Brechner Report for more details.
September 2015: Governor Rick Scott and the state have agreed to use $1 million of taxpayer money to settle several public lawsuits, according to The Miami Herald. The settlement is believed to be one of the largest payments made in a public records case in Florida's history, according to the AP. For more information, see the September 2015 and the July 2015 editions of The Brechner Report.
September 2015: A Florida appeals court ruled the Tallahassee Police Department improperly withheld public records. The 1st District Court of Appeal found that an email and attachment concerning a domestic violence investigation of Florida State University football player Karlos Williams was not exempt from Florida's Public Records Law. See the September 2015 edition of The Brechner Report for more details.
August 2015: An appeals court upheld a ruling that the Lake Shore Hospital Authority violated Florida's Public Records Law. The circuit court ruled the hospital authority violated the law by placing "unreasonable restrictions" on Stewart Lilker's access to public records by referring Lilker to a website in response to his public records requests and limiting his time to inspect the records to one hour per day. See the August 2015 edition of The Brechner Report for more details.
June 2015: Two Indian River Shores officials were fined for violating Florida's Sunshine Law, according to Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers. County Judge David C. Morgan fined Mayor Brian Barefoot and Councilman Richard Haverland $200 each and ordered the officials to receive some training on Florida's Sunshine Law. Barefoot and Haverland both acknowledged they spoke by email regarding the town of Indian River Shores' lawsuit against the city of Vero Beach. See the June 2015 edition of The Brechner Report for additional details.
May 2015: A circuit judge struck down the city of Jacksonville's 30 year agreement with the Police and Fire Pension Fund because it violates Florida's Sunshine Law, according to The Florida Times-Union. The Concerned Taxpayers of Duval County and Curtis Lee filed a lawsuit claiming the agreement negotiated in 2000 between the city and the pension fund violated Florida's Sunshine Law because the parties came to the agreement in a series of secret meetings, according to The Florida Times-Union. Beverly ruled that the closed meetings invalidated any agreement. His ruling does not immediately change pension benefits, but prompts the city to change the collective bargaining process as regulated by state law. See the May 2015 edition of The Brechner Report for more information.