286.011 Public meetings and records; public inspection; criminal and civil penalties.—
(1) All meetings of any board or commission of any state agency or authority or of any agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision, except as otherwise provided in the Constitution, at which official acts are to be taken are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times, and no resolution, rule, or formal action shall be considered binding except as taken or made at such meeting. The board or commission must provide reasonable notice of all such meetings.
I am no lawyer and don't pretend to be, but looking at this it would seem that since public meetings should be open to the public at all times. There should never be a conversation held between Commissioners and City Manager while on the DAIS outside of earshot of the public. That information could be part of the business of the City which should be open for public inspection and since none of those conversations are ever recorded in the minutes I contend that Commissioners of CODB has consistently and blatantly violated the Sunshine Law.
If you take a look at the CODB City Commission meeting, on August 16, 2011, you will notice several times that the City Mayor has private conversations with the City Manager out of earshot of the public, while both are sitting on the DAIS. One example is at 2:19:10, I am not an investigative reporter so maybe one of you out there or the Broward SAO can comment on the legality of this.
I personally would love to one day attend City Commission meeting knowing that I will have full access to the information being provided in those frequent sidebar comments b/w Noland and Hanson and then Hanson and Maurodis and then Hanson and the other Commissioners. What assurance does the public have that the City Manager is not being used as an instrument to pass information, threats, or other along for Commission members thereby avoiding the Sunshine Law, which is illegal as it violates section 1 of FS 286.011.
I am forwarding this post over to the SAO so they can maybe review the City Commission meetings and then determine if any violations have occurred. The citizens, residents, and all tax paying people of the CODB deserve a Commission and City Staff that are going to be held to laws of the land. We are tired of corruption prevailing in our City and therefore must alert the authorities when we have no assurance that illegal activities are not taken place on the DAIS right in front of our faces.
I will also be contacting the new Broward Corruption Hotline at 954-357-TIPS (8477) and I encourage all other concerned citizens of Deerfield Beach to do the same.