Tanner Andrews,
P.O. Box 1208,
DeLand, FLA 32721.

Adventist Health Systems,
attn: T.R. Trimble,
[via fax +1 407 975 1414]

Dear Sir:


As used herein, the term ‘‘Sunshine’’ refers to the provisions of §286.011, F.S., and Article 1, Section 24(b), Constitution of Florida, collectively.

The term ‘‘Open Records’’ refers to to the provisions of §119.07, F.S., et.seq., and Article 1, Section 24(a), Constitution of Florida, collectively.

The term ‘‘Open Government’’ refers to the provisions of Sunshine and Open Records, collectively.

The term ‘‘Facility’’ refers to that facility formerly known as West Volusia Memorial Hospital and now styled Memorial Hospital-West Volusia.

Legal advice, as offered herein, is intended to mean that you should consult with an attorney familiar with issues relating to Sunshine and Open Records.

Intent to Avoid Sunshine

To hand recent drafts of certain agreements between Adventist Health Systems, Inc. (hence, ‘‘AHS’’) and the West Volusia Hospital Authority (hence, ‘‘Authority’’). Such drafts include including that section which says that the intent is to avoid sunshine as much as possible.

This is erroneous; public functions derive legitimacy from being done in plain view of the public. This principle is well established:

[20] For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. [21] But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
King James Version, at John 3:20,21. Long standing precedent favors performing legitimate acts where they may be seen, and hiding illegitimate activity.

Potential Legal Issues

More important from a lawyer’s perspective is the question of whether AHS, in operating the Facility, would be subject to Open Records and Sunshine. In my view, the opinion in Memorial Hospital-West Volusia, Inc., v News-Journal Corporation Slip Op 1999 WL 20562 (FLA 1999, #90835) speaks for itself. Your attorney will be able to offer more information.

The Authority now purposes to transfer its function of operating the Facility to AHS, along with related functions having to do with indigent care. The Authority would thus delegate its essential governmental function to AHS, and such a delegation carries with it the obligation to comply with Open Government.

It may be argued that as a private corporation, such laws do not apply. However, when a private corporation performs the service of a government, rather than a service to a government, it becomes in effect a part of the government and is thus subject to Open Government.

The classic example is the road paving company, which puts the asphalt where the County directs. Pouring asphalt is not part of the decision-making process, and is not subject to Open Government. Contrast the roads committee that decided which roads to build, and which is subject to Open Government. If the paving company were empowered to choose the roads to build, it would be subject to Open Government.

The core issue is whether an essential governmental function has been delegated. If so, then the public’s right of access follows. It is my intention to see that this right of access is not impeded in any way.


Tanner Andrews
CC: W.V.H.A. / P.O. Box 509 / DeLand 32721

Posting of this letter is a paid political advertisement provided by Tanner Andrews, P.O. Box 1208, DeLand 32721, independent of any campaign or committee. This material is on display at the offices of the West Volusia Hospital Authority. No candidate has approved this material.

from @(#)ahs0001.txt 1.0 01-Jun-2000

proc with @(#)hmac.ta2 1.1a 01-Jun-2000