Prior to the Board’s discussion of the offending matter, I submitted a request to speak, that I might be heard before the action was taken. I regret that the chairman preferred not to hear from me at the appropriate time.

As most of you know, this Board is governed by §286.011, Florida Statutes, which is commonly known as the ‘‘Sunshine’’ law. That statute provides that all of your meetings are public meetings.

You should also be aware that the courts of the State of Florida have held that actions taken outside of public meeting are to be considered null and void from their beginning. They are not of legal effect.

The courts have held that, at public meetings such as this, the public has the right to be heard in a timely manner before decisions have been taken. This stand has been adopted by circuit courts and the Supreme Court of the State of Florida.

For instance, in Board of Public Instruction of Broward County v. Doran, the judges said ‘‘The right of the public to be present and to be heard during all phases of enactments by boards and commissions is a source of strength in our country. During past years, tendencies toward secrecy in public affairs have been subject to much criticism.’’ The court continued, ‘‘Regardless of their good intentions, these specified boards and commissions, through devious ways, should not be allowed to deprive the public of this inalienable right to be present and be heard at all deliberations wherein decisions affecting the public are being made. [emphasis added].

In Palm Beach v. Gradison, the Florida Supreme Court held that ‘‘Every meeting of any board, commission, or agency should be a marketplace of ideas, so that the government agency may have sufficient input from citizens who are going to be affected by the subsequent action of the municipalities.’’ This was cited by the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Krause v. Reno, and was later upheld by the Supreme Court.

In that case, the court continued to say that ‘‘In addition to this need for citizen input, representative government requires that it be responsive to the wishes of the governed, because that is the ultimate source of consent.’’ That is, it is not sufficient to sit and politely ignore the public, or doodle, or stare sullenly at your papers while hoping that the citizens will depart. The basis of our form of representative government requires that you reasonably represent the public.

In Palm Beach v. Gradison, and again in Blackford v. School Board of Orange County, the Florida Supreme Court held that actions taken in violation of §286.011 are null and void ab initio. Because you took action without the legally required input from the public, it was taken in violation of statute. Your policy is therefore null and void, and may not be placed into force.

• Board of Public Instruction of Broward County v. Doran, 224 So.2d 693 @699 (FLA 1969).
• City of Miami Beach v. Berns, 245 So.2d 38 @40.
• Krause v. Reno, 366 So.2d 1244.
• Town of Palm Beach v. Gradison, 296 So.2d 473.
• Blackford v. School Board of Orange County, 375 So.2d 578.

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 also on display at the offices of the West Volusia Hospital Authority. No candidate has approved this material.

from @(#)hosp9308a.txt 1.1 26-Jul-1993

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