To the Board:
Attorney Bill Sherman has provided some insight into §286.11, Florida Statutes. In his advice to the Board, he states that so long as public input is allowed at any time before the meeting is adjourned, that action taken during prohibition of public input is valid. His argument is that, so long as the meeting is not adjourned, the matter might be re-opened and thus the requirement for public input is satisfied.
I believe that he is wrong in this matter. The courts also seem to disagree with him, repeatedly emphasising the importance of allowing timely public input at all stages of policy formulation.
His argument is, essentially, that so long as an action could in theory be re-considered, the requirement for timely public input has been satisfied. Since a motion for reconsideration is possible at any point, including subsequent meetings, his argument would permit public input to be entirely refused on the theory that it might be allowed at a future meeting. His test, that a matter could be re-considered, is clearly an inadequate guarantee of timely public input into policy-making.
Permitting input only after a decision has been made is clearly on its face useless, and a violation of statutes. Still, let us give Mr. Sherman credit for an amusing attempt and a creative interpretation of the statutes.
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.