The Town Meeting That Never Was

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The town of Fort Myers Beach sent out an official press release Wednesday evening that stated a Town Council meeting scheduled for 1PM that day was canceled due to “improper noticing.”

The town YouTube page was running live ready to broadcast the meeting but the meeting never actually started. It was decided shortly before 1PM by council members and Town Attorney John Herin that the meeting was not properly noticed to the public. To avoid any possibility that a complaint could be filed with the state which might have led to decisions being voided, the meeting was canceled.

We asked the town for a link, post or screen grab of the meeting notice from last week but we never heard back from anyone.

Florida’s Sunshine Law states that “reasonable notice” needs to be given to the public about open meetings. Wednesday’s 1PM meeting was not given reasonable notice. An e-mail was sent out about the meeting by the town at 11:10AM Wednesday morning.
While “reasonable notice” is vague, there’s a general understanding that at least 48 hours notice is reasonable unless there’s an emergency. Choosing who will be the next Town Attorney is not an emergency, nor was an emergency meeting called. Of course, the more notice an elected body gives for a meeting the better.

Another meeting to choose a new (or old) Town Attorney has been scheduled for Monday at 10AM at Diamondhead. There will be a 15-minute meet and greet with the two law firms interested in the job, one of them being current Town Attorney John Herin’s firm.

Councilman John King posted this note to his Facebook page: “I sincerely apologize to the residents of Fort Myers Beach for the colossal error, in lack of proper notice, that led to today’s meeting with Town Attorney candidates being rescheduled. I am working to ensure that mistakes like this do not happen again.”

 

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