Guest Column: Community dialog and Sunshine Law
St Augustine, FL
Adjustments on the Vision Committee to accommodate the Sunshine Law point up the futility of local government managing community endeavors – like Mayor Joe Boles decreeing the 450th would be managed by the City Commission while the framework for a community-based organization was already in place.
The 1995 Vision Committee had ten planning element committees addressing a whole range of community interests. Today’s Vision Committee may plan a number of subcommittees, likely encumbered with restrictions.
City Attorney Ron Brown says, “If the Commission or the Visioning Committee appoint them and give them delegated authority to advise the Visioning Committee, the subcommittees would be subject to the Sunshine statutes.
“If the Visioning Committee members each hold a meeting where members of the public other than other members of the Visioning Committee may gather and offer comments to the Visioning Committee member, those meetings could fall outside the Sunshine statutes.”
Local government should serve the community by sanctioning – not appointing – the community to freely discuss and shape ideas for the future – and commemorations of the past.