Speaking of Sunshine Law Violations
The following email was written to Charlie Grapski for violating the Sunshine Law while he was a member of the Blue Ribbon Committee on County Finances. We all remember how Mr. Grapski accused a number of members of that committee of being unethical and bad, political actors. In the end, Mr. Grapski bogged the committee down so badly that the final report to the County Manager was nearly worthless.
Yawn . . . another committee, another town, another imaginary dragon for Mr. Grapski to slay. Yipeeeee.
I do not think that it is appropriate under the Sunshine Law for you to be responding/commenting to the BRC on Mr. Stringfellow's correspondance. This is one of the things the County Attorney talks about in his Sunshine Law briefing with Advisory Boards and
Committees: the members can receive from other members, but can not respond or comment back to the members. I beleive this is considered a 'meeting' and all meetings must be advertised. Potentially, this is something that could be voted on by the BRC. Of course I am not an Attorney but I encourage all BRC to NOT respond to any correspondance you receive on the BRC; bring your comments to the advertised/televised meeting. Thanks
--- Charles Grapski
> A memorandum - or just a thought. And this should be forwarded on to
> all persons who received this initial memorandum - or just a thought -
> and should be entered into the record of our committee.
> I find it interesting and enlightening that Mr.
> Stringfellow has raised
> this issue publicly - and has consulted two lawyers (albeit not the
> two lawyers on the committee) - who have stated to him that they
> believe he has an actionable complaint against me for my statements as
> a member of both this committee and the public. While I believe Mr.
> Stringfellow has failed to understand either the content or the point
> of my statements - I find it disappointing, as regards Mr.
> Stringfellow, that
> he believes he was "slandered" by my comments.
> Despite the legal
> advice Mr. Stringfellow was given - I believe my comments fail to meet
> any legal standard of "slander" - and I believe my comments were
> accurate although not as to the point as I intend to make them in the
> future. As for an apology - I can assure you - no such apology is
> necessary nor appropriate, as I believe my comments to be accurate and
> appropriate - and find the actions in question, of the committee, to
> 1) inappropriate; 2) inconsistent; 3) irresponsible; and 4) yes,
> unethical. I will be happy to further elaborate the details of my
> position as to each of these points at a later date
> - and will stand
> behind my position without regret. The irony, however, is that I do
> have some regret that Mr. Stringfellow felt personally attacked in
> this. I personally feel Mr. Stringfellow is one of the members of the
> Committee who is acting out of simple regard for the public and public
> service. Thus I would never have made such a claim as to Mr.
> Stringfellow's personal actions. My comments were addressed
> specifically to the committee as a whole - and in particular - to
> certain actions by a faction of the committee. I believe that my
> description of their actions as inappropriate and unethical is
> accurate and thus look forward to the opportunity of defending my
> positions in a court of law and hearing the details of the legal
> advice Mr.
> Stringfellow has obtained on this matter. Since Mr.
> Stringfellow has
> raised this issue to this level - I will state, for the record, that I
> do not believe that all members of the committee are acting with the
> same intent or standard as Mr. Stringfellow and other members of the
> committee. I believe they are acting out of their personal and
> particular interests without due regard for the public interest and
> the public good. I will certainly now make a point of articulating,
> in detail, in a more formal contribution as a member of the committee
> to our final product exactly what I mean by this and the basis of my
> analysis. As in any analysis, whether it be my analysis or Mr.
> Stringfellow's, it is only the analysis of one person - and has the
> inherent flaws of that basis. As flawed as one person's observation
> may be due to the inherent limits of being only one person - the merit
> of their claims will be based on the facts at hand, many of which are
> a matter of public record, and the arguments made with them. I look
> forward to the opportunity to placing these facts - and my arguments -
> into the public record. They will thereby stand or fall on their own
> merits and my ability to clearly articulate them.
> Once again, I am sorry that Mr. Stringfellow feels personally offended
> by my personal observations and analysis. I stand fully by my
> position, and therefore find no basis for a call for an apology, let
> alone such an action to be taken by myself. I do believe, however,
> that the work of this committee - as problematic as this committee was
> from the start - had been progressing in a positive manner until the
> end of December. Since that time I believe actions have been taken by
> what had been a minority faction, with the assistance of the chair,
> which I believe have undermined the integrity of the process and
> thereby the quality and indeed legitimacy of our final work product.
> Such actions include the holding of a meeting, not a full meeting of
> this committee and without the ability of the full committee to
> participate. This meeting which was formally held for a purpose of
> assisting the minority in writing a minority report but instead had a
> completely different purpose. It did not facilitate the minority to
> articulate their minority report in such a ways as to cooperate with
> each other within the framework of Florida's open meetings laws.
> Instead this meeting was used, and the record will show was intended
> to be used, to create a faction with a majority vote to fundamentally
> alter the work product of our committee. That faction then refused to
> have the matters they discussed fully and openly deliberated by the
> full committee - but used their manufactured majority to effectively
> use the force of numbers, rather than the merits of their positions,
> to change the report being developed by this committee.
> Much of what this
> manufactured majority was able to obtain through this procedural
> mechanism had been put before the full committee on numerous occasions
> in the past - and each time they were unable, when full discussion of
> the matter by all members of the committee took place, to obtain even
> a majority of support. By utilizing this procedural short-cut, the
> chair has allowed the committee to be effectively hijacked by a
> faction - however much they may have compromised with each other - to
> alter the work product produce in full committee over many months. I
> find this activity to be highly troubling - and to ironically have
> been used as a means to effectively quash the voice of individual
> members of the committee (and thus a minority), given the fact that it
> was purportedly done so as to help a minority articulate its voice.
> I believe that
> these actions are highly undemocratic and are inappropriate at any
> level of government. I believe, furthermore, that such actions
> constitute unethical behavior - as I believe any attempt to use the
> force of numbers to obtain an outcome, rather than the power of reason
> in full and open deliberation, to be a violation of the very ethical
> basis of government.
> These activities have tainted and thus undermined the work product of
> this committee. I no longer have confidence in the chair and I have
> serious doubts and reservations about the quality and significance of
> the final work product of this committee. As this committee has once
> again been extended in time - it may be the case, in the end, that
> these matters will be resolved in such a way that I can again support
> the Committee's report. At this time, however, I believe the report
> is no longer a reflection of the work of the whole committee - but now
> reflects, at least in part, the work of a faction of the
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Have a great day, XXXXXXXX