|Playing Blind Man's Bluff with Millions of Dollars at Stake is neither intelligent nor fiscally responsible....|
.....If it is current litigation or an administrative proceeding with the potential for litigation---- and strategy must be formulated---a shade meeting is wholly appropriate for a body subject to the Florida Sunshine Law. As a matter of fact, over my 10 year tenure on the school board we had dozens and dozens of these meetings. Executive sessions are delineated in statute and in this particular case (Sheriff's Budget Appeal) we are on solid legal ground so far as I have been told by our County Attorney.
I understand that the Sheriff would like us to hold this meeting in public so that our thoughts, impressions, and strategies can be recorded and scrutinized--however with the potential of this proceeding going to the District Court of Appeals once the Governor rules on it (if in the unlikely event it goes that far) It would be ludicrous for us to even contemplate this course of action.
For those that feel this is somehow not appropriate or incorrect--please remember these proceedings have serious consequences and potentially as much as $2.7 Million Dollars are at stake and litigation is a distinct possibility if the Governor rules against us and forces us to raise taxes. Knowing the BCC has collectively (and individual members individually) a fiduciary responsibility to the County and our funds--it could be argued that to NOT hold this strategy session in the shade would be a blatant, irresponsible disregard for this fiduciary responsibility.
So would the unauthorized release of any strategy, ideas, impressions, or materials generated during this shade session prior to the completion of the entire process and appeals.
And after this whole affair is settled (or sooner), the transcripts of our shade meetings and all associated documents will be made available for scrutiny by the public, so nothing will stay hidden forever. Everything will come out.
But meanwhile, back at the ranch, we are in a situation not unlike a game of poker at the moment.
Interesting that some folks want us to play with our "hand" exposed on the table like a game of Blind Man's Bluff.