Guidelines

I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.








Monday, December 4, 2017

Drilling a Dry Hole Part II


Because the ECSO has now, through their attorney Gerald Champagne, filed a criminal complaint against the Board of County Commissioners, I feel compelled to speak up about this ridiculous, rubbish-filled, nonsensical complaint.

The relevant portion of the complaint, as ridiculous as it reads, does allege serious misconduct –and it should be addressed, and is being addressed, in a very serious manner…. The relevant excerpt reads as follows:

"On Behalf of Sheriff Morgan, we respectfully request that you initiate an investigation into this meeting on the basis that it was wrongfully closed to the public in violation of Section 286.011 (8), Florida Statutes (2017)."

If we have indeed violated the open meeting law (which Eric knows we didn’t, by the way)—there are potential criminal sanctions that could be imposed.  (A former Escambia CountyCommissioner and a former Escambia County School Board member each spent time in jail for violating the Florida Open Meeting and Public Records Laws).  So yes, when someone alleges something like this----This is an attack, an allegation I take very seriously.

But if we committed a crime by holding this meeting—why go to the SAO a month later? This makes no sense at all.  So I asked Eric Haines this very question on a Facebook back and forth he initiated with me after his office filed the complaint and the news broke on Rick’s Blog early Saturday…(I was aware of the complaint but had no intention of blogging about it unless it became media fodder, which it did on Saturday…..and thus my subsequent  Facebook post and blog post)

Eric Haines“…. I’m of the belief that your rationale is insufficient for a shade meeting…”

Me:  “You are being inefficient here Eric. You are a Florida Certified Law Enforcement Officer and so here's what you know: if you believe a crime has been committed (and apparently, you do judging from your vituperative objection to our legitimate shade meeting), and if you have probable cause that leads you to believe that a crime has been committed--you do not need to wait, Eric. You do not need to send an email a month after the fact to the SAO. You can draft a warrant to arrest all five (5) of us and take that warrant to a judge and see what happens; see if you would find ANY judge that, based upon this fact pattern, would countenance this ridiculous rubbish claim you are making. Good

 luck with that.”

Eric Haines:  “More words of peace and reconciliation from the bearer of olive branches...”

Eric Haines: (to another poster on the thread)” Jeff Bergosh apparently has no knowledge of the criminal justice process. One of the things required for a crime to occur is criminal intent. If the commissioners made the decision thinking they were within the law it more than likely wasn’t a criminal act.”

Me:  “Eric Haines , it appears that within your agency, the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. For example, here, below is Gerry’s (your lawyer) final paragraph to the state attorney requesting an investigation over this meeting.  

"On Behalf of Sheriff Morgan, we respectfully request that you initiate an investigation into this meeting on the basis that it was wrongfully closed to the public in violation of Section 286.011 (8), Florida Statutes (2017)."

To which you just now answered to the world on Facebook:

"One of the things required for a crime to occur is criminal intent. If the commissioners made the decision thinking they were within the law it more than likely wasn't a criminal act.

EXACTLY!—Congratulations, you cracked the case! (You should have just told Gerry this last week instead of wasting the SAO’s time requesting an investigation)”

Eric Haines: … I don’t know why you are upset. If we are incorrect about the shade meeting everything is status quo. If we are right, you just have to release the transcript that you are keeping from the public.”


Me:  Why did your lawyer request an investigation if all you wanted was a transcript? you are too clever by half. Let me break it down for you and connect the dots one by one.

The way to compel production of documents is contained in chapter 119 Florida Statutes; You file the matter in Circuit Court and the statute requires that the case be expedited on the docket.

You are being inefficient again, by going to the State Attorney and requesting the relief you seek but that only a judge can provide------if you are right.
Drilling a dry hole part II

2 comments:

Eric Haines said...

I’m not sure if you just have flaws in your logic or you are intentionally misdirecting. If the State Attorney Office was briefed on all the details about your shade meeting, why then would they ask your attorney for an explanation rather than just inform ECSO that they already looked at the issue, approved it, and the meeting was appropriate? It seems they want more information.
In addition, you ask us to take your attorneys decisions at face value. If everything your attorneys say is correct, why then after they (as well as the Clerk of the Court and her attorney) blessed the BOCC’s current LETF process did you seek out an Attorney General opinion to see if they were correct. Hypocrisy of Flawed Logic?

Jeff Bergosh said...

Eric, no misdirection at all. Re-read 286.011(8). (8) "Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1), any board or commission of any state agency or authority or any agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision, and the chief administrative or executive officer of the governmental entity, may meet in private with the entity’s attorney to discuss pending litigation to which the entity is presently a party before a court or administrative agency" What we did by having that meeting comports with statutes, was completely, thoroughly vetted by a team of lawyers six ways from Sunday, and was totally appropriate. The LETF process is a different discussion all together. Stop conflating issues, stay on task Eric.....stop breaking olive branches.....