|The SAO sided with the BCC today; The Shade meeting the BCC held in October was legal and appropriate. The Sheriff and his lawyer--and anyone else who thought it was inappropriate--were and are wrong...|
The Chief Law Enforcement entity in the area, the State Attorneys Office, the "Super Judge" if you will, the office that decides what will be prosecuted and what will not be prosecuted, has spoken:
The State Attorney's Office has told the Sheriff and the Sheriff's lawyer that their complaint lodged against the BCC was unfounded and without merit.
As I correctly predicted back in October right after we held this shade meeting-- because I knew all along it was perfectly legal and appropriate to do so--the State Attorney has now officially said that the shade meeting held by the Board of County Commissioners in October in response to the ECSO budget appeal was appropriate, comported with state law, and that the BCC violated neither the open meeting law nor the open records law.
Our attorneys and staff, as well as the BCC, were correct on this and the Sheriff and his lawyer were wrong.
We (BCC) were also 100% within our rights to not give the transcript of this meeting to ECSO when they demanded it--because under the law they are not yet entitled to receive it.
From the PNJ
"Greg Marcille, assistant state attorney, said the County Commission complied with all noticing requirements for the meeting and listed multiple Florida Attorney General opinions and court cases citing that governmental entities are allowed to hold attorney-client sessions. 'For these reasons, it does not appear that the Escambia County Board of Commissioners violated the Sunshine Law by holding an attorney-client session," Marcille wrote. "Additionally no violations of the Florida Public Records law were committed..'The State Attorney's Office said the transcript can be kept confidential 'until such time as the litigation is concluded.' "