In this evening’s City Council Meeting (8/20) there was an issue discussed regarding a vote on candidates for City Manager or Interim presented by someone representing the Florida League of Cities. During Council discussion one of the Councilors suggested that a vote couldn’t be held utilizing previously submitted choices by the two Councilors who were not in attendance; the City Attorney subsequently reiterated that since Council had already discussed and agreed, then could proceed.
During Public Comment, Mr. Bill McMullan pointed out that Florida Law prohibited votes by Councilors who were not actually in their chairs; he referenced a previous Councilor who wasn’t even allowed to participate by phone.
Since I am the former Councilor to whom Mr. McMullan referred, I’d like to clarify how wrong both Council and the City Attorney are on this issue. Our former City Attorney (and current County Commissioner) Burt Saunders opined during my tenure and Council agreed that Councilors could participate telephonically; subsequently when Mr. Gabriel became City Attorney the question was once again raised and he and his Firm emphatically pointed to the Florida Attorney General’s ruling that while volunteer boards might be able to participate remotely, City Councilors could not. Subsequently, I was no longer allowed to phone-in.
This is not the first time I have taken this Council to task for flaunting rules and having the City Attorney stand by their actions. I won’t get into the details of the absurdity that followed in discussing possible managerial candidates, but I can’t sit idly by while this Council simply works on ‘rules of convenience’.
Former City Councilor