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Posts tagged as: open government

Charges Against Ex-Elections Supervisor Weeks Reduced to Five, But Warrant Stands

| April 5, 2017

In almost two years of wrangling ex-Elections Supervisor Kim Weeks’s lawyers have reduced the 12 felony counts against her to five, but there appears little room left before either a trial or an out-of-court settlement.

Gov. Scott’s Office of Open Government Barricades Itself

| September 15, 2016

Florida once had one of the toughest sunshine laws in the country, and people were proud of that. But it’s no longer the case. Transparency has given way to talk–and barricades.

The Mostly Bogus Case Against Kimberle Weeks

| July 8, 2016

Ex-Elections Supervisor Kimberle Weeks was the most combative, distasteful, deceptive and ethically suspect elected official in the county, but she did not break the law with most of the “secret” recordings she made, contrary to the laundry list of felony counts against her.

From DCF to Pam Bondi, Nothing But Contempt for Florida’s Sunshine Law

| June 30, 2016

It’s been decades since Florida had an elected statewide official who paid much more than lip service to open government, and state and local agencies are taking advantage, showing more contempt than respect for the law, argues Florence Snyder.

Media and Orlando Go to Court Over City’s Censoring of Massacre’s 911 Calls

| June 23, 2016

The city of Orlando wants the court to help determine how to handle the unreleased portions of 911 emergency communications involving the June 12 massacre at the Pulse nightclub.

Citing Overreach, Senate Kills Public Record Exemption for Hunters’ Personal Information

| February 18, 2016

Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, welcomed the defeat of the bill, which she labeled “the Ted Nugent Act” because of publicity surrounding a bear hunt last year.

Against Mayor’s Opposition, Palm Coast Council Discovers Public Input at Workshops

| February 16, 2016

For the first time in 17 years the Palm Coast City Council will join other local governments in allowing public participation at council workshops, where most of the decisions are made, not just at “regular” meetings.

More Public Record Exemptions For Gun Owners, This Time For Hunters and Fishermen

| February 10, 2016

People getting hunting, fishing and boating licenses and certificates from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission would be shielded from public record disclosures.

County Administrator Is “Chastised” Over Cryptic Handling of Question in Open Forum

| October 9, 2015

Flagler County Commissioner Barbara Revels said she felt treated like “a bad girl” speaking out of turn when this week when Administrator Coffey would not openly address a question she raised about legislative priorities. Coffey later explained he’d mishandled the matter.

Ex-Supervisor Kimberle Weeks Billed Taxpayers $12,500 For 3 Lawyers and Misled Media

| August 7, 2015

The bills include $5,000 to defend herself in a state investigation that resulted, after she resigned, in 12 felony counts against her. She charged the bills to taxpayers.

Flagler Chamber Launches School For Business-Minded Political Candidates, But Behind Closed Doors

| July 31, 2015

The two-day school, held in private, will train a dozen potential candidates chosen by a secret chamber committee for their business focus. The sessions are scheduled for September.

Palm Coast Wants Protection From Extortionist Lawsuits Over Public Record Requests

| May 28, 2015

Palm Coast and the Florida League of Cities are seeking a change in law that would protect local governments from opportunistic groups more individuals who sue governments and companies over public record violations.

Secretary of Evasion: Hillary Clinton’s Entirely Non-Believable Email Spectacle

| March 10, 2015

Hillary Clinton’s explanation Tuesday of why she used a personal email account for official business made little sense and worsens her credibility gap.

Senate Panel Easily Clears Bill Granting Secrecy to Top College and University Job Applicants

| February 17, 2015

The Senate Higher Education Committee voted 7-2 to approve the measure (SB 182), which would exempt information about applicants for the jobs of president, provost or dean from the state’s open-records laws.

Is Your Facebook Account Private After You Die? Senate Bill Says Not So Fast.

| February 12, 2015

Florida Sen. Dorothy Hukill wants to permit online account access after an account holder has died. The Act seeks to open the book on our digital lives, even after we have uploaded to the great cloud in the sky, writes Peter Schorsch.

Florida Lawmakers Seek Secrecy For College and University Searches and Vetting of Candidates

| January 11, 2015

Pointing to the possibility of a “chilling effect” if word gets out, a House bill filed Friday would allow information to be kept confidential about people applying to become presidents, provosts or deans of state universities or colleges.

After “Doubling Down on Stupid,” Lakeland Is Forced to Pay $160,000 in Public Record Settlement

| November 24, 2014

A Lakeland resident filed the lawsuit against the city’s Police Department because the department insisted on illegally charging a flat $23.50 fee for routine requests instead of charging per page or for time worked.

FDLE Looking Into Alleged Secret Taping and Sunshine Violation by Elections Supervisor

| September 29, 2014

It’s the first step to an investigation of Kimberle Weeks, if laws are found to have been broken. It takes place on the heels of withering criticism of Weeks’s methods and questions by the county commission chairman about the integrity of the elections she is supervising.

County Calls Supervisor of Elections Kim Weeks’s Taping of a Conversation “Illegal”

| September 29, 2014

County Administrator Craig Coffey says Weeks’s secret recording of a conversation between the county attorney and a county commissioner on Aug. 25 was illegal, so was its distribution, though nothing in the recording speaks ill of either men in the conversation.

Appeals Court Orders City Government to Release “Shade” Meeting Transcript

| August 28, 2014

In a highly critical opinion, an appeals court Wednesday ordered the city of St. Pete Beach to release a transcript of a closed-door discussion about the settlement of a lawsuit.

Sunshine Lows: Cities and Counties Do a Lousy Job of Sharing Information With Citizens

| June 3, 2014

When the First Amendment Foundation publicized its transparency scorecard last month, it found that on average, cities and counties in Florida had lots of room for improvement in sharing the workings of government with the governed.

Sheriff’s Citizens Advisory Council More PR Than Input as Few Citizens and Board Members Show Up

| March 21, 2014

Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre created the Citizens Advisory Council to give residents’ complaints about the Sheriff’s Office a way to be heard directly and transparently. But two of the three council meetings were not advertised and none of the meetings has produced much more than PR for the sheriff.

Obama’s Free Press Problem: Why Reporters in the U.S. Now Need Protection

| November 29, 2013

The Obama administration has made the most concerted effort since the Nixon years to intimidate officials from talking to a reporter. Paul Steiger, Paul Steiger recipient of this year’s the Burton Benjamin Memorial award from the Committee to Protect Journalists, argues for a response.

Sunshine Week: Improving State Legislatures’ Transparency

| March 12, 2013

Think about the American Legislative Exchange Council’s secret lobbying in favor of “Stand Your Ground” legislation to at least 15 states. Lobbyists were backed by corporate special interests – a fact the public was left in the dark about. Additionally, there was little way to easily track how this law was passed in Florida. That’s just one example of the kind of copycat legislation peddled to state legislatures.

How Two Council Members, Out of View, Got WNZF to Back-Pedal on Synthetic Marijuana

| September 27, 2012

What was behind what sounded like a retraction on synthetic marijuana by WNZF’s David Ayres on his Free For All Friday show last week? Private discussions between Palm Coast Council member Bill McGuire with Mayor Jon Netts, and a letter Netts wrote Ayres, that the council never discussed openly–even as the council has yet to vote finally on the matter.

Florida House Candidate Bardley Maxwell Wants Government Employees’ Salaries Kept Secret

| July 23, 2012

Florida House candidate Bradley Maxwell wants to state workers’ salaries and benefits kept secret. He also wants personnel files kept sealed from public view. Maxwell is challenging two-term incumbent state Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee.

Stonehenge Justices: The U.S. Supreme Court’s Stuffy Ban on TV Cameras and Live Audio

| March 25, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ban on television cameras or live audio feed for its arguments, including this week’s on the health law, is absurd. The justices opposition to cameras rests on shabby reasoning and stuffed up conceits.

Sunshine Lessons Clouded By Possibly Dimmer Visibility as Jobs Council Meets for 1st Time

| November 23, 2011

Flagler’s nine-member Economic Development Council conducted the equivalent of a meet-and-greet for itself on Tuesday and promptly reversed a promise that all meetings would be televised live, opting instead for audio broadcasts.

Subtle Revelations as Commissioners Speed-Date Through 15 Job Council Candidates

| October 25, 2011

An inside look at today’s rapid-fire one-on-one job interviews with 15 of the 36 candidates looking to fill the county commission’s nine-member economic development council.

Flagler Sheriff’s Office Offers Free Web App To File Reports Or Glimpse Incidents

| July 8, 2011

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Department web application creates mobile-friendly access to its website’s most popular features, including real-time 911 calls and search of jail inmate bookings.

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