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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Marco council’s closed-door consensus raises questions - Naples Daily News

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Marco Island’s 7 metropolis council members, City Director Bill Moss and lawyers Alan Gabriel and Dan Abbott left a backroom behind the council Chambers Monday afternoon with a determination to appeal a recent Coal Miner County Court opinion declaring Marco’s boat anchoring regulation unconstitutional.

Council President Microphone Minozzi pronounced the consequence once everyone had settled in his place for the city’s regularly scheduled unfastened meeting.

“Before we acquire started with the meeting, I would wish to notice on the closed session that we had,” Minozzi said. “It is the general agreement belief of the Marco Island City Council that the metropolis go on its attempts to support its anchoring regulation through entreaty if necessary. And so the attorney-client session is now terminated.”

And that was the last reference of the decision, salvage Gabriel requesting another closed council session on the substance next month.

When told how it all went down Barbara Peterson, president of the First Amendment Foundation, a state open-government organisation supported by the mass media including the Daily News, had a thought.

“That sounds like Zorc,” she said.

Zorc’s not some foreign slang term, but rather stenography for a 1998 Sunlight State Court of Appeals opinion where the City of Vero Beach was establish to have got violated the Sunshine Law for taking “decisive action” inch a closed council session.

So did Minozzi’s dictum mean value the council took “decisive action”? Those in the meeting were uncomfortable discussing the matter, they said, because the tribunal lawsuit is ongoing. But it looks general understanding was reached by more than than simply a self-generated agreement and less than a formal motion.

Council members Rob Popoff and Terri DiSciullo said there was nodding and verbal acquiescence among the council members.

“There was a nod of caputs when looking around the room and people saying, ‘Yeah,’” Popoff said.

Minozzi said there was a feeling in the room after everyone had spoken their heads about the sentiment of the council.

“Sometimes you can just state from the treatment what the general agreement is,” helium said.

Minozzi said at one point he asked if the council had reached a decision.

“I said, ‘Is there a general agreement here?’ And then people responded,” Minozzi said, adding that no 1 said “no” after he asked the question.

That procedure did not represent an action, council members and Gabriel, the metropolis attorney, said.

“There was no formal vote,” Gabriel said. “It was like a workshop. People just sat and talked.”

“There wasn’t A ballot taken,” Councilman John Glenn Benjamin Ricketson Tucker echoed. “If there was a ballot to take we would have got done it in a public meeting. Earlier we had decided to continue with prosecution. We simply had a general agreement not to restrict that.”

When advice turns into decisive action looks to be vague in the cloudy nether parts of Sunshine State law. The determination in the lawsuit of Frank L. Zorc versus the City of Vero Beach states “there is no bright-line rule” to that effect. In Zorc, the Vero Beach council passed a movement behind closed doors. A determination made by the same tribunal of entreaty from Zorc four old age later establish the City of Dania Beach did not go against the Sunlight Law because treatments in a closed meeting there “clearly had no formal concluding effect.”

Questions over Marco council’s action on Monday afternoon are the up-to-the-minute in an increasingly tangled web of Sunlight Law issues related to the boat anchoring case. The Daily News formally objected to the meeting even being held at all on Monday. Editor Phil Jerry Lee Lewis said the meeting went beyond the Sunlight State statutory freedom to the Sunshine Law which restricts closed-door Sessions to colony dialogues or scheme sessions related to judicial proceeding expenditures.

What do this lawsuit different from others, Petersen and Jerry Lee Lewis said, is that it affects the metropolis lawyer prosecuting a criminal violation, not a civil situation.

That do verbatim copies from the meetings critical to find Sunlight Law compliance, Petersen said. Gabriel have denied a Daily News petition for copies from two anterior closed meetings in the case, saying the judicial proceeding is ongoing.

“There’s A immense tin of worms here,” Petersen said. “It’s very complicated. It really will depend on what’s inch the transcripts.”

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