PB: Roberts Rules Guest Post by Vice Mayor John Dubois
Below is a verbatim message posted as a comment to yesterday’s post PB: March 4 Council Meeting Quick Bites. SDM replies after Mr. Dubois’s comment.
SDM, You seem to spend a great deal of time reviewing and researching issues brought up at our council meetings and I applaud you for all the work you do. Below was my next day reaction to the RR controversy. It was not researched, rather, it was what I believed to be a common sense interpretation of the outcome of the sequence of events relating to the vote on the Coral Reef Park Master Plan. I am not an attorney, so, it may very well be incorrect but I would be interested in hearing your opinion as well as opinions from your readers that consider themselves subject matter experts.
We need to be careful not to follow one mistake with another.
To recap last night’s sequence of events;
Roberts Rules are procedural, Council Votes are legally binding.
The vote was cast 3-2 on item 11a – the master plan mod for CR Park.
Since a super majority of 4 out of 5 were required to pass this, it failed.
Whether the council person [Fiore] who made the motion spoke against the item in violation of Robert’s rules is irrelevant.
If that did happen, the chair could have stopped it as it was procedurally incorrect, however, she did not and the vote was legally binding and the master plan approval failed.
Therefore, subsequent actions based on Councilman Fiore’s incorrectly modified Nay vote by the City Attorney are legally null and void.
I Don’t think there is anything to discuss except the staff should figure out how to notify the residents of PB that the master plan vote for CR Park failed last night.
First, thanks for commenting Mr. Vice Mayor, especially since SDM wasn’t very nice to you in the main post.
Second, SDM is not sure exactly where the matter stands either.
Clearly, the village attorney is under a moral obligation at the very least (she may very well be under an ethical duty, too) to find a way to correct her error. If she fails to do so, can we as residents be sure the Coral Reef Park Master Plan was adopted legally and is therefore binding on the council?
And what about her other opinions? For example, SDM has not watched the meeting’s discussion on whether the village is required to release the transcripts of the shade sessions related to the Palmer litigation. However, according to the Miami Herald story on the meeting, Boutsis said “that while the appellate court has ruled on one case, the records cannot be released because they are intertwined with another Palmer Trinity case that is still open.”
SDM found a copy of the Florida Attorney General’s opinion letter to Ms. Boutsis where she asked questions related to this issue. The letter is somewhat dense, but the initial paragraphs make clear that Ms. Boutsis did not ask whether the statutory requirement of releasing transcripts at the conclusion of the litigation extended to other cases involving the same litigants.
SDM Says: Ms. Boutsis appears to be trying to break new legal ground by arguing that the village may withhold the shade session transcripts from the public because the phrase “ conclusion of the litigation” (a term that is defined in section 286.011, Florida Statutes) applies to multiple lawsuits, rather than to each lawsuit individually.
SDM Recommends In addition to asking Ms. Boutsis to explain her opinion on the Robert’s Rules of Order issue, you may want to ask her to explain in writing her statement regarding the shade session transcripts, which SDM sees as resting on a very shaky legal foundation.