Shade Sessions: SDM Was Right!
In August, SDM wrote PB: SDM Disagrees With Village Attorney Boutsis regarding the village attorney’s advice to the council on whether they could release the shade session transcripts before the Palmer litigation concluded:
SDM happens to agree with Ms. Boutsis that “the clear direction of the state legislature that you have this exemption through to the end of the litigation.” Where we diverge is on the question of whether the village has the option of releasing its transcripts whenever a majority of the council decides to do so.
Opining that the council must only release transcripts at the conclusion of the litigation violates the Sunshine Law’s basic principle that the public be granted the greatest access possible under our state’s constitution and laws.
Well, Attorney General Pam Bondi agrees with SDM. David Singer provided SDM a copy of an AG opinion letter dated September 12, 2013, which answers the question this way:
Therefore, it is my opinion that the Village of Palmetto Bay, as the collegial body to which it applies, may waive the exemption provided in section 286.011 (8), Florida Statutes, and release the transcripts of meetings held to discuss settlement negotiations or strategy sessions related to litigation expenditures prior to the conclusion of litigation. The waiver of this exemption would not constitute a violation of section 286.011 (3), Florida Statutes, as the early release of these transcripts would satisfy the requirement in subparagraph (8)(e) that the transcripts be made a part of the public record. (Emphasis added by SDM.)
SDM Says: The coast is clear. Release the shade sessions!
SDM will now attempt to deflate our already massive egos. :)