Friday, July 24, 2015

ILLEGAL MEETINGS: A tale of two Cities: Both St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach violated state law by holding meetings outside their territorial limits with St. Johns County Commissioners

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.[3]
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E.  Speaks to 2014 Meeting Held Outside City Limits

I tried to explain in May, 2015 that it was illegal, rude and an appearance of impropriety and a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for the St. Augustine City Commission to meet at an inconvenient place, off-camera, with St. Johns County Commission.
No response from City Attorney Isabelle Lopez.
I filed an ADA complaint with USDOJ.
No response from City Attorney Isabelle Lopez.
Now, I've found three Florida Attorney General's rulings (in 1975, 2003 and 2008), holding that it is illegal for a City to meet outside its territorial jurisdiction, for any reason.
I've written the respective City lawyers and managers of St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach:

Sent: Fri, Jul 24, 2015 5:20 am
Subject: Request No. 2015-255: No legal authority for CIty Commissions ever to meet outside City limits, correct? Do COSA and SAB City Commissions have to re-vote items done outside City limits?

Dear Isabelle, Doug, Max, Ali and Patrick:
1. Please send any contrary legal authority or advice that would ever again let the COSA or SAB City Commissions to meet outside their respective CIty limits. City Commissions have no legal authority to meet outside City limits, while County Commissions may meet anywhere within their counties. Please see Florida Attorney General Opinions 75-139, 2003-03 and 2008-1; Art. VIII, s. 2(c), Fla. Const.;  F.S. 286.011. 
2. Do you all agree that it would be prudent for both City Commissions to re-vote any actions taken at meetings taking place outside City boundaries, and to hold all future meetings at our respective City Halls?  Again, the County Commission may meet anywhere in the county, but City Commission meetings may not be held outside the City for any reason. Florida Attorney General Opinions 75-139, 2003-03 and 2008-1.    ( I thought the City of St. Augustine learned this lesson as a result of its planned "business meetings" in Spain, and eighteen of us hiring Holland & Knight pro bono to stop this illegal plan. )
3. Please send the minutes of all COSA or SAB meetings held outside City limits where any action was voted; such votes are void until retaken, correct?
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

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