Editorial: In public is the only way to handle public business, Marco Island City Council

We have written this editorial so often that we could draw up a template and simply change out the names of the ill-advised government agencies and the issues they discuss.

Whatever those details — or blanks — may be, the bottom line tends to be the same: when Florida’s open government or Sunshine Laws are set aside, good judgment suffers.

The latest example is from Marco Island, where newly released transcripts of executive — initially and legally closed to the public — meetings show City Council members used odd logic and even discussed altering public records of that to fight a 2006 challenge of city boat mooring rules.

The transcripts show council insisted on moving ahead with its defense despite legal counsel’s advice otherwise, because some on council were jealous of the plaintiff and his “folk hero” media attention and wanted to please a political action committee putting up money for the fight.

At one point, records show, council discussed strategies that could have violated Sunshine Laws, then discussed deleting that part of the discussion from the records which have been made public by law.

All of this may cause some readers, far from Marco Island, to snicker at the spectacle of public officials working with the blinds pulled as if the light would never be allowed in.

The rest of us see a larger principle at stake. We are reminded of the importance of these sunshine safeguards to democracy.

We end this editorial the same way as others in the past, by asking when the rest of our officials will learn what most already know — that the right way to conduct the public’s business is also the best way: Always act as if everyone is watching.

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 8

marcoislandres writes:

How come I do not see the authors name with the above story?
Guess NDN forgot to add it.

marcoredeagle writes:

An other example of the "not ready for prime time ... leaders of Marco Country Club (aka "City of Marco Country Club" ... where every council member is smarter and better looking than the average citizen)

jwputnam writes:

It is an editorial....obviously Bill Green wrote it.....and it is EXCELLENT!

EdFoster writes:

Why didn't the media report on the shade meetings held in connection with the city's "defense" against violations of the Clean Air Act? Far more important than a boating ordinance because it concerned public health and public welfare and far more revealing of the depths to which the Marco Island City Council will descend to prevent the truth from being revealed.

Ed Foster

grunt writes:

I suspect a challenge is on the way. Let's be patient!

happy6 writes:

BILL GREEN....you gotta be kidding....he could not possibly write that putnam...

lauralbi1 writes:

Yes, and after all the challenges and accusations by many of those above and others, the bottom line is that Mr. Kiester is the only Florida Councilman do ever have been convicted of violating these laws.
How about that !!!!!!!!!
Believe me when I tell you that all citizens of Marco will be reminded of this before the election takes place.
Ed Issler

marcojerry writes:

THE MARCO CITY COUNCIL APPROVED THE HIRING OF 3 NEW FIREFIGHTERS 2 YEARS AGO TO BE USED FOR THE LADDER TRUCK THAT THE FIRE DEPARTMENT HAS, YET THEY ENDED UP ON THE COLLIER COUNTY EMS AMBULANCE, WHEN THE FIRE DEPARTMENT ALREADY PUTS A FIREFIGHTER ON THE AMBULANCE, SO NOW 2 FIREFIGHTERS ARE ON THE AMBULANCE, PLUS AN EMS PARAMEDIC. MARCO IS THE ONLY PLACE WHERE THREE PEOPLE ARE ON THE AMBULANCE AND NOW WE AS MARCO ISLAND TAX PAYERS ARE PAYING FOR TWO FIREFIGHTERS ON THE COUNTY AMBULANCE WHEN THEY SHOULD BE ON A FIRE ENGINE. EMS IS BILLING THE CITIZENS AND VISITORS OF MARCO THAT THEY TRANSPORT WHEN THERE ARE 2 MARCO FIREFIGHTERS ON IT AND ONE EMS PARAMEDIC, YET MARCO SEE'S NONE OF THE MONEY MADE FROM TRANSPORTING PATIENTS. WHY ARE WE GIVING 2 FIREFIGHTERS TO EMS FOR FREE WHEN THEY ONLY HAVE ONE EMS PARAMEDIC ON THE AMBULANCE AND THE MARCO ISLAND TAXPAYER GETS TO PAY THE SALARIES OF 2 FIREFIGHTERS THAT ARE ESSENTIALLY WORKING FOR EMS? WE ARE SAVING EMS MONEY BY PAYING FOR PERSONNEL TO WORK FOR THEM AND SAVE THEM THE COST OF ANOTHER EMS EMPLOYEE WORKING ON THE AMBULANCE. THIS MAKES NO SENSE, WE AS MARCO ISLAND TAX PAYERS ARE GIVING 2 FIREFIGHTERS TO EMS FOR FREE WHILE THEY BILL PATIENTS OVER $1000 EVERY TIME THEY GO TO THE HOSPITAL, PLUS THEY GET $$$MILLIONS$$$ EACH YEAR FROM THE TAX BASE OF MARCO TOO, WE ARE GETTING SCREWED IN TWO WAYS!

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