Gov. Scott's Hand-Picked Lake Shore Hospital Authority: Trouble Following the Law, Again
Will Chairwoman Chancy cancel tonight's un-noticed meeting?
Posted Oct. 12, 2015 07:00 am | Updated Oct. 12, 03:45 pm**
COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Governor Scott's hand-picked Lake Shore Hospital Authority Board is having trouble following the law, again. Answerable only to Gov. Scott, the Authority Board, chaired by Lory Chancy and managed by political operative and former Repo Man, Jackson P. "Jack" Berry, is scheduled to meet tonight. Besides not posting the agenda on the Authority's website so that the public might know what is going on, the Chancy-Berry team, if it holds its meeting tonight, will have violated two other sections of Florida law.
Jack Berry: Nobody tells him what to do
Hospital Authority Manager Berry, a legend in North Central Florida, has an interesting track record after four decades on the political map. While the Chancy-Berry team continues not to post the Board's agendas to the Authority website, until after Board Meetings have occurred, tonight's Authority Board meeting does not meet the legal posting requirements.
The Florida Legislature created the Lake Shore Hospital Authority by a "special legislative act." Florida's Uniform Special District Accountability Act (the Act), Chapter 189 of the FL Statutes, is one of the laws under which the Lake Shore Hospital Authority operates. The Florida Legislature has oversight over the Authority.
Authority Attorney Fred Koberlein
Section 189.015 of the Act: "meetings; notice; required reports," requires the Authority to notify the County Commission of a schedule of its regular meetings. Requests to the County for this schedule have come up empty.
The Act also requires that the Authority shall [must] publish quarterly, semiannually, or annually in a newspaper of general paid circulation a schedule of its regular meetings, including the date, time, and location of each scheduled meeting.
The Act goes on to state that the "advertisement shall be placed in that portion of the newspaper where legal notices and classified advertisements appear."
A search of FloridaPublicNotices.com has come up empty. (search for Lake Shore Hospital Authority)
Tonight's Authority meeting has not been legally noticed.
Public Business: Florida Statute 286
Governor Rick Scott has appointed every member of the Authority Board.
The Authority must also follow FL Statute 286.011 (1): All meetings of any board ... at which official acts are to be taken are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times, and no resolution, rule, or formal action shall be considered binding except as taken or made at such meeting. The board or commission must provide reasonable notice of all such meetings.
The Lake Shore Hospital Authority is supposed to meet tonight.
There are penalties for violating the law.
FL statute 286.011 (3)(a) is clear and unambiguous: Any public officer who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a noncriminal infraction, punishable by fine not exceeding $500. Jackson P. "Jack" Berry falls under this provision.
FL statute 286.011 (3)(b) is also clear and unambiguous: Any person who is a member of a board or commission or of any state agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision who knowingly violates the provisions of this section by attending a meeting not held in accordance with the provisions hereof is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.
Chairwoman Chancy and the rest of Governor Scott's appointees fall under section (3)(b) above.
** Sometime during the afternoon the Authority cancelled the October 12 meeting and moved it to October 26, without any explanation or notice.
It will be interesting to see what the Governor's squirrely Lake Shore Hospital Authority tries to pull out of its hat this time.
A search of Florida Legal Notices and inquires to the County have come up empty and every indication is that the Authority has not met the notice requirements of the Florida statutes.
If the Authority holds its meeting and cannot come up with any of the required notices, the next move should be that of the State Attorney.