Lake Shore Hospital Authority: Jack Berry's Minimalist Agenda Shows Nothing Going On
Posted December 12, 2016 07:55 am
For months, Authority Manager Berry has turned his back on the public when they come to address the him and the Gov's Board.
COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Tonight at 5:15 pm, Governor Scott's Lake Shore Hospital Authority Board is scheduled to meet. According to Authority Manager Jack Berry's agenda, there is nothing going on: no new business; no old business. It is also unclear if Shands at Lakeshore (the hospital) will have a report or if Manager Berry will have any additions to his printed and improperly formatted staff report.
"What's Goin' On?"
This month the title of Authority Manager Berry's agenda seems to be taken from the Marvin Gaye tune, "What's Goin' On?"
The Authority agendas, generally minimalist by anyone's standard, give the barest of information.
Tonight's agenda shows no new business and no old business on the docket.
The Attorney General & the Courts
Since 1971, Florida Attorney Generals have opined that meeting notices without explanation of the matters pending before boards for action "has little meaning or value unless the public is informed that particular matters are pending and can choose whether or not to attend and participate in a meeting." (FL Attorney General Opinion, 1973)
In 1991, the 1st District Court of Appeals, the circuit in which the Authority resides, wrote: "The purpose of the notice requirement is to apprise the public of the pendency of matters that might affect their rights, afford them the opportunity to appear and present their views, and afford them a reasonable time to make an appearance if they wish."
In 2013, the Florida legislature passed what was known as SB50, which became codified in the statutes as Section 286.0114 of what is generally referred to as the "Sunshine" law.
SB50 required that the public must be given the right to speak during the decision making process.
If there are any matters pending before the Authority Board, they will be revealed tonight.
The Authority is required to post its agendas on the Authority website.
Criticizing the Governor's Board: Could be problematic
While this month's Authority agenda shows that there is nothing going on, Manager Berry removed the section called "public comments" and renamed it "Individual Appearances."
The "Individual Appearances" explanation is 118 words, three times longer than the Authority's published agenda.
It says one can't make "derogatory remarks about the Authority," its two person staff, which would appear to also include Manager Berry who is a contract employee, or the "hospital personnel."
Criticizing the President
Criticizing the President (Obama) or Obama Care (Affordable Care Act) has not been a problem, as Mr. Berry has repeatedly bashed Obama Care.
Neither has Mr. Berry, with the approval of the Board, had a problem criticizing members of the public; sitting idly by as speakers are mistimed; refusing to answer questions; and turning his back on citizens when they address the Board.
The right to criticize your government is the most fundamental right of Americans. It is a right guaranteed by the Unites States Constitution and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
It is not clear if Mr. Berry is looking only for compliments.
The public may find out tonight.
At the conclusion of Mr. Berry's notes regarding individual appearances, he wrote, "Thank you for your anticipated participation."
Tonight, the public may also discover if Manager Berry will continue to turn his back on members of the public who come to the lectern to address him and the Governor's board.
An interesting way to say, "Thank you."