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Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Lake City News

City Manager Removes Photo Ban From Proposed Rules, Iron Fisted Police Power Remains

LAKE CITY, FL – Tonight's City Council meeting has City Manager (CM) Wendell Johnson's Rules of Procedure back on the Council's agenda. Removed from the City Manager's Rules is his photo ban, which not one City Council Member spoke against. Following in the footsteps of the Governor appointed Lake Shore Hospital Authority and its Manager, CM Johnson's iron fisted police rules remain.

Originally proposed on November 17, 2013, without any dissent from the City Council, City Manager Johnson proposed a photo ban which banned photos of Lake City's City Council members doing the work they were elected to do.

According to City Manager Johnson's emails, on November 20th, he was advised that the City's "policy (on photo opportunities) as written ... would be problematic if challenged through the courts."

During the December 3d City Council meeting, City Manager Johnson didn't mention that he was removing the photo ban.

Following in the footsteps of the Governor appointed Columbia County Lake Shore Hospital Authority and its Manager, CM Johnson's iron fisted police rules remain, specifically reliance on Section 871.01 of the Florida Statutes.

On the plus side, City Manager Johnson has incorporated in his proposed rules language which guarantees the public the right to comment and ask questions on regular agenda items coming before the City Council. In the past this has been discretionary and in the hands of the Mayor, however, Mayor Witt has never denied anyone the right to comment or ask questions.  

citizens will be given up to five (5) minutes to comment or ask questions about the agenda item. The Mayor must recognize all who wish to speak and have signed participation cards.

This is the third time during the past 30 days that a discussion of the Rules of Procedure  has been on the City Council agenda. City Manager Johnson listed the discussion under "New Business."

The City Manager did not prepare tonight's modified version of his rules with any way to determine what his changes are. 

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