Monday, December 10, 2018

Where's the fire? It appears there is smoke. Vice Mayor John DuBois has called a Special Council Meeting for Monday, December 17, 2018 at 11:30 AM

Well, isn't that special, Palmetto Bay's Vice Mayor deems it necessary to call a special council meeting. The reasons for calling appear to me to be cryptic and, therefore, do not meet transparency goals.

At least I never called a meeting for mid-day on a workday - 11:30 AM.  

What is so special? Where is the memo?  I see nothing for action, this is a discussion only meeting, which does not appear to be a Special Council Meeting, but instead a special, rescheduled Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting.

Therefore, my first question is why is a special council meeting noticed, especially where the Vice Mayor can (re)schedule a public workshop which requires the same notice and, speaking about notice, there is no ACTION noticed to be taken a this meeting. 

This is all I know (as of 1:00 PM on Monday, December 10, 2018)

CLICK HERE to view the official notice posted on the Official Village Website:

Monday, December 17, 2018 - 11:30 AM 
Village Hall Municipal Center, 9705 East Hibiscus Street

The Village of Palmetto Bay shall be conducting a Special Council Meeting on Monday, December 17, 2018 at approximately 11:30 a.m. at Village Hall, 9705 E. Hibiscus Street, Palmetto Bay, FL 33157. This Special Council Meeting was called by Vice Mayor John DuBois for the purposes of discussing compliance with state law, regulatory requirements, process, policy, and contractual obligations for acquisition of real property by the Village, including past and future acquisitions of real property. (Emphasis added)


Special council meetings have their place (I called them often to deal with specific issue and often due to needless cancellations of Committee of the Whole (COW) Meetings.  I see that this council continues in the tradition of cancelling COWs - see the Village Meetings page:

The Village Council shall hold Committee of the Whole Workshops starting at 7:00 pm on the following third Wednesdays of the month at the Village Hall Council Chambers, 9705 East Hibiscus Street, Palmetto Bay, FL 33157:

    December 20, 2017 (Canceled)


There has always been a problem with council members who do not want to keep the commitment of the regularly scheduled COW, then (predictably) something comes up.  This is why regular council meeting agendas getting so filled up, meetings taking long and then necessitating special or roll over meetings to complete the agendas. 

Please note the specific council rule of procedure [conspicuously listed on the notice page (link above)]:
The Committee of the Whole Meetings may be cancelled only upon a vote of four Councilmembers at the first Regular Council Meeting of the month in which the Committee of the Whole is scheduled. The Committee of the Whole Workshop(s) schedule for 2018 was adopted via Resolution No. 2017-106 by the Village Council. 
The question is why this discussion point was not raised at any vote taken at the December 5 council meeting as a reason for a rescheduling rather than a cancellation with a subsequent and surprise call for a Special Council Meeting?

         Sec.2-44. - Meetings.
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(b)  Special meetings. Special meetings may be held on the call of the mayor or three councilmembers upon no less than 48 hours' notice to the public, or such shorter time as a majority of the council deems necessary in case of an emergency affecting the life, health, property or the public peace. Upon receipt of a call for a special meeting, the village clerk shall immediately give notice to each member of the council, stating the date, time, place and specific purpose of the meeting. If the village clerk is unable to give notice to each councilmember, upon the exercise of reasonable diligence, the failure to contact a member shall not affect the legality of the meeting so long as a quorum is present. An agenda shall be prepared for the meeting and no other items may be added, discussed or acted upon at the meeting.

(c)  Workshops. The village council may schedule workshops to discuss any public business. A workshop is an informal meeting of the council. No action may be taken at a workshop, but action may be referred to the council. Notice of a workshop shall be given to the public no less than 48 hours before the meeting. The notice shall advise whether the council desires public comments during the workshop.

(d)  Public meetings . All regular and special council meetings, and all workshops, shall be open to, and reasonably accessible by, the public. Certain meetings, such as attorney-client meetings on pending litigation, shall be closed to the public as expressly provided by law.

***  ***  ***
So then, as I started this blog post, why is a special council meeting noticed, especially where the workshop requires the same notice and, speaking about notice, there is no ACTION noticed to be taken a this meeting? The fear is that action will be taken, without proper notice to the public being given.

I guess (guess being operative word, as it is not clear from the notice) we will have to wait for midday Monday, December 17, 2018, for those who can attend to determine why it is so important to have this (what amounts to a) rescheduled workshop under Sec. 2-44 (b) & (c) of the Village Code.

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