In an article that appeared earlier this week it has been reported that several city councilmen in Crestview, Florida have been charged with non-criminal violations of Florida’s Open Meetings Laws (aka “Sunshine Laws”). The councilmen are alleged to have traded as series of emails regarding public business.
One of the councilmen is also alleged to have deleted emails after a local radio station made a public records request for the emails. That would be a separate violation.
Whenever members of the same collegial body exchange emails they run the risk of violating Florida’s Open Meetings Laws. If they discuss issues that are before or likely to come before that collegial body they are likely in violation of the law. It is not surprising then, that many ethical public officials simply refrain from exchanging emails with other members of collegial bodies on which they serve. The ethical ones.