According to an article published in The Lakeland Ledger today, the Lakeland City Commission has been and will continue to engage in secret meetings with a group of local business leaders, including the Lakeland Economic Development Council (LEDC). The stated purpose of the meetings is to work toward the sale of Lakeland Electric.
The article claims that the LEDC is meeting with individual City Commissioners in order to avoid triggering Open Meetings laws. In other words, they seem to believe that so long as they keep the City Commissioners in separate rooms they can circumvent the law. That’s nonsense.
According to the Government-In-The-Sunshine-Manual, 2012 Edition, pages 21-22 this sort of nonsense has been tried before with the same result: courts have seen it for exactly what it is an ruled against public officials who’ve done it.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I’m not at all confident there shinanigans will survive a court challange.