Moss says Sunshine Law compliance could lead to “a reign of terror”

COMMENTARY

“Moss’ concerns about Kramer’s shirt, and about the release of her emails, make clear she does not value free expression any more than she does open government.”

MARK SCHUMANN

Laura Moss
Laura Moss

Clearly smarting over press reports about emails she recently sent to City Attorney Wayne Coment, Utilities Commission Chairman and Vero Beach City Council candidate Laura Moss said today, “Personally, I don’t mind, but others might.” Moss also said not being able to engage in confidential written communication about official business could lead to “a reign of terror.”

Moss made her comments at the close of the Utilities Commission meeting, while she was questioning the City Clerk about the dissemination of public information. Moss does not seem to realize that, as a member of a City commission, her every written communication about public business is a public record. In fact, every written communication to a City employee, City Council member, or member of a citizen advisory commission about public business is also a public record, regardless of who sent it. Even if Moss were not a member of the Utilities Commission, her emails to Coment would be part of the public record.

The reporting that seem to have prompted Moss’ ire have to do with questions she raised about the appropriateness of Mayor Jay Kramer wearing in City Hall a shirt bearing a campaign logo. Moss’ concerns about Kramer’s shirt, and about the release of her emails, make clear she does not value free expression any more than she does open government.

In the past, the Indian River Shores Town Clerk declined to provide copies of invoices for legal services until the charges were approved by the Shores Town Council. Informed the invoices become a public record when they are received by the Town, the Shores’ Clerk now provides them upon request. The City, County and the Shores have always been responsive to public records requests. Issues arise when elected officials, or board members such as Moss, fail to provide copies of their correspondence to the appropriate steward of those records.

Further complaining about the timely release of public records, Moss referenced an incident during the time when the City was renegotiating its wholesale power agreement with the Orlando Utilities Commission.  Over a weekend, I spoke with the City’s special utility counsel and requested documents he had forwarded to the City Clerk’s Office. Because the request was made on a weekend day, I received the documents before they were distributed by the City Clerk to members of the Utilities Commission.

Last month, Moss wrote the chairman of the Florida Public Service Commission, but did not comply with the requirement that she forward her correspondence to the City Clerk’s Office. Moss’ rogue communication only came to light after it was shared with the City’s special utilities counsel.

Clearly, the timely release of public records troubles Moss.  Given her apparent aversion to transparency, perhaps she would be well suited to serve as a public information officer for the Trump or Clinton campaigns. After all, like Moss, neither Trump nor Clinton is a big fan of full and timely disclosure.

 

 

One comment

  1. Don’t you just want those days back where all government business was done behind closed doors? The electorate be damned!

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