We’ve heard it said, that in the past, over yonder in Lauderdale Lakes, newly minted Commissioners have taken a pass on certain matters. That is, they’ve abstained from voting due to their “rookie status.”
That friends, quite simply, if true, is illegal.
286.012 Voting requirement at meetings of governmental bodies.—No member of any state, county, or municipal governmental board, commission, or agency who is present at any meeting of any such body at which an official decision, ruling, or other official act is to be taken or adopted may abstain from voting in regard to any such decision, ruling, or act; and a vote shall be recorded or counted for each such member present, except when, with respect to any such member, there is, or appears to be, a possible conflict of interest under the provisions of s. 112.311, s. 112.313, or s. 112.3143. In such cases, said member shall comply with the disclosure requirements of s. 112.3143.
Here’s how it works:
- An elected official *must* vote on every matter that comes before them.
- The only exceptions would involve voting of matters where a conflict of interest, or a perceived conflict of interest, exists.
- Should a Commissioner take a mulligan because of such, they *must* publicly declare the conflict, and then within 15 days, file a Form 8b.
Failure to do so is a no-no. Lying, or misleading on your 8b(s), is a criminal offense (see Poitier, Sylvia).
Now, how does this play out in the real world?
If, during next week’s commission’s meeting and/or workshop, newly elected City Commissioner Eileen Rathery finds herself abstaining from a vote involving the “evaluation of “:JA:”, then well, she can expect us to file a complaint with the proper authorities.
As we’ve been told Rathery (a) doesn’t like Allen, (b) wants to do the right thing, and (c) has a good head on her shoulders, then we’ll not need to venture down that path.