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Politics / Issues

Governor, Cabinet Reach Settlement in Sunshine Law Lawsuit

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Credit Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Gov. Rick Scott and the cabinet have worked out a pending settlement agreement in a Sunshine Law lawsuit.

The suit was sparked over the firing of former Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey.

Attorney Andrea Flynn Mogensen represents the plaintiffs, which include several media outlets. She said Bailey’s firing was done behind closed doors.

The governor and the cabinet will have a do over when it comes to appointing the head of the FDLE. It will be done under the new policies and procedures outlined in the settlement.

She said the cabinet adopted guidelines in March regarding the open vetting of governor-appointed candidates. Those will become law.

The settlement – among other things – also sets a policy that when a cabinet member receives a communication in a private email regarding public business, they will promptly forward it to their government email addresses.

She said this case serves as a reminder of what the public is entitled to.

“It’s easy to look at government function as a business because people get up and go to work and do government work every day. It’s easy to forget that it’s not just regular business as usual. It has to be done in a particular way because it’s public business and the Sunshine Law applies to public business and it must be transacted in the sunshine and that’s for the benefit of the public,” she said.

The governor and cabinet could vote on approving the settlement at their next meeting later this month.

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