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07.31.2003 INDEX CITY COUNCIL MINUTES July 31, 2003 1. Called to Order/Roll Call of Members................................... Page 1 2. General Overview of Topics............................................... Page 1 3. Sunshine Law................................................................ Page 1 4. Voting Requirements........................................................ Page 2 5. Miami-Dade County Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics Ordinance & State Ethics Law and Reporting Requirements.......... Page 2 6. Public Records................................................................ Page 2 7. Reimbursement of Expenses................................................ Page 3 8. Future Workshops................................................................................ Page 3 9. Adjournment .................................................................. Page 3 CITY OF MIAMI GARDENS CITY COUNCIL WORKSHOP Miami Norland Senior High School Miami Gardens, FL Thursday, July 31, 2003 at 7:00 p.m. I. CALL TO ORDER The Meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. The following Members of the City Council were present: Mayor Shirley Gibson Vice Mayor Aaron Campbell, Jr. Council Member Barbara Watson Council Member Audrey J. King Council Member Melvin L. Bratton Council Member Sharon Pritchett Council Member Oscar Braynon, II The following staff members were present: Interim City Attorney Hans Ottinot Acting City Clerk Meighan Pier Transitional Coordinator William J. Green II. GENERAL OVERVIEW OF TOPICS Attorney Ottinot provided a brief explanation of the topics to be discussed, specifically the Florida Sunshine Laws, Voting Requirements, Public Records Law, and Reimbursement of Expenses. He noted that Attorney Ardyth Walker would be explaining the Miami-Dade County Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics Ordinance and the State Ethics Law and Reporting Requirement. Attorney Ottinot provided an explanation with regard to Attorney Walker's background. III. SUNSHINE LAW Attorney Ottinot explained the purpose of the Florida Sunshine Law, noting that there are two major components to the Sunshine Law: public, reasonable notice requirements; and, prohibition of private discussion among members of a public body. He further advised that private meetings are permitted only with specific notice and only with regard to litigation against the City, adding that the Clerk is prohibited from this meeting, rather a court reporter is hired for these events. Attorney Ottinot noted that advisory committees are also required to comply with the requirements of the Sunshine Law and that certain staff committees, such as those with recommendation authority, may be governed by the Sunshine Law. Attorney Ottinot noted that the penalty for intentional violation of the Sunshine Law is a second degree misdemeanor, which could also result in removal from office by Minutes of the Workshop on Sunshine Law&Ethics City of Miami Gardens July 31,2003 Page 1 of 3 the Governor. He added that unintentional violations may result in a fine up to $500.00. IV. VOTING REQUIREMENTS Attorney Ottinot explained that the provision of voting requirements, specifically the failure to vote. Councilmember King asked if the City Attorney is tasked with the duty to advise the Council if an incorrect action has taken place by the Council. Attorney Ottinot responded that it would be his professional responsibility to advise the Council if he were aware of a violation. V. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY CONFLICT OF INTEREST AND CODE OF ETHICS ORDINANCE & STATE ETHICS LAW AND REPORTING REQUIREMENTS Attorney Walker advised that it is important to be prudent with regard to the Ordinances concerning Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics. She provided information regarding accepting gifts or non-monetary compensation in exchange for favor, anti-nepotism provision, prohibitions concerning exploitation of official position, and other matters. Attorney Walker noted that Financial Disclosure is required and must be provided on an annual basis. She concluded that every violation of the conflict of interest laws is a criminal violation. Mayor Gibson asked if an entity or group sponsors an event for a Council member, would the affair be required to be disclosed. Attorney Walker advised that the Council person should ask for the total cost of the affair and then divide for the number of people and report the cost gained by the Council person. Council Member Bratton asked at what point must a Council Member recuse himself if he feels there is a conflict of interest. Attorney Walker responded that the Council Member should recuse himself at the time of voting. VI. PUBLIC RECORDS Attorney Ottinot provided a brief explanation of the public records law. He noted that certain individuals are exempt from providing personal information, but in general, Council Members' personal information would be required to be disclosed. He provided the definition of a public record and those items that would be exempt. He concluded that the Courts have favored a liberal interpretation of items that are required to be disclosed under Public Records law. Minutes of the Workshop on Sunshine Law&Ethics City of Miami Gardens July 31,2003 Page 2 of 3 Vice Mayor Campbell asked for further clarification. Attorney Ottinot provided the statutory reference concerning exempt individuals. VII. REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES Attorney Ottinot provided explanation with regard to reimbursement of expense to public employees. He referred to the Charter provision noting that authorized employees and Council Members may be authorized for reimbursement of expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties limited to no more than $1,200.00 per month. He noted that the City of Miami Gardens is governed by State regulations until such time as the City adopts its own ordinance. Following brief discussion, Council Member Watson requested reimbursement ordinances of other cities be provided. She asked staff to create a mileage log for Council Member's use. VIII. FUTURE WORKSHOPS Mayor Gibson advised that Charter, Zoning and Budget Workshops are forthcoming. Mr. Green advised that the Zoning Workshop is scheduled for August 14; the Budget Workshops are scheduled for September 8 and 22. IX. ADJOURNMENT Vice Mayor Campbell thanked the public for their attendance. Mayor Gibson encouraged all to continue to be involved. The meeting concluded at 7:55 p.m. Prepared and submitted by: Meighan J. Pier, Acting City Clerk Adopted by the City Council on this day of September, 2003. Shirley Gibson, Mayor Minutes of the Workshop on Sunshine Law&Ethics City of Miami Gardens July 31,2003 Page 3 of 3