Commission Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the December 18, 2023 Commission Workshop

The Workshop of the Lady Lake Town Commission was held in the Commission Chambers at Lady Lake Town Hall, 409 Fennell Blvd., Lady Lake, Florida, with Mayor Ed Freeman presiding. The meeting convened at 4:00 pm.

Call to Order

Mayor Ed Freeman

Commissioner (Ward) Present
Regan (Four) YES
Roberts (One) YES
Gourlie (Two) YES
Freeman (Three) YES
Sage (Five) YES

STAFF PRESENT

Bill Lawrence, Town Manager; Aly Herman, Library Director; Elisha Pappacoda, Communication Director; Thad Carroll, Growth Management Director; Steve Hunt, Police Chief; Leon Platt, System Analyst; Nancy Wilson, Town Clerk

Derek Schroth, Town Attorney and Taylor Tremel, Assistant Attorney were also present.

NEW BUSINESS

Review of Commission Meeting Protocol and the Sunshine Law

Town Attorney Derek Schroth presented an overview of the Sunshine Law explaining who is covered, requirements of the law, what constitutes a meeting, and gave examples of Sunshine Law violations and how they are handled.

Commissioner Sage stated that he does a lot of social media for the historic side of the Villages and asked if he can pose a question on an issue to those on his social media site. Mr. Schroth answered that he can but any transmission concerning public business becomes a public record.

Mr. Schroth defined and gave examples of public records and provided rules to avoid public record problems.

Mr. Schroth next discussed ethics law, disclosure and misuse of public position which can result in unauthorized compensation or benefit. If a conflict of interest occurs, a commission member should recuse him or herself and disclose the conflict on an Ethics Disclosure Form.

Commissioner Roberts stated that an acquaintance sent her a personal email about town business. How should that be handled. Mr. Schroth responded that she should reply and copy the clerk. The point is to not be in possession of a public record.

Mayor Freeman asked if town business related emails are sent to his personal email (thus becoming a public record) can he not just forward those to his town email for retention? Mr. Schroth answered that he could.

Commissioner Gourlie asked if an issue not on the agenda can be discussed at a public meeting. Mr. Schroth answered that it can be discussed.

Commissioner Roberts asked if even forwarding an event posting from her personal email is a violation. The answer was simply that her personal email should not be utilized for any town business.

Commissioner Sage said he has a business conducting kayaking tours and asked if it would be a violation or conflict if a town employee paid to take one of his tours. Mr. Schroth responded that it would not be a conflict if in the regular course of his business, town employees paid for his tours. It is only problematic if they are solicited, and undue pressure is applied to use his business. Mr. Schroth added that something of nominal value is not considered a “gift”.

Commissioner Sage said he had discussions with the other commissioners before the meeting and asked if he was in violation of the Sunshine Law. Mr. Schroth said he was not unless he discussed town business.

Town Attorney Schroth went into detail about quasi-judicial proceedings and the disclosure of ex-parte communications to answer other questions posed by the commissioners.

Adjourn

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:55 p.m.

s/ Nancy Wilson, Town Clerk

s/ Ed Freeman, Mayor