Last month the chairman of the Hernando County Aviation Authority, Gary Schraut, and a nonmember of the Aviation Authority, James Kimbrough, met with four of the five members of the Board of County Commissioners, individually: to complain and place blame on others for failing to follow and disregard procedures relating to the prior Brooksville Air Center (BAC); to complain and place blame on others for starting a controversy regarding the award of the lease agreement to Corporate Jet Solutions with respect to the BAC; to complain and place blame on the fifth county commission member; and to seek remedy for the complaints.
Looking beyond the purported purpose of these meetings, this appears to be nothing more than an attempted smoke screen to hide serious faults that should have been laid at the feet of the Aviation Authority. It is obvious that the Aviation Authority was negligent for recommending the purchase of the BAC without doing the necessary due diligence.
Had the Aviation Authority done a proper and necessary background check and physical inspection of the real property, they would have found there was no certificate of occupancy issued for the property, final drawings that are inconsistent with what is actually in place on the property and serious safety issues.
The apparent smoke screen was a thin veil to cover the Aviation Authority deficiencies, the failure to adhere to accepted real estate procedures and a failure to identify safety issues prior to recommending purchase of the BAC. The smoke screen does not work.
Equally as important, the individual meetings themselves are against the law, a violation of Florida's Sunshine Law, FS 286.
".in Blackford v. School Board of Orange County 375 So 2d 578 (Fla. 5th DCA 1979), the court held that a series of scheduled successive meetings between the school superintendent and individual members of the school board were subject to the Sunshine Law. These meetings [were] held in 'rapid succession' in order to avoid a public airing of a controversial redistricting problem. The one-to-one meetings amounted to a de facto meeting of the school board in violation of s. 286.011 .." Government-In-The-Sunshine Manual, Office of the Attorney General, 2013 Edition, Volume 35, p.21.
The Sunshine Law is applicable to any meeting, formal or informal, of two or more members of a "board" to discuss matters that foreseeably may lead to action - Government-In-The-Sunshine Manual, p.22, citing various cases.
The real complaints here are the Aviation Authority's failure to follow accepted procedures with respect to real estate transactions, resulting in substantial expense to the county, and the Aviation Authority's violation of Florida State Law.
These deficiencies of the Aviation Authority need to be discussed openly during county commission sessions and a plan of action developed to ensure that these types of problems do not happen again. The Aviation Authority must understand and accept that it is merely an advisory board that must obey the law and follow accepted procedures.
I'd like to welcome Michael LaManna to Spring Hill and look forward to more letters from him. He's probably discovering that, politically, the folks of this area tend to be conservative, which I suspect was not the case where he used to live, and their letters reflect that.
So, too, do most of the Op-Ed pieces written by local columnists. Mr. LaManna will also quickly discover that conservatives are not the only ones who write less than stellar letters or shape "facts" to fit the occasion.
Welcome aboard, sir.
John S.V. Weiss
It's not funny
Recently, the Jimmy Kimmel Show interviewed people on the sidewalk and asked them to recite "The Pledge of Allegiance." I realize that the show selected the dumbest answers in order to get a laugh. But it is so sad, that so many Americans cannot recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
On the same subject, there are many Americans who do not know the words to the Star-Spangled Banner. Today, as in the past, many Americans have sacrificed their lives in order to keep these words in our hearts.
When I was growing up during World War II, it would be unthinkable that our children would not recite the Pledge of Allegiance before class began. It would be unthinkable that at a sports event, people in the stands would not know the words to our National Anthem. Making fun of those who cannot recite the Pledge of Allegiance or know the words to our National Anthem is not funny. It is sad!