Jeremy's Notebook

Sunshine Confessional

July 26, 2013

larry walkerPrior to discussing the sale of the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority’s 19-acre downtown property yesterday, board Chairman Larry Walker took a few minutes to shed light on what he described as a “possible” Sunshine Law violation.

“And to apologize for it, on my part, the failure to strictly abide by the Sunshine Law,” Walker explained.

The chairman relayed how a member of the ECUA’s Citizen Advisory Committee—on which he also sits—approached him after a meeting recently and suggested that the sale of the Main Street property be placed before the advisory committee.

“I told him that I sympathized with him,” Walker said.

The chairman said that he wanted to make notice of the incident, and that it could constitute a Sunshine violation if the board explored placing the matter before the advisory committee. The ECUA board approved moving forward with the sale yesterday—on a 4-1 vote—without any mention of putting the sale before the CAC.

ECUA board member Elvin McCorvey said that a member of the advisory committee had also approached him, wanting to discuss the same.

“But I did not discuss it with him,” McCorvey said. “As a matter of fact, I walked off and got in the truck.”

  • CJ Lewis July 27, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Well, according to the unofficial meeting minutes of July 17, posted to the ECUA website, the members of the ECUA Citizens’ Advisory Committee are: Lois Benson, Elvin McCorvey, Tim Common, Chuck Kimball, Dale Perkins, Louis Ritz, Hurey Smith, Larry Walker, Vicki Campbell, Michael Harmon, David Karasek and Kelley Thompson.

    Which member approached Walker, McCorvey and presumably the other ECUA Board members openly seeking to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of the Sunshine Law? Is ECUA going to investigate and remove that person or will ECUA just turn a blind eye? Moreover, what was that persons connection to any party involved in the deal?

    It sure seems very odd that ECUA Board members would serve on a Citizens Advisory Committee advising themselves. This is as if the County Commissioners also served on the County’s Planning Board making and approving their own recommendations, etc.