Escambia County News Pensacola

Sunshine training coming for City of Pensacola and Greater Pensacola Chamber

August 13, 2013

The Florida First Amendment Foundation will conduct Sunshine and Public Records Law training for Pensacola city employees, board members and council members next Tuesday, August 20 at 9 a.m. at the Saenger Theatre. Barbara Peterson, the organization’s president, will facilitate the all-day session, which is divided into morning and afternoon sessions.

The next day, the Greater Pensacola Chamber has Peterson meeting with the its staff and board members for training. The chamber’s Sunshine Task Force asked for the second day because there are some unique issues for the organization since it’s not a government body.

All these sessions will be open to the public attend.

Both training days are the result of recent reports by the State Attorney’s Office. On July 2, State Attorney Bill Eddins issued a report that Mayor Ashton Hayward’s city administrator and his press secretary/public information officer had violated the state’s public record laws. He also had numerous complaints on how the city dealt with public record requests–some were taking months to fulfill.

Later in the month, the state attorney issued an opinion that the chamber does fall under the state’s Sunshine Laws because of its managing economic development and tourism for the county and city. I agreed to head a task force to help with the compliance –along with task force members Kevin Doyle, Michelle Rushing, Debra Little and John Griffing. Training was a priority so we voted to have Peterson conduct it for the organization.

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