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OM 21-04 Langer. v. Bonnet Shores Fire District Violation found

In a July 20, 2020 complaint and July 22, 2020 complaint, the Complainant alleged that the Fire District violated the OMA by conducting business outside of the public purview. In the July 20, 2020 complaint, the Complainant alleged that the Fire District both retained legal counsel and vacated a member's seat in a meeting outside the public purview. In the July 22, 2020 Complaint, the Complainant alleged that the Fire District achieved a "rolling quorum" through an email thread and discussed a matter over which the Fire District had supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power. Based on the totality of the evidence before us, we found no violation as to the July 20, 2020 complaint. However, we did determine that the Fire District violated the OMA as to the July 22, 2020 Complaint because the email conversation constituted a non-public "meeting" of a quorum of the public body as contemplated by the OMA. We did not find this violation to be willful or knowing, however, nor did we find injunctive relief to be appropriate in this instance. VIOLATION FOUND.

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