February 26, 2017
Dispute over spreader barrier
By Leo Amos
While the Cape Council is doing high fives over the recent withdrawal of a lawsuit filed against the Cape over not replacing the Northwest Spreader Canal barrier, let us spend a few minutes going over what took place.
The stakeholder groups suing the Cape withdrew because the FDEP water district manager sent a letter to the Cape claiming that the consent order had been completed, even though the lawsuit was over the fact that the Cape never submitted the second permit to the FDEP as required by the consent order.
On Jan 25, in my telephone conversation with the FDEP Inspector General's Investigator, I was told that the consent order had been voided because the Cape had not submitted the second permit. So if the consent order has voided then how can it be completed?
But this isn't the only trick the Cape has played in getting around not having to put the barrier back. It even went so far as writing a letter to FDEP and telling the agency, the city refuses to put the barrier back.
The best trick the Cape pulled is in the consent order where all public notices for all E.M.A. meetings, which lasted over two years, had to be put in the Florida Administrative Weekly (FAW). Not one meeting was ever published in the FAW. The Cape didn't put them in the FAW and instead put some meeting notices in the Breeze and other times they put them in The News-Press.
The last time I read the state's sunshine laws, you can't legally have a meeting if it isn't properly noticed. Putting notices wherever you want them and not where they have to be placed doesn't meet the requirements of law for a properly noticed meeting.
I strongly believe that the Cape has set the record for the greatest number of illegally held meetings over the longest period of time.
So is the consent order completed, voided or illegal? Maybe the Inspector General will decide or maybe our State Attorney will wade into civil problems of non- noticed meetings.
Leo Amos, Matlacha