Palm Beach County ethics panel won’t weigh in on public records bill

The Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics Thursday opted to neither agree or disagree with other ethics commissions in Florida who oppose proposed new limits on public records requests. Legislation would let judges decide whether to award attorney fees in lawsuits seeking public ethics logorecords.

The law now requires judges to order a government to pay court costs and attorney fees if they find the government unlawfully refused access to a public record.

It stems from the town of Gulf Stream’s costly clash with millionaire resident Martin O’Boyle. Proponents say people use public records laws to extort legal fees. Opponents say they fear any limits on public records rights.

Executive director Mark Bannon noted Gulf Stream comes under the ethics panel’s jurisdiction, and said the Palm Beach County League of Cities has backed the legislation limiting the legal fees.

Also Thursday, the panel reappointed Chair Michael Kridel and Vice Chair Clevis Headley to additional 2-year posts. And ethics panel members Sarah Shullman and Michael Loffredo, both appointed after members resigned, were sworn in for additional 4-year terms on the board.

The ethics panel also introduced a new logo that shows the outline of Palm Beach County with the phrase “Honesty-Integrity-Character.””


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