Appeals Court: Palm Beach County elections chief’s records charge was “reasonable”

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Bucher
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Trout

Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher imposed a “reasonable”  fee on U.S. Congress write-in candidate W. Michael Trout, the 4th District Court of Appeal said in a ruling released Wednesday.

Trout, a failed write-in candidate in November’s re-election of U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, also had challenged Deutch as a write-in in 2014.

After the 2014 election, he submitted a public records request to inspect the official ballots associated with his congressional race “at the earliest reasonable time possible, including ballots deemed to be cast in [Trout’s] name, and those deemed by [the Supervisor’s] office to be invalidated,” the appeals court’s ruling says.

Bucher responded six days later, saying counting the 145,881 ballots in 211 precincts would take require her and three other staffers to do work beyond that for a usual records request. She said she’d have to charge Trout up to $189.21, which he had to submit in advance as a deposit.

Florida’s Sunshine Law says records custodians can charge only the hourly pay of the lowest-paid person qualified to fulfill a request. Bucher argued that it was reasonable for her, as head of the elections office, to supervise Trout’s inspection of the ballots — and to charge her hourly wage.

Trout refused to pay the deposit and sued in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, then appealed when the judge ruled against him.

Palm Beach County picks new community services director

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Green

Palm Beach County’s new Department of Community Services director is James Green, who’s been outreach and community programing division director for the county government’s Youth Services of Palm Beach County since 2015. Before that, Green had been program director for the county’s Community Action Agency for six years.

At their meeting Tuesday, county commissioners ratified County Administrator Verdenia Baker’s designation of Green.  The Royal Palm Beach resident starts his new position Monday. He said his pay will go from $77,935 to around $114,000. He replaces Chanell Wilkins, who resigned in August.

 

Get tips from Palm Beach County on hosting your own backyard veggie garden

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20120924 (Thomas Cordy/The Palm Beach Post)---BOCA RATON--Max Roseberg, right, (double check with story), 9, Mynda Barenholtz (cq center), 9, and Jennifer Barenholtz, all of Boca Raton were photographed at a new micro garden at the campus today, Monday, September 24, 2012.
(Thomas Cordy/The Palm Beach Post)

It’s hard to beat; the aroma of a fresh basil plant. If you always have wanted to have your own vegetable garden, help is available.

A workshop on small vegetable farms and gardens is set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7, at the Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service’s Hutcheson Agricultural Complex, 559 N. Military Trail, West Palm Beach. It will be conducted by Arthur Kirstein, Palm Beach County’s coordinator of agricultural economic development.

Participants will get tips and techniques on site preparation, plantings, crop maintenance, and harvesting. The seminar is followed by a tour of the vegetable garden at the adjacent Mounts Botanical Garden.

The program is free but is limited to the first 100 who sign up. Call 561-233-1792 or email mallman@pbcgov.org.

Palm Beach County Commission set to debate selling parcel in Ag Reserve

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Palm Beach County Commissioners decide at their meeting today whether to sell a 571-acre chunk of the Agricultural Reserve that was purchased with public money in 2000. The debate over the McMurrain property involves both preservationists and the South Florida Water Management District.

Also on today’s agenda: The commission is set to hear the contractor building the garage at the Palm Beach County Convention Center garage will be returning $500,000 out of a contingency reserve for unexpected costs.

Palm Beach County Commission Meeting: When: 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. Public comment at 2 p.m.  Where: Sixth-floor chambers, Weisman Palm Beach County Governmental Center, 301 N. Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach

To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com.

Palm Beach County elections chief Bucher: poll-watcher shoved me during canvassing board audit

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Canvassing board counts ballots on Election Night, Nov. 8. (The Palm Beach Post/Damon Higgins)

The poll-watcher who was booted during the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board’s Nov. 18 election audit had entered a secured area and had shoved Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher, she says in a response letter.

Bucher told Raymond Lutz, national coordinator for Southern California-based Citizens’ Oversight Projects, she could have had him arrested for battery and for interrupting an official government process, but that she settled for having deputies remove him.

In the 2-page letter, dated Friday, she said Lutz edited out that part when he posted videos suggesting elections officials violated Florida open meetings laws during the audit.

A Palm Beach County Sheriff’s report says the deputy watched as Bucher ordered Lutz out and issued him a trespass warning and said Lutz then left without incident.

Bucher said she’d told Lutz in a Nov. 14 email that audits are open and that the elections office videotapes them. The supervisor said that as a legislator in 2007, she helped draft the rules for such audits, and that his insinuations that the canvassing board manipulated the audit are “not only untrue and insulting, but baseless.”

To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com.

Boogie on and recycle that eight-track!

mnde-travolta-dancing-jpgSolid-Waste-AuthorityLeave it to the folks who recycle many of your throwaways to invoke the image of the eight-track tape player.

The Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County can recycle many of the electronic items that have been sitting in your attic along with those lava lamps and leisure suits, as well as any you’ve gathered in the ensuing years.

Accepted items include audio/visual equipment such as VCRs, and stereos; cellphones and rechargeable batteries; computer central processing units (CPUs) and monitors; laptops; accessories such as keyboards, mouse devices, printers and scanners; televisions; telephones and FAX machines; and even holiday lights.

To recycle items, don’t leave them at the curb; instead take them to one of the authority’s seven recycling Centers. Large quantities might require special disposal; call ahead.

The authority will sort the items and a private contractor will haul them off. Any useful components are processed for reuse; the rest is shredded, with the materials separated by type and recycled into new products.

For more, visit the authority’s electronics recycling web page or call 561-687-1100.