A county Commissioner in Escambia County, Florida has been charged with a violation of Florida public records law violation for not turning over requested emails on time.
Florida State Attorney Bill Eddins reviewed complaints that Commissioner Gene Valentino violated Florida’s public records laws by delaying the release of the emails.
According to a press release from Eddins office:
“This review has determined that sufficient facts exist to believe that Commissioner Valentino did fail to timely or completely respond to a public records request and as a result has been charged with one count of violation of the Public Records Law.”
The public record violation allegations arose after a meeting between Gene Valentino and Pensacola City Councilman Sam Hall on April
28, 2009 occurrred in a private office in the City Hall building.
Commissioner Valentino and Councilman Hall are both voting members on the Pensacola-Escambia Promotion and Development
Commission ( PEDC ). The PEDC is a quasi-government entity that was created by an act of the State Legislature in 1967. The purpose of the PEDC is to promote economic development in Escambia County, Florida. Meetings of the PEDC are subject to Florida public records law and the state’s Sunshine Law.
Florida’s Sunshine Law applies to any meeting of two or more members of the same board to discuss issues that will potentially come before the board for a vote. At the time of the meeting, Commissioner Valentino and Councilman Hall did not believe that the economic development plan being worked on by Gene Valentino would come before the PEDC for action.
The public records law violation is a non-criminal offense that is punishable by a fine up to $500. Commissioner Valentino will appear in court regarding the charge on August 27, 2009.