Sunshine Law suit settled for a better Martin County; special thanks to local attorneys Sherlock and Heims

“…Commissioners Heard and Fielding tried to save taxpayer dollars by voting to approve a payment by the County of less than $40,000.00 to my law firm for attorneys’ fees and court costs, but Commissioners Smith and Ciampi made it clear that they would rather spend an extra $34,000.00 of your money to make a donation to the First Amendment Foundation in order to prevent Howard and me from earning any fees on this case.

The Smith-Ciampi-Hayes coalition voted in favor of a settlement which will require the BOCC to hold a new hearing on the Jobs Creation Toolkit — instead of the dog-and-pony show orchestrated by the BDB when the ordinances were initially passed. (Commissioners Heard and Fielding supported another option which would have allowed the ordinances to remain in place without a new hearing but would have required the Business Development Board to operate in the Sunshine in reviewing applications for incentive payments rather than having applications reviewed in secret by BDB staff.)

Despite concerns raised by Commissioners Smith and Hayes, we also managed to get guidelines adopted for all of the County’s volunteer boards and committees to help them follow the Sunshine Law.

Finally, the BOCC voted 3-2 to donate $66,500.00 to the First Amendment Foundation and to reimburse our law firm for approximately $6,500 in costs (court reporter fees, copies, postage, etc.)…”

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