Dispute Over Closed-Door Pension Meetings Could Go to Florida Supreme Court

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Did pension officials violate Florida’s Sunshine Law when they held negotiations with unions behind closed doors?

Yes, according to the 1st District Court of Appeal. But the Florida Supreme Court may soon get its chance to weigh in.

From the Jacksonville Daily Record:

A Jacksonville municipal pension fund has asked the Florida Supreme Court to take up a dispute about whether officials violated the state’s Sunshine Law by holding closed-door mediation sessions to negotiate changes in the pension system.

The 1st District Court of Appeal in October ruled in favor of Florida Times-Union Editor Frank Denton, who contended in a lawsuit that the mediation sessions amounted to collective-bargaining meetings, which were required to be open to the public.

But the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund Board of Trustees filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to review the case.

The brief argues that issues related to collective bargaining should be determined by the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission, rather than going to circuit court.

The appeals court ruling upheld a decision by Circuit Judge Waddell Wallace.

The case stemmed from mediation sessions that were held after Randall Wyse, chief negotiator for the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters Local 122, and other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in federal court against the city and the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund Board of Trustees, according to the ruling.

The mediation sessions led to a tentative agreement about changes in the pension system.


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