Anyone watching the City Council meeting on Tuesday could not help but gasp in amazement at the Council’s actions appointing two members to the Boca Raton Airport Authority…..Even overlooking the fact that these new appointees replaced eminently qualified current members of the Authority, one can only conclude that politics and power were the motivating forces….
Thanks to George O’Rourke’s social media posting there is already much chatter concerning these appointments….
Presented here are some legal and factual observations suggesting that the appointments of City Councilman Robert Weinroth and Deputy City Manager George Brown to the Boca Raton Airport Authority are inappropriate appointments that seem to be in violation of the Florida Statutes and Ethics laws.
The analysis below points out the absurdities of the appointment….
Not meant to be a dispositive legal argument, the analysis appears to be rather persuasive and begs at least a response from the City Attorney opining for the record on how these appointments are made with legal clarity….
So here goes….
1) The Boca Raton Airport Authority (BRAA) is an independent special district of the State of Florida;
2) The City of Boca Raton appoints 5 of the 7 board members to the BRAA;
3) On May 12th, two long standing members of the BRAA were up for reappointment. They were not reappointed but were replaced by the City Council by a sitting member of the City Council, Robert Weinroth, and the Assistant City Manager, George Brown. Mr. Brown by unanimous vote and Mr. Weinroth on a 3-2 vote with Mr. Weinroth, himself, casting the tie breaking vote….;
4) Florida Statute Section 112.313(7) appears to be the controlling statute. This statute provides, in part, that “No public officer or employee of an agency shall have or hold employment or contractual relationship with any business entity or any agency which is subject to the regulation of, or is doing business with an agency of which he or she is an officer or employee…”;
5) Mr. Brown is an employee of the City and BRAA is subject to the regulations of the City;
6) Mr. Weinroth is public officer of the City. Again, the BRAA is subject to the regulations of the City;
7) The mandatory compensation clause in the BRAA enabling legislation addresses the employment language;
8) Mr. Weinroth may also be in violation of Florida Statute Section 112.3143 in that he voted for himself to receive the appointment to the BRAA which will give him the special private gain of the mandatory compensation provided for in the BRAA’s enabling legislation.
These are some of the relevant facts and legislative issues involved.
These items clearly beg the question of how can Mr. Weinroth serve on the governing board of the City which is one party to the City/Airport Authority agreement and simultaneously serve on the governing body of the BRAA, the other party to the agreement.
A similar question is raised with regards to Mr. Brown and his ability to serve on the governing board of BRAA and fulfil his duties to the City within the regulatory framework of the enabling agreement between the City and the BRAA.
It would appear that in both appointments these positions may be viewed, under many circumstances, as adverse, but, at the very least, they must be viewed as divergent.
Not meant as rhetorical question but how can these appointees be expected to serve the interests of two masters and still meet the fiduciary duties of either?
To wit: A question to ponder for sure but one absolutely needing to be raised and answered…..and it will be…..