KISSIMMEE, Fla. — An Osceola County resident has filed a lawsuit claiming the county is operating in the dark.
What You Need To Know
- Executive Policy Group has been making decisions during the pandemic
- Osceola County says the meetings do not have to be open to the public
- Resident Josh Meyers says that violates Sunshine Law
Josh Meyers wants Executive Policy Group meetings to be public. He said the Sunshine Law requires governments to disclose this type of information.
The EPG, which was formed in 2011, has been making emergency decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic on issues like face coverings and curfews. But their meetings have not been announced, nor have they been open to residents.
The group includes representatives from several local governments, including:
- Bill Litton, County Emergency Management Director
- Commissioner Viviana Janer, Osceola BCC Representative
- Danielle Slaterpryce, Osceola County Public Works
- Dr. Debra Pace with the Osceola School District
- County Manager Don Fisher
- Kissimmee Mayor Jose Alvarez
- Sheriff Russ Gibson
- St. Cloud Mayor Nathan Blackwell
- Osceola Fire Rescue Chief Larry Collier
- Vianca McCluskey, Fl Dept. of Health-Osceola Administrator
Osceola County says the group is exempt from the Sunshine Law. They cite Florida Statute 252.38(3)(a)(5), which talks about having the power to waive procedures and formalities in an emergency. The county also says the public can request the minutes of these meetings.
“To hold the county accountable for allegedly violating Sunshine. That is the question we’re asking the courts to decide,” Meyers said. “Are these meetings where they are decision making in fact public or should they be allowed to be private?”
Meyers is not asking for any ordinances in place to be invalidated. He said he only wants residents to be allowed inside these EPG meetings. A hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday on the matter.