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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Florida Council Member Bullies City Clerk into Resignation over Email Release

From the St. Petersburg Times comes this report about Seminole City Councilmember Tom Barnhorn, who wanted City Clerk Ginger Stilton to keep his emails private unless there was a specific request for them.  Barnhorn had asked Stilton for information on costs and methods for moving Seminole elections from March to November. Stilton provided that information not only to Barnhorn, but to all the council members, on the grounds that it was a record pertaining to government business.  Although Barbara Petersen of the Florida First Amendment Foundation says Barnhorn's request wasn't a technical violation of Florida's public records law, she said Barnhorn doesn't understand the term "confidential records" or how his request may be violating city policy.  

Stilton resigned from office without issuing an apology demanded by Barnhorn after he sent an email to Seminole City Manager Frank Edmunds blasting Stilton for "not show[ing] me the respect due an Elected Official."  

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