Many local officials have received letters from Rep. Matt Gaetz inviting them to attend meetings for an “Okaloosa Accountability” initiative. As a recipient of one of these letters, I was looking forward to attending the September 30 meeting, set to be the first in a series. As most of you know about me, I am focused on collecting and researching information to reach an educated opinion and subsequent action that I believe will best serve our community.
There have been many people who have expressed concern as to the true intention of this meeting and others who believe it will lead to violation of Sunshine for elected officials, either/both in terms of mere attendance and in the potential for agenda items later coming before Council. Both Tuffy Dixon and I noted our intention to attend the meeting but, following a heated discussion and guidance from the City Attorney, we were strongly overruled and told only one of us could attend.
I understand the concern and certainly do not wish to do anything that would violate law, but it was a disappointment to not be allowed to attend. I look forward to learning what items are discussed at the meeting and learning how we can all contribute to making Okaloosa more accountable.