As you know, the City of Apalachicola has filed a lawsuit against the Franklin County Board of County Commissioners to compel them to meet jointly and in public with the Apalachicola and Carrabelle Board’s of City Commissioners as required by the Governmental Conflict Resolution Act, Florida Statutes 164.1055. The intent of the lawsuit is very much contrary to the political spin that has most recently emanated the chambers where our esteemed county commission conducts the business affairs of the people of this great county.
The complaint is solely about the Franklin County Commission’s refusal to meet jointly and in public with the City of Apalachicola and the City of Carrabelle on Dec. 19, 2012, to discuss and attempt to resolve conflicts regarding the local plan for allocation of Restore Act Fine Funds under the stated Governmental Dispute Resolution Act.
The total focus of which is to require the Franklin County Commission to meet as required by the statute to discuss and attempt to resolve conflicts between the county and the two cities. It is not to compel Franklin County to accept the fair distribution plan adopted by both cities in August and early September, which apparently to date has been rejected without cause or comment at a meeting of the county commission on Wednesday morning, Jan. 2, 2013, without being on the agenda and without any notice being given to the cities.
The truth is that Franklin County has knowingly and repeatedly refused to meet with the cities to even discuss much less attempt to resolve the conflicts and has in large part ignored the many cordial requests by Carrabelle and Apalachicola since August 2012 to meet with the cities to discuss a fair plan of allocation to our respective communities.
The Franklin County Commission now comes to the court cloaked in indignation, with a defiant attitude where their actions have made it abundantly clear that they would rather fight than meet with the two cities to discuss the simple and uncomplicated matter of how the cities are to receive a fair share of the Fine Funds.
We trust that the court will declare F.S. §164.1055 applicable and require Franklin County to meet jointly and in public with the cities such as the meeting called and noticed and attended by both Apalachicola and Carrabelle on Dec. 19, 2012.
Again, I thank you for your time and attention to this matter.
Van W. Johnson, Sr. is the mayor of Apalachicola
Florida Statutes 164.1055 reads that:
“Failure to resolve a conflict after following authorized procedures …. shall require the scheduling of a joint public meeting between the primary conflicting governmental entities. The governmental entity first initiating the conflict resolution process shall have the responsibility to schedule the joint public meeting and arrange a location.
In this meeting, the governing bodies of the primary conflicting governmental entities shall:
(a) Consider the statement of issues prepared in the conflict assessment phase.
(b) Seek an agreement.
(c) Schedule additional meetings of the entities in conflict, or of their designees, to continue to seek resolution of the conflict.
(2) If no agreement is reached, the primary conflicting governmental entities shall participate in mediation, the costs of which shall be equally divided between the primary conflicting governmental entities