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Vision Committee fails to meet again

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By Jeff M. Hardison

For the second time since he became Chairman of the Chiefland Vision Committee, Mayor M. Teal Pomeroy was forced to declare the meeting "cancelled due to lack of a quorum."

There were too few members to hold the Nov. 13 meeting, but the day offered an opportunity for another member to quit.

Doug King, a charter member since the Vision Committee formed in 1997, resigned effective that day. King is the only original member who had remained on the committee up until that day.

Now, five of the 15 members of the Chiefland Vision Committee have resigned since the last successful meeting, which was Aug. 14. With a third of the members resigning since Pomeroy took the chair, and with it being a quarter of a year since there has been a successful meeting, the future looks dim for the Vision Committee.

King said he quit because he was recently advised the Vision Committee is subject to the Sunshine Law. King should have been aware of this truth ever since he joined the committee, but the city administration and legal staff may have failed to remind committee members of this truth enough for them to consider it in years gone by.

"This law puts me in a situation of not being able to discuss matters concerning our City with friends and business associates, outside of scheduled Vision Committee meetings, without possibly being in violation of this Sunshine Law," King wrote in his letter of resignation.

The Sunshine Law requires members of the same board to refrain from discussing matters with each other, outside the public view, when they may be voting on those matters in the future. Therefore, any of his friends or business associates who are on the Vision Committee would be halted from speaking outside of the public view about matters on which they will vote.

In other words, the only people with whom King is prohibited from discussing these matters are other members of the same board.

For the past three months, there has been no Vision Committee meeting. Other than resignations, the group has done nothing since former Mayor Betty Walker left as its chair.

Former Vision Committee member Bob Williams resigned Aug. 14. Three other members quit Oct. 9. Andy Andrews, Dr. Bill Martin and Dr. Robert Mount resigned in October.

Other than Pomeroy, the current Vision Committee members are Mike Michaelis, Dr. Bennitt Patterson, Robert Beauchamp, Paul Henderman, Katy Malloy, Whitney "Stoney" Smith, Cheryl Twombley and Stewart Wasson. Beauchamp has said he plans to resign.