STATE OF LORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF LEGAL AFFAIRS
F OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
SHEVIN TALAHAEE FLORIDA 32304 KEY WORDS: Sz p
May 7, 1976 O
he Honorable W. R. Scott
ity Attorney, City of Stuart
tuart, Flor da34
Re* SUNSHINE i-attendance at meetings of volunteer
e- 're association by city commissioners who
are members of the volunteer fire department
permitted if no discussions occur which relate to
the public duties of the commissioners on which
foreseeable action may be taken by city commission.
ear Mr. Scott:
his is in response to your request for an opinion on substan-
ially the following question:
IS IT PROPER FOR THREE CITY COMMISSIONERS
WHO ARE ALSO VOLUNTEER FIREMEN TO ATTEND
MEETINGS OF THE VOLUNTEER FIREMEN'S ASSO-
CIATION WHERE THERE IS A PROBABILITY OF
DISCUSSIONS OF MATTERS ON WHICH FORESEEABLE
ACTION MAY BE TAKEN BY THE CITY COMMISSION,
OR DOES SUCH ATTENDANCE CONSTITUTE A VIOLA-
TION OF THE GOVERNMENT-IN-THE-SUNSHINE LAW?
according to your letter, three members of the city commission
re also members of the volunteer fire department and attend
meetings of the Volunteer Firemen's Association. From time to
ime, discussions of matters take place at these meetings which
ay result in foreseeable formal action by the city commission--
uch as recommendations to the commission for the purchase of
various firefighting equipment and other matters relating to
heir public duties.
-> __ 7 614 6
ie Honorable W. R. Scott 076-103
ie Government-in-the-Sunshine Law has been held to apply to
ly gathering of two or more members of a public body where
ose members discuss matters on which foreseeable action may
taken by the city commission. City of Miami Beach v. Berns,
5 So.2d 38 (Fla. 1971); Hough v. Stembridge, 278 So.2d 288
3D.C.A. Fla. 1973). Under this broad construction of the
w, the three city commissioners, who make up a quorum of
e governing body of the city, constitute a "meeting"
verned by the requirements of S286.011, F.S., when they
discuss matters relating to their public duties or on which
freseeable formal action may be taken by the city commission.
lis office has recognized that many public officials belong
Private associations or organizations and that mere atten-
ance by public officials at such functions does not violate
e Sunshine Law. Attorney General's Opinion 072-158; Inf.
to the Honorable Glen Darty, March 24, 1972. However,
is office has also emphasized that an added degree of
caution is required when public officials attend such meetings,
n that the public officials may not discuss any matter on
which foreseeable formal action may be taken by such officials
r the public bodies of which they are members. Attorney
general's Opinions 071-295 and 072-158.
since circumstances outlined in your letter indicate that
ome issues related to public business are discussed at the
volunteer Firemen's Association meetings, the city commis-
ioners should refrain from any discussion of those matters,
either amongst themselves, or with other association members,
until the properly noticed and scheduled meeting of the city
therefore, I am of the opinion that the three city commissioners
mentioned in your letter may attend meetings of the Volunteer
iremen's Association, provided that they refrain from any
discussion of matters relating to their public duties or on
which foreseeable action may be taken by the city commission.
our question is answered accordingly.
embers of a city commission who are also volunteer firemen
ay attend meetings of the Volunteer Firemen's Association,
T" Honorable W. R. Scott
P e Three
,vided that they do not engage in any discussion of matters
Lating to their public duties or on which foreseeable action
( be taken by the city commission.
P pared By:
S ryn L. Smith
As istant Attorney General
P~ tricia R. Glea n
Le al Research Adsistant