At the Dean Law Firm, we provide advice and counsel to a wide range of city, municipal, county, and regional governmental bodies, including school districts, housing authorities, and hospital districts. We help guide their projects and priorities, whether their concerns involve public records or ethical responsibilities or drafting agreements. Our business law lawyers take pride in providing representation to government entities in the Ocala area that helps protect the integrity of their operations.Government Representation
One of the laws that many governmental bodies must be aware of is the Florida Sunshine Law. This law covers any "public collegial body." The Florida Sunshine Law establishes a public right of access to most meetings and public records of governing bodies. Over the years, the courts have refined what a public record is and what kinds of meetings must be open.
Under Florida Statute section 286.011, a public collegial body is any board or commission of a state agency or authority or the agency or authority of a political subdivision, county, or municipal corporation. "Collegial" simply means that the body has more than one member. Nearly all of our public collegial bodies are required to have open meetings, except the judiciary and the state Legislature.
The Sunshine Law only covers Florida public collegial bodies, not federal governmental bodies acting within Florida. A meeting under the law is any gathering of two or more members of a public body to take action regarding official policies or business, even if the purpose of the meeting is information gathering or fact-finding. Even a telephone conversation or email can count as a "meeting," unless the communications are simply factual and are not an exchange of comments or opinions about group action.
"Public records" under the law include all documents, visual material, sound recordings, maps, films, and other materials regardless of how they are made or their physical characteristics, which are made or received in connection with the transaction of official business. There are exceptions to this definition, however, such as for federal records, personal emails, and certain drafts and notes.
As attorneys with both litigation and transactional experience, we can provide skilled assistance to governmental bodies with regard to the drafting, interpretation, and implementation of contracts, regulations, codes, charters, and ordinances. For example, we can help amend zoning regulations for a city. Or, as another example, we can help the government with such matters as the drafting and interpretation of partnership agreements between the government and private businesses for infrastructure ventures.Discuss Your Transactional and Litigation Needs with an Ocala Lawyer
Government representation in Florida requires experienced representation by attorneys who are sensitive to the demands of maintaining public integrity. The experienced transactional and litigation attorneys at the Dean Law Firm have years of experience helping clients in Ocala and the surrounding communities. We are a full-service law firm that can provide sound legal counsel, draft agreements, or litigate a wide range of matters. Call us at 352-387-8700 or contact us via our online form. We assist entities and individuals throughout Marion, Levy, Citrus, Sumter, and Lake Counties, among other areas.