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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

New Pasco School Board member invites colleagues to brunch, says no Sunshine violation

2

November

Elected to the Pasco School Board without opposition in July, Colleen Beaudoin has patiently waited for months to take her post.

Her swearing in takes place the morning of Nov. 22, and she plans to celebrate afterward with brunch at her home. And she's invited the other four board members, along with several top district administrators.

"I just thought it would be a nice gesture," Beaudoin explained. "A lot of people answered my questions, even before I filed."

But might her first act after officially joining the board violate the Florida open meetings law? Board members aren't supposed to privately discuss matters that might come up for a vote.

She said she got the green light from board attorney Dennis Alfonso.

"It's not even a stretch of a violation," Alfonso said. "Bumping into each other or seeing each other at a social event is not a violation."

Still, he acknowledged, "It's all about the appearance."

Having all five board members in the same private place, where they possibly could talk about public matters, might be viewed askance by some people. Alfonso said he told Beaudoin to ensure the conversation remains social, and perhaps to alert the media of the event, which she did.

"It's a social thing. It's just a casual stop by," she explained, noting it won't be a sit-down affair. "My family is going to be there."

Beaudoin added that she has already begun segregating her district-related emails, although she doesn't formally hold the role, and said she takes the position of public servant seriously. She's scheduled to take the oath of office at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 22.

Other board members said they would confer with Alfonso before attending the brunch.

[Last modified: Wednesday, November 2, 2016 12:55pm]

    

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