Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas School Board weighs new public record law in auditor bids

Pinellas County School Board members have been talking about hiring a performance auditor for years now.

According to the request for proposals they hammered out, board members want a certified public accountant who is able to take an objective look at the district's finances and make sure it is using its resources in the best way possible.

During their Dec. 13 workshop, they finally got a hold of the applications. According to the district staff, there were two.

But apparently the only people who can see those bids are the School Board members themselves.

School Board attorney Jim Robinson stopped district staffers from bringing the bid packets into the workshop, saying a new law makes such bid proposals exempt from public record laws.

Robinson cited Florida Statute 119.071, signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott earlier this year. "The Public Records Act was amended this past year to make sealed bids, proposals or replies received by an agency exempt from public records requests until such time as the agency provides notice of an intended decision or until 30 days after opening the bids, proposals, or final replies, whichever is earlier," Robinson wrote in an email he sent board members during the meeting.

The district's staff is the party typically charged with assessing the bids then recommending a winner to the board for a vote. In this case, however, board members themselves will be doing the bid scoring and the hiring, making such public records issues particularly awkward.

Robinson suggested that the board members bring the proposals home and read them over during the holidays. Board members mulled over the possibility of discussing the merits of each proposal in a way that would exclude any details that could compromise the point of the law.

But for now it's unclear how that might play out. Robinson did tell board members that they have the right to waive the exemption.

Asked after the workshop discussion about what the next board meeting on the bid proposals might look like, Robinson sent an email to the Times saying that the exemption "does not permit the Board to meet outside the Sunshine to make any decision concerning the bids, whether to accept one or reject all."

Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at (727) 893-8707 or

Pinellas School Board weighs new public record law in auditor bids 12/22/11 [Last modified: Friday, December 23, 2011 1:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Fire on neighbor's porch leads to charges against Holiday man


    HOLIDAY — A Holiday man was arrested Wednesday after authorities say he torched the front porch of his neighbor, who he insisted was holding his daughter hostage.

    Dan Fry, 63, of Holiday was arrested Wednesday on a charge of first-degree arson. [Photo courtesy of Pasco Sheriff's Office]
  2. Port Richey man solicited sex from 13-year-old, Pasco authorities say


    PORT RICHEY — A Port Richey man was arrested Wednesday after Pasco County authorities say he solicited sex from a 13-year-old boy on the gay male dating app Grindr.

    Shawn Daly, 43, of Port Richey was charged with solicitation for sexual conduct with a child over a computer. [Photo courtesy of Pasco Sheriff's Office]
  3. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 16: An evening of wine and song transcends all language barriers for these travelers


    Day 16: Castrojeriz to Villarmentero de Campos: 35 km, 10.5 hours. Total for Days 1-16 = 360 km (224 miles)

  4. Unexpected weak quarter at MarineMax slashes boating retailer shares by 20 percent


    CLEARWATER — Just then you thought it was safe to go back into the water, a boating business leader issued a small craft warning.

    Bill McGill Jr., CEO of Clearwater's MarineMax, the country's biggest recreational boat retailer. [Courtesy of MarineMax]
  5. Dunedin's negotiations with Blue Jays continue

    Local Government

    DUNEDIN — Dunedin officials are still in the process of negotiating a license agreement with the Toronto Blue Jays.

    A rendering by Populous, a global architecture firm specializing in sports facility development, shows the entrance of an upgraded Florida Auto Exchange Stadium shows a Toronto Blue Jays team store. If the $81 million renovation plans between the city and team go through, the store would be open year-round.Credit:  Populous