Indian River County Hospital District Trustee Marybeth Cunningham
LAST EVENING, FEBRUARY 8, 2017 VERO COMMUNIQUE HASTILY PUBLISHED AN ARTICLE QUESTIONING IF THE ELECTION OF MARYBETH CUNNINGHAM AS CHAIRMAN OF THE INDIAN RIVER COUNTY HOSPITAL (IRCHD) CHAIRMAN WAS ILLEGAL.
While we did not unequivocally say that it was illegal, we did question it without reaching out to Ms. Cunningham, IRCHD Executive Director Ann Marie Suriano or IRCHD general counsel Jennifer Peshke, Esq.
The issue had to do with Mr. Jones voting for Ms. Cunningham over the telephone and wether his vote counted? If not, then there was a tie vote between Ms. Cunningham and Dr. Michael Weiss. As such, did it create a vacancy whereby the duly elected Vice Chairman, Dr. Weiss, assumes the role of the vacant Chairman?
Inasmuch as our article caused undue concern, we have the duty to retract it, because we did not have all the facts.
In fact, as Attorney Peshke pointed out, according to GOVERNMENT-IN-THE-SUNSHINE MANUAL, “Cf. s. 163.01(18), F.S., authorizing certain entities created by interlocal Agreement to conduct public meetings and workshops by means of communications media technology.
“However, if a quorum of a local board is physically present, the participation of an absent member by telephone conference or other interactive electronic technology is permissible when such absence is due to extraordinary circumstances such as illness[;] . . . [w]hether the absence of a member due to a scheduling conflict constitutes such a circumstance is a determination that must be made in the good judgment of the board.” AGO 03-41.
We sincerely regret and apologize for our hastily written article, which was not up to our usual standards.