In The Sunshine: Pembroke Park Commissioners Privately Met About Town Business
November 25, 2021
Sunshine laws make meetings, records, votes, deliberations and other official actions available for public observation, participation and/or inspection.
Broward Inspector General John W. Scott announced today that the Broward Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a final report finding that Town of Pembroke Park commissioners Howard Clark and Reynold Dieuveille violated Florida’s open meetings law (the Sunshine Law) when they met privately in the town hall gym to discuss a matter that the town commission took up the next day.
At the time, Clark was the town’s Vice Mayor. He resigned from his seat on September 22nd, 2021, after continuously serving on the Town Commission for over 30 years.
The OIG Investigation determined that, on September 22nd, 2020, Clark intentionally spoke privately with Dieuveille about what to do about another commissioner’s official town roles as clerk-commissioner and Police Liaison, given denigrating claims that had surfaced about the other commissioner.
Town Hall video footage and Dieuveille’s subsequent statements to town employees corroborated Dieuveille’s interview with the OIG, in which he admitted to the meetings.
Clark first approached Dieuveille to speak to him on September 21st, 2020 and again on September 22nd, 2020. At a commission workshop meeting held the next day, on September 23rd, 2020, Clark, using a letter from a former long-time commissioner, which raised the question of whether to remove the other commissioner from his special town roles or not. Clark then set two resolutions for a commission vote on October 14th, 2020, one to replace the other commissioner as clerk-commissioner and one to replace him as police liaison. Those votes ultimately failed.
The OIG concluded that Clark knowingly and Dieuveille unknowingly violated Florida’s Sunshine Law that requires certain government business be open to the public, reasonably noticed to the public and recorded through minutes. For this, Clark committed a second degree misdemeanor and Dieuveille committed a noncriminal infraction.
In a written response to the OIG’s preliminary report, Clark denied the report’s findings with a version of events the OIG did not accept. In accordance with its charter mandate, the OIG is referring this matter to the Broward State Attorney for whatever action that agency deems appropriate.
The OIGs final report can be found at: https://www.broward.org/InspectorGeneral/Publications/20211115OIG20010MFinalReport.pdf