The search committee for the position of USF Sarasota-Manatee Regional Chancellor will meet via conference call with the search firm to receive an update on the progress of the search:
Monday, May 12, 2014, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
8350 N. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34243
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA
Policies and Procedures Manual
Sunshine Law/Public Meetings. (Requirements for Search and Screening Committees)
5/15/98 effective date
Policy Number: 0-107
I. INTRODUCTION (Purpose and Intent)
The Florida Public Meetings Law provides that all meetings of any board or commission at any state agency at which official acts are to be taken must be open to the public at all times. Since the University of South Florida is a state agency, the Public Meetings Law sometimes affects university employees. However, unlike the Florida Public Records Law which creates significant responsibilities for USF employees, the Public Meetings Law is not a matter of daily concern.
The impact of the Public Meetings Law on USF meetings is relatively insubstantial because of the nature of the university executive. Official USF action is taken by the university president who is a single person rather than a board, commission or other group contemplated by the language of the law. Nonetheless, in cases where the president delegates authority to take official acts or make decisions to a group, the Public Meetings Law will apply. The only university meetings that any court has determined to be subject to the Public Meetings Law are those of search and screen committees that have the authority to take official action by rejecting some candidates and advancing others.
II. STATEMENT OF POLICY
The Public Meetings Law imposes four requirements on meetings of search and screen committees :
First, all search and screen committee meetings must be open to the public, and restrictions or qualifications on public attendance may not be imposed. For example, registration of attendees may not be required and meetings should not be held in a limited-access setting. However, the public has no right to participate in search and screen committee meetings, and may only listen and observe in a nondisruptive fashion.
Second, reasonable notice of a search and screen committee’s meeting time, place and agenda must be given by the chair of the committee. While the form of reasonable notice employed is dependent upon the circumstances, it could consist of having notices posted around campus, published in The Oracle and Inside USF; and/or furnished to the media. Authority to determine the appropriate method of providing notice in any search resides with the chair of the search committee.
Third, all voting conducted by a search and screen committee must be public and employ no voting method which avoids identification of the applicants. Committee members may not abstain from voting except in cases of conflict of interest.
Finally, the Public Meetings Law requires a USF search and screen committee to keep and record minutes, which subsequently must be open to public inspection. The chair of the committee is responsible for retaining the official minutes of the committee meetings.
Records received, considered or made by a search and screen committee will almost always be public records that must be made available for public inspection and copying according to the requirements of the Florida Public Records Law. (See USF Policy & Procedure 0-106). One applicable exception provides access limitations for evaluative information regarding a USF employee’s performance. (All academic evaluations are confidential, but nonacademic evaluations are confidential only if they were created on or before July 1, 1995). (Note that no such provision applies to outside applicants’ evaluations).
Should you have a question about compliance with Florida’s Public Meetings Law or Public Records Law, or a question about any legal responsibility of the university and its employees, please do not hesitate to contact an attorney in the Office of the General Counsel, ext. 2131, for advice and assistance.