Question: How many organizations does it take to create an economic development plan for the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village? Answer: Three, and some of them want to do it in the dark.
That’s the word from a recent Destin City Council meeting. The idea is that representatives from City Hall, the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce and Okaloosa County’s Economic Development Council will hash out the city’s economic future. Councilman Jim Bagby objected. Under this kind of partnership, he said, meetings of the “working group” would not be subject to Florida’s open-meetings law.
“That’s not, in my personal opinion, the way you draft public policy,” Mr. Bagby said.
Good for him. But others didn’t see it that way. Shane Moody, chamber president and CEO, said Destin’s movers and shakers might have to meet behind closed doors to get the job done.
“I’m not sure how the three organizations can work together,” he said, “if they cannot talk outside of an open meeting.”
Why the secrecy? The goal is to broaden Destin’s economy, not design a new stealth fighter.
Councilman Bagby is right. The working group should hold all its discussions in the sunshine, or the city should find a different way to debate economic development.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This editorial first appeared in the Northwest Florida Daily News.