About

Mark D. Barker

“My task which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel — it is, before all, to make you see.  That – and no more, and it is everything.  If I succeed, you shall find there according to your deserts: encouragement, consolation, fear, charm – all you demand; and, perhaps, also that glimpse of truth for which you have forgotten to ask.”

Joseph Conrad, 1897 

Prior to his retirement in 2014, the author served in law enforcement for 31-years, the last five as Chief of Police for a full-service department in east Central Florida.  He is a 1996 graduate of the FBI National Academy at Quantico, Virginia.

In addition, Mark is a rated Commercial Pilot and Certificated Flight Instructor.

This blog provides a constructive outlet for his many personal demons, delusions, rants and political frustrations.  He lives as a semi-recluse in an arrogantly shabby home in coastal Central Florida with his wife and two dogs.

The views expressed here are merely the author’s own critical personal opinions on the issues and newsmakers of the day and should never be mistaken for fact-based reporting.

In other words, if something here piques your interest – don’t take my word for it.  Keep digging, you might be surprised what you find.

5 thoughts on “About

  1. Doug and Clint:
    I am sending the following by e-mail and its attachment to all of the Council Members.
    Council Members:
    As you know, the City has received a number of public records requests from members of the public for records related to certain activities by Mayor Johnson. In order to respond to the public records requests, the City Council directed City Staff to attempt to obtain the requested records from Mayor Johnson. Accordingly, City Staff and our law firm made requests on behalf of the City to Mayor Johnson for various records responsive to the pending public records requests, as well as submitting public records requests to third party entities that were involved with the production of the Mayor’s State of the City flier.
    When the attempts to obtain the records from Mayor Johnson were unsuccessful, the City Council authorized the filing of a lawsuit(s) but directed us to attempt to obtain the records without filing suit. Accordingly, City Staff and our firm have had numerous communications with Mayor Johnson and his attorney, and met with Mayor Johnson and his attorney, Doug Daniels, on July 12, 2016 to discuss the matter. As outlined in the attached memorandum, Mayor Johnson offered to cooperate regarding some of the requests and to produce a number of records. Mayor Johnson has not yet produced any of the records as agreed during the July 12, 2016 meeting. We followed up with Doug Daniels regarding the matter via email on July 25, 2016 and August 1, 2016, and received a response on August 2, 2016, stating that he would ask Mayor Johnson to produce the records that were agreed upon. Also, Mayor Johnson and Doug Daniels asserted at the July 12, 2016 meeting that the records related to Mayor Johnson’s bicycle tour are not public records and that the tour was a private venture. However, according to our analysis, these records are likely public records. We provided Doug Daniels with our analysis and opinion on the matter via email on July 25, 2016. In his response to us on August 2, 2016, Doug Daniels restated his opinion that the records are not public records, but suggested that Mayor Johnson might be willing to release them. Please find attached a memorandum outlining the status of the various requests for records to Mayor Johnson.
    Given the above and the Council’s last direction, the next step would be to file suit against Mayor Johnson to obtain the records. Before proceeding with the suit or suits, it is important to remember that due to the unique circumstances here, the City could be liable to pay Mayor Johnson’s attorneys’ fees regardless of the outcome of such a lawsuit. Under Florida case law, a public official may be entitled to attorneys’ fees incurred defending against a lawsuit arising out of or in connection with the performance of his official duties provided that the public official’s underlying activities serve a public purpose. If Mayor Johnson prevailed in the lawsuit, he would have a good argument for entitlement to attorneys’ fees. If the City prevailed in the lawsuit, Mayor Johnson’s argument for attorneys’ fees would be weaker, but a court could nonetheless determine that his withholding of the records was consistent with a public purpose and award attorneys’ fees. Further, the City would have to pay legal fees associated with pursuing the lawsuit, none of which would be covered by the City’s insurance policy.
    Alternatively as we have discussed previously, the City Council could elect not to file a lawsuit, and the third party public records requestor(s) were to file suit to obtain the records, the City’s insurance policy would likely cover the expenses of defending against the lawsuit.
    In the event that the City chooses to file a lawsuit against Mayor Johnson, we recommend that the City authorize attorney Drew Smith, who currently represents City staff in prosecuting the charges of charter violations against Mayor Johnson, to pursue the lawsuit.
    Kurt
    Lita, Rick, Mike and Chris:
    The settlement discussions that were authorized by the City Council have not been fruitful. In response to my communications with Doug Daniels, Mr. Daniels’/Mayor Johnson’s settlement proposal would require the City to pay Mayor Johnson’s legal fees as well as the City’s legal fees (Mr. Daniels claims fees of over $40,000.00), elimination of the ethics complaint filed by Dan Parrott on behalf of the City, and no admission by Mayor Johnson of any Charter violation but he would apologize for personally offensive statements and acknowledge the need to refrain from such behavior in the future. Mr. Daniels also suggested that a first amendment/Charter City Council Member workshop seems futile, but that they could agree to some code of conduct applied consistently with some applicable penalty.
    Given the above, and unless the Council directs otherwise at a public meeting, I do not intend to take any further action toward settlement.
    Kurt

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