Letter: Town Questioned By The Inspector General’s Office

The Town of Loxahatchee Groves has received a management inquiry from the Palm Beach County Office of the Inspector General alleging that on Nov. 4, 2014, the Loxahatchee Groves Town Council violated the constitutional rights of a citizen, Keith Harris, in voting to dismiss me from the Roadway, Equestrian Trail & Greenway Advisory Committee.

Vice Mayor Ron Jarriel made the motion to dismiss with Councilman Ryan Liang seconding. Both are up for re-election in March.

More specifically, one allegation is that, in making its decision, the town council failed to provide me reasonable notice and an opportunity to be heard, in violation of due process rights under both the Constitution of the State of Florida and the Constitution of the United States of America.

In addition, I was present at this meeting and was not offered the right to speak. That denial may have violated Section 286.0114, Florida Statutes, which provides in part:

“(2) Members of the public shall be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard on a proposition before a board or commission…”

The second allegation in the complaint is that, in taking this action, the town council also violated my constitutional right to free speech. As to the civil rights violations, a federal investigation is in its early stages.

Keith Harris, Loxahatchee Groves