News Sunshine State

Wilton Manors Mayor Fights Ban on Officials’ Lobbying

WILTON MANORS — Mayor Gary Resnick is drawing criticism from Broward County officials for his plans to become the county’s first elected official to take on work as a lobbyist, despite a Code of Ethics ban that prohibits such efforts.

Resnick, an attorney and partner (shareholder) with the law firm of Gray-Robinson, PA, a mega-practice with offices in 10 Florida cities, is seeking to lobby the Broward County School Board on behalf of a client, Community Education Partner, Inc., despite a voter-approved change to the county charter that “regulates the conduct of elected officials, appointed officials, and public employees through an enacted Code of Ethics.”

The mayor was given permission by Wilton Manors City Attorney Kerry Ezrol, who submitted a letter to Resnick on December 12, 2012 that advised, “The restriction on lobbying, as set forth in the Code of Ethics, would not legally apply to members of the City Commission.”

Ezrol based his opinion on a 2012 change to Wilton Manors’ city charter, which the city’s attorneys say allows officials to abide by the state’s less restrictive regulations governing the conduct of elected and appointed politicians. Resnick supported the city charter change.

The Broward County Inspector General, John Scott, suggested in a statement that his office may use the county’s charter to trump changes to local charters.

“Soon the [Office of Inspector General] will be conducting a countywide compliance review of outside employment disclosures, including lobbying by elected officials. Once we determine the results, we will proceed accordingly,” the inspector general wrote.