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Leon County Commissioners vote to continue discussions about $3.57 million fine in shade meeting

Posted at 7:14 AM, Oct 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-13 09:37:32-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Leon County is maintaining its mandate is legal. In Tuesday evening's commission meeting, some vowed to fight the multi-million dollar fine.

However, the commission decided any further conversation will be done in the shade.

Florida's Department of Health officials says the county has 30 days to pay $3.57 million.

Governor Ron DeSantis says the county broke a law that prohibits any business in Florida from mandating vaccines.

"We're going to make sure that people are able to make their own choices. We're not going to discriminate against people based on those choices. You're going to have a right to operate in society," the Governor said last month.

Chasity O'Steen, the Leon County Attorney says Leon is ready to fight back.

"The county attorney office is positive we're going to defend and fight any fines," she said.

Just hours after being slapped with the $5,000 per employee fine, Leon County Commissioners met to decide what comes next .A decision the public won't hear a whole lot if information on. Commissioners voted to have any further conversations in shade meetings. Under Florida Law, shade meetings allow public officials to discuss pending litigation with attorneys.

"I would like to advise our county administer to not feel that he has to defend anything; that he would cease and desist any public comment until we have huddled up and gone into the locker before either of you make any declarative statement about what we feel," said Commissioner Bill Proctor.

The county recently fired 14 employees for not getting the vaccine. The other 700 either rolled up their sleeves or issued a legitimate excuse.

Commissioners still support that mandate.

"My county is being fined money for what we think is right. we salute our staff and our commission," said Procto.

The county can petition the fine within 21 days or appeal the fine after 30 days.That decision will be made behind closed doors.