Collier County clerk loses court battle with commissioner

NAPLES, Fla. — The Second District Court of Appeals ruled against a Collier County clerk on Wednesday after an ongoing court battle, according to a press release.

The court ruled against Collier County Clerk Dwight Brock, who filed a lawsuit in April 2015 over Commissioner Hiller’s 2013 Purchasing Ordinance. The court issued a Per Curiam Affirmance in agreement with Circuit Court Judge James R. Shenko’s February ruling in favor of the county.

“This ruling is phenomenal,” Commissioner Hiller said. “This lawsuit filed by the clerk was a personal fight against me. This was my ordinance that I brought forward to the board in 2013. The clerk failed to respect it and sued. The courts issuing of a Per Curiam Affirmance is significant because it blocks the clerk’s ability to appeal to the Supreme Court.”

Brock’s lawsuit claimed the county manager and the procurement services director couldn’t make purchases under $50,000 as authorized by the county commission in its ordinance.

Brock argued that the Board of County Commissioners can’t delegate their purchasing authority to anyone.

Collier County then countersued Brock in August 2015, arguing that the ordinance was valid, legal and necessary to keep the government operating efficiently.

As a result of this case, Brock also didn’t pay 85 vendors the $1.5 million they were owed for their work for the county.

Judge Shenko sided with the county in February, ruling that the county’s ordinance is legally valid and sound law. The county manager has the authority to make purchases and enter into contracts for purchases under $50,000 in accordance with the county’s ordinance, and that such authority was properly delegated by the county commission.

“It is also significant that the court did not issue their own opinion,” Commissioner Hiller said. “They allowed for the lower court’s opinion on the ruling to stand. By virtue, this ruling is now law for the state of Florida and the clerk must follow it.”