Sunteți pe pagina 1din 29

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA

FOURTH DISTRICT

CASE NO. 4D14-101
LOWER CASE NO. 13-023090


BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
BROWARD COUNTY, etc.,

Appellant

vs.

LORI PARRISH, etc.,

Appellee
_______________________________/




ANSWER BRIEF OF LORI PARRISH


WILLIAM R. SCHERER BRUCE S. ROGOW
DANIEL S. WEINGER, ESQ. TARA A. CAMPION
CONRAD & SCHERER, LLP BRUCE S. ROGOW, P.A.
Counsel for Appellee Counsel for Appellee
633 South Federal Highway 500 E. Broward Blvd. #1930
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33394
Telephone: (954) 462-5500 Telephone: (954) 767-8909
Facsimile: (954) 463-9244 Facsimile: (954) 764-1530
wscherer@conradscherer.com brogow@rogowlaw.com
dswpleadings@conradscherer.com tcampion@rogowlaw.com
eservice@conradscherer.com


E-Copy Received Apr 14, 2014 3:37 PM
ii
Table of Contents
Table of Contents ............................................................................................ ii
Table of Authorities ....................................................................................... iii
Preface ............................................................................................................. 1
Statement of Case and Facts ........................................................................... 2
Summary of Argument ................................................................................... 8
Argument ...................................................................................................... 10
I. Standard of Review ............................................................................. 10
II. The Trial Court Correctly Found the Property Appraiser is Entitled
to a Writ of Mandamus Requiring the County Commission to Perform the
Ministerial Act of Issuing Payments to the Property Appraiser for the
Property Appraisers DOR FY-2014 Final Budget .................................. 10
III. The Writ of Mandamus Issued by the Trial Court Does Not Violate
the Separation of Powers Doctrine ........................................................... 18
Conclusion .................................................................................................... 21
Certificate of Service .................................................................................... 23
Certificate of Type Size and Style ................................................................ 23

iii
Table of Authorities
Cases
Anthony v. Gary J. Rotella & Assocs., P.A.,
906 So.2d 1205 (Fla. 4th DCA 2005) ....................................................... 10
Bailey v. State,
100 So. 3d 213 (Fla. 3d DCA 2012) ......................................................... 11
Brown v. State,
358 So. 2d 16 (Fla. 1978) ......................................................................... 20
Chiles v. Children A, B, C, D, E, & F,
589 So. 2d 260 (Fla. 1991) ................................................................. 19, 20
Coal. for Adequacy & Fairness in Sch. Funding, Inc. v. Chiles,
680 So. 2d 400 (Fla. 1996) ....................................................................... 19
Florida Dept. of Children & Families v. Y.C.,
82 So. 3d 1139 (Fla. 3d DCA 2012) ......................................................... 19
Harvard ex rel. J.H. v. Vill. of Palm Springs,
98 So. 3d 645 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012) .......................................................... 10
Huffman v. State,
813 So.2d 10 (Fla. 2000) .......................................................................... 10
Migliore v. City of Lauderhill,
415 So. 2d 62 (Fla. 4th DCA 1982) .......................................................... 11
Rosado v. State,
1 So.3d 1147 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009) ........................................................... 10
Shea v. Cochran,
680 So.2d 628 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996) ......................................................... 12
Turner v. Singletary
623 So.2d 537 (Fla. 1st DCA 1993) ......................................................... 10
Statutes
Fla. Stat. 129.01 ............................................................................................ 2
Fla. Stat. 192.091 ................................................................................. passim
Fla. Stat. 380.07 .......................................................................................... 16
Fla. Stat., 195.087 ................................................................................ passim
iv
Rules
Fla. R. App. P. 9.030(b)(1)(A) ........................................................................ 1
Other Authorities
Fla. Atty Gen. Op. 97-02 (1997) ................................................................... 14

1
Preface
This Answer Brief is submitted on behalf of LORI PARRISH, Petitioner
below.
Board of County Commissioners, Broward County, has appealed, pursuant
to Fla. R. App. P. 9.030(b)(1)(A), the final order of the trial court granting the
Petition for Writ of Mandamus of Petitioner, LORI PARRISH.
Board of County Commissioners, Broward County, is referred to as
Appellant, the County Commission, or the County.
LORI PARRISH is referred to as Appellee or the Property Appraiser.
The following symbols will be used:
R. ___ references are to the Record on Appeal.
I.B. ___ references are to the Initial Brief of Appellant.
Unless otherwise indicated, all emphasis is supplied by the writer.
2
Statement of Case and Facts
Appellee brought this action in her official capacity as Broward County
Property Appraiser, a constitutional officer, per Article VIII, (1)(d), Florida
Constitution. Appellant, the County Commission, is statutorily required to fund
the Property Appraisers budget as approved by the Florida Department of
Revenue (DOR). See Fla. Stat., 195.087, 192.091 and 129.01. Florida
Statutes, 195.087(1)(a) sets forth the procedure for approval of the Property
Appraisers budget, providing:
On or before J une 1 of each year, every property appraiser, regardless
of the form of county government, shall submit to the Department of
Revenue a budget for the operation of the property appraisers office
for the ensuing fiscal year beginning October 1. The property
appraiser shall submit his or her budget in the manner and form
required by the department. A copy of such budget shall be furnished
at the same time to the board of county commissioners. The
department shall, upon proper notice to the county commission and
property appraiser, review the budget request and may amend or
change the budget request as it deems necessary, in order that the
budget be neither inadequate nor excessive. On or before J uly 15, the
department shall notify the property appraiser and the board of county
commissioners of its tentative budget amendments and changes. Prior
to August 15, the property appraiser and the board of county
commissioners may submit additional information or testimony to the
department respecting the budget. On or before August 15, the
department shall make its final budget amendments or changes to
the budget and shall provide notice thereof to the property appraiser
and board of county commissioners. Consistent with the process laid
out above: (Emphasis added).
3
Pursuant to this statutory scheme, on May 31, 2013, the Property Appraiser
timely submitted its proposed FY-2014 budget
1
to the DOR for its review. (R. 16-
17.) The County Commission was also furnished a copy. (R. 17.) DOR reviewed
the Property Appraisers FY-2014 budget request to determine whether it needed
to amend or change the budget in order to ensure the Property Appraisers budget
was neither inadequate nor excessive. (R. 19.)
On J uly 11, 2013, the DOR issued notice to the Property Appraiser and the
County Commission of the tentative FY-2014 budget which included the DORs
amendments and changes to the Property Appraisers submission. (R. 18-27.) The
notice advised the County Commission and the Property Appraiser they could
submit any additional information or testimony prior to the DOR issuing the final
FY-2014 budget. (R. 19.)
In response to the DORs request, on August 12, 2013, Bertha Henry,
Broward County Administrator, on behalf of the County Commission, submitted
additional information to be considered by the DOR before it issued the final
approved FY-2014 budget. (R. 27-31.) Specifically, Ms. Henry advised the DOR
of the County Commissions recommended budget for the Property Appraiser,
which was less than the amount contained in the DORs tentative FY-2014 budget.
(R. 28.)

1
Fiscal Year 2014 (FY-2014) began on October 1, 2013, and runs through September 30,
2014.
4
On August 15, 2013, after considering the County Commissions
recommendations as provided by Ms. Henry, the DOR provided formal notice to
the Property Appraiser and the County Commission of the Property Appraisers
final budget in the amount of $18,712,207.00 (DOR FY-2014 Final Budget). (R.
32-40.)
On September 24, 2013, the County Commission held its final public
hearing on the Countys own budget, which was to include the DOR FY-2014
Final Budget as mandated by the Florida Statutes. (R. 41-86). Contrary to statute,
the County Commission voted to approve a County budget which did not include
the DOR FY-2014 Final Budget, but rather the Countys desired budget for the
Property Appraiser in the amount of $14,947,000.00, which had already been
rejected by the DOR. Id.
At the subsequent October 1, 2013 County Commission meeting, the County
Commission voted to appeal the DOR FY-2014 Final Budget to the Administration
Commission. (R. 87-158.) While there was significant discussion and even a
motion to amend the County Commissions budget to, as required by law, comply
with the DOR FY-2014 Final Budget while any appeal was pending, the County
Commission instead and again, without any legal authority, confirmed its
September 24th decision to impose its own budget on the Property Appraiser. (R.
87-158.)
5
Separate and apart from the County Commissions unilateral decision to
deviate from the legally mandated process, the Property Appraiser, in accordance
with Florida Statutes, 192.091 and as a consequence of the DOR FY-2014 Final
Budget, submitted to the County Commission its request for the statutorily
mandated quarterly draw based on the DOR approved budget. (R. 164.) The
quarterly draw, per the DOR FY-2014 Final Budget, totaled $4,140,881.75. Id.
On October 3, 2013, the County Commission advised the Property Appraiser it
would be providing only $3,963,750.00, thus withholding $177,131.75 in
operational funding for the quarter. (R. 161.) In so doing, the County Commission
unilaterally and without legal authority adjusted the amount to reflect the County
Commissions desired budget rather than the DOR FY-2014 Final Budget. Id.
Significantly, despite the County Commissions final action deviating from the
statutorily mandated payment, the County Commission conceded at both the
September 24th and the October 1st commission meetings that the DOR sets the
Property Appraisers budget and the County Commission must fulfill the DORs
directive even if the County Commission disagrees and even if the County
Commission chooses to appeal the DORs final budget. (R. 71-129.) For example,
the following statements were made, among others, by County Commissioners
and/or the County Attorney at the meetings:
MAYOR J ACOBS: The difference between these two
constitutional officers is one could go and basically thumb their
6
nose at what the Countys budget was and send a different
budget tothe Department of Revenueand it puts the
Property Appraiser in a significantly different position, because
[her] budgets gets submitted and approved [by the DOR] . . .
the Property Appraisers in a very unique position over the
other constitutional officers, and Im concerned about this.

(R. 71-74.)

COMMISSIONER KIAR: You mentioned it yourself Mayor
and others. The Property Appraiser is treated differently than
the other constitutional officers. . . . The difference is we owe
the Property Appraiser the money that the Department of
Revenue approved. We technically owe that money to her.
Thats money that were supposed to appropriate to [her].

If were upset with that, we can appeal to the cabinet. But we
have to appropriate that money. That is technically her money.
Its been approved by the Department of Revenue. Its been set
up that [way]. We owe her that money.

(R. 74.)

COMMISSIONER WEXLER: And for us, we need to we
need to, because I believe we have no choice here today . . . if
the Department of Revenue has set the Property Appraisers
budget, I believe we have to fulfill that directive; however we
have an appeal process that we can go down.

(R. 101.)

COMMSSIONER KIAR: I actually disrespectfully disagree
with [the issue of] whether or not we have to provide Ms.
Parrish this money.

She's different than the other constitutional officers. When the
Department of Revenue approves a budget that means we have
to give it to her. Shes entitled to it. I think that we need to
give it to her. And I know that its your legal opinion that we
give either the money that was appropriated in our budget or the
7
Department of Revenues but I dont believe theres any legal
authority to back that up. . . .

(R. 128-29.)

On October 9, 2013, the County Commission filed an appeal of the DOR
FY-2014 Final Budget to the Administration Commission, once again
acknowledging Section 195.087(1), Florida Statutes, gives [the DOR]
unrestrained and unrestricted authority to establish county budgets. Shortly
thereafter, the Property Appraiser filed a Petition for Writ of Mandamus on the
grounds that the County Commissions unlawful withholding of $177,131.75 in the
quarterly draw of the DOR FY-2014 Final Budget is an essential departure from
the requirements of law and due process, and will cause the Property Appraiser
irreparable material harm by preventing the Property Appraiser from performing
her statutory duty. (R. 1-164.) The trial court agreed and entered a Writ of
Mandamus on December 31, 2013. (R. 328-30.) This appeal follows.
8
Summary of Argument
Because the County Commissions duty to adhere to the DORs final budget
is wholly ministerial, the trial court correctly found its refusal to fully fund the
Property Appraiser warranted mandamus relief, as it is the precise type of agency
inaction mandamus is designed to redress.
The Property Appraiser has a clear legal right pursuant to Florida Statutes
192.091 to receive payment in full from the County Commission for the Property
Appraisers DOR FY-2014 Final Budget. There is nothing discretionary about the
mandates in 192.091 that the budget approved by the DOR shall be the basis
upon which the tax authorities shall be billed and payments shall be made
quarterly. Accordingly, unless and until the Governor and Cabinet, sitting as the
Administration Commission, amend the Property Appraisers DOR FY-2014 Final
Budget, the budget stands as approved and must be proportionately funded by the
County Commission.
The only governmental body with the authority to amend the DOR final
budget is the Governor and the Cabinet sitting as the Administration Commission
and only then if it finds that any aspect of the budget is unreasonable in light of
the workload of the office of the property appraiser. Fla. Stat., 195.087(1)(b).
There is, however, nothing in 195.087 to suggest the county commission is
relieved of its statutorily mandated duties to adhere to the DORs final budget and
9
make the full quarterly payment by merely filing an appeal with the Administration
Commission. If the legislature intended the County to receive an automatic stay
pending an appeal to the Administration Commission, it would have provided for
one.
The Writ of Mandamus issued by the trial court does not violate the
separation of powers doctrine. The claim that the trial courts writ violates the
separation of powers doctrine is no more persuasive than the Countys claim that it
had the discretion to refuse to fully fund the budget in the first place. Similarly,
the Countys assertion that the writ interferes with the discretion of the
Administration Commission completely misses the mark. The writ entered by the
trial court does nothing to interfere with the Administration Commissions
discretion to amend the final budget. Instead, in issuing the writ the court simply
found that under the clear language of Chapters 192 and 195, the County has no
discretion to deviate from the DORs final budget unless and until the
Administration Commission chooses to exercise its discretion.
10
Argument
I. STANDARD OF REVIEW
The standard of review from a trial courts decision on a petition for writ of
mandamus is abuse of discretion except to the extent the appellate court must
interpret a statute, in which case the review is de novo. See Harvard ex rel. J.H. v.
Vill. of Palm Springs, 98 So. 3d 645, 646 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012) (citing Rosado v.
State, 1 So.3d 1147, 1148 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009), and Anthony v. Gary J. Rotella &
Assocs., P.A., 906 So.2d 1205 (Fla. 4th DCA 2005)).
II. THE TRIAL COURT CORRECTLY FOUND THE
PROPERTY APPRAISER IS ENTITLED TO A WRIT OF
MANDAMUS REQUIRING THE COUNTY COMMISSION TO
PERFORM THE MINISTERIAL ACT OF ISSUING
PAYMENTS TO THE PROPERTY APPRAISER FOR THE
PROPERTY APPRAISERS DOR FY-2014 FINAL BUDGET
A petitioner seeking a writ of mandamus must show a clear legal right to the
requested relief, the respondent has an indisputable legal duty to perform the
requested action, and there is no other adequate remedy available. See Huffman v.
State, 813 So.2d 10, 11 (Fla. 2000). Although a writ of mandamus cannot be used
to compel a public agency clothed with discretion to exercise its discretion in a
particular manner, see Turner v. Singletary, 623 So.2d 537, 538 (Fla. 1st DCA
1993), it is axiomatic that mandamus will lie when a public agency fails to perform
a ministerial duty which requires no discretion. See Bailey v. State, 100 So. 3d
11
213, 219 (Fla. 3d DCA 2012) (To be entitled to a writ of mandamus, the
petitioner must show the existence of a clear legal right on his or her part, a
ministerial duty on the part of the respondent, and the absence of any other
adequate legal remedy); Migliore v. City of Lauderhill, 415 So. 2d 62, 63 (Fla. 4th
DCA 1982) approved, 431 So. 2d 986 (Fla. 1983) (It has long been established
that mandamus lies to compel the performance of a specific imperative ministerial
duty). Because the County Commissions duty to adhere to the DORs final
budget is wholly ministerial, the trial court correctly found that its refusal to fully
fund the Property Appraiser warranted mandamus relief. The Countys refusal to
follow the law is the precise type of agency inaction mandamus is designed to
redress.
The Property Appraiser has a clear legal right pursuant to Florida Statutes
192.091 to receive payment quarterly, and in full, from the County Commission
based on the Property Appraisers DOR FY-2014 Final Budget. The statute
provides:
(1)(a) The budget of the property appraiser's office, as approved by
the Department of Revenue, shall be the basis upon which the several
tax authorities of each county, except municipalities and the district
school board, shall be billed by the property appraiser for services
rendered. Each such taxing authority shall be billed an amount that
bears the same proportion to the total amount of the budget as its
share of ad valorem taxes bore to the total levied for the preceding
year. All municipal and school district taxes shall be considered as
taxes levied by the county for purposes of this computation.

12
(b) Payments shall be made quarterly by each such taxing
authority

See Fla. Stat. 192.091(1)(a)-(b). (Emphasis added).
The fatal flaw in the Countys argument is its failure to recognize the
difference between shall and may. There is nothing discretionary about the
mandate of 192.091 that the budget approved by the DOR shall be the basis
upon which the tax authorities shall be billed and payments shall be made
quarterly. Therefore, unless and until the Governor and Cabinet, sitting as the
Administration Commission, amend the Property Appraisers DOR FY-2014 Final
Budget, the budget stands as approved and must be proportionately funded by the
County Commission.
The action requested from the County Commission is a textbook example of
a ministerial act. A duty or act is defined as ministerial when there is no room for
the exercise of discretion, and the performance being required is directed by law.
Shea v. Cochran, 680 So.2d 628, 629 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996) (citations omitted).
Once the DOR approved and made final the Property Appraisers FY-2014 budget,
on August 15, 2013, the County Commission had an indisputable and non-
discretionary duty per Florida Statutes, 192.091 and 195.087, to fund the
Property Appraisers annual operational budget.
Although 195.087(1)(a) provides that a copy of the Property Appraisers
proposed budget be furnished to the Board of County Commissioners, it does not
13
provide for, or otherwise require, approval by the County Commission. In fact, the
County Commission is not even invited to participate in the process until after the
DOR reviews and makes the amendments it deems necessary to the Property
Appraisers proposed budget and issues same. Even then, the County
Commissions participation is limited to providing the DOR additional information
or testimony prior to DOR issuing a final budget.
The County Commission relies on Florida Statutes section 195.087(1)(b) to
argue the DOR budget does not become final until it is amended by the
Administration Commission, but its submission omits critical language which
belies the Countys submission:
The Governor and Cabinet, sitting as the Administration Commission,
may hear appeals from the final action of the department upon a
written request being filed by the property appraiser or the presiding
officer of the county commission no later than 15 days after the
conclusion of the hearing held pursuant to s. 200.065(2)(d). The
Administration Commission may amend the budget if it finds that any
aspect of the budget is unreasonable in light of the workload of the
office of the property appraiser in the county under review. The
budget request as approved by the department and as amended by the
commission shall become the operating budget of the property
appraiser for the ensuing fiscal year beginning October 1, except
that the budget so approved may subsequently be amended under
the same procedure. (Emphasis added) (Emphasized portion omitted
by County).
14
Viewing the final sentence in its entirety, it is clear the Property Appraisers
final budget is subject to amendment throughout the entire year.
2
The Countys
misbegotten view of the language leads to the illogical conclusion that the budget
could never become final because it is always subject to amendment. When
reading sections sections 192.091 and 195.087 in pari materia, it is obvious the
final action of the Department of Revenue is the final budget unless and until the
final budget is amended (either through an appeal to the Administration
Commission or through a subsequent budget amendment request), at which point
the amended budget becomes the final budget in its stead. There is nothing in
these statutes to suggest, however, that the County Commission is authorized to
usurp the discretionary function of the Department of Revenue and ignore its own
mandatory duty to fund the approved budget.
In Fla. Atty Gen. Op. 97-02 (1997), the Attorney General was asked, under
the same statutory scheme, whether the budget of the county tax collector was
subject to approval from the DOR, the board of county commissioners, or both.
The AG found the DOR was solely responsible for the tax collectors budget under
195.087.

2
This is consistent with the formal notice of the final budget provided on August 15 by the
DOR, in which the Departments Budget Supervisor advised this final budget, as approved by
the Department of Revenue, may only be amended through a budget amendment requested by
the Property Appraiser or an appeal to the Governor and Cabinet sitting as the Administration
Commission. (R. 33).
15
The board of county commissioners may address objections or
concerns regarding the budget of the tax collector to the Department
of Revenue. However, it is the department that is charged under the
statute with determining whether the budget is adequate. Once such a
determination has been made by the department, the statute prohibits a
reduction or increase without the departments approval.
Nevertheless, the County Commission violated the prohibition by reducing the
Property Appraisers budget without so much as seeking, much less receiving, the
DORs approval.
The only governmental body with the authority to amend the DOR final
budget is the Governor and the Cabinet sitting as the Administration Commission
if it finds that any aspect of the budget is unreasonable in light of the workload of
the office of the property appraiser. Fla. Stat., 195.087(1)(b). There is nothing
in 195.087 to suggest that filing an appeal to the Administration Commission
relieves the Commission of its statutorily mandated duties to adhere to the DORs
final budget and to make full quarterly payments to the Property Appraiser.
Critically, under the express language of section 195.087(2), the review by the
Administration Commission is not even mandatory, but wholly discretionary: The
Governor and Cabinet, sitting as the Administration Commission, may hear
appeals. (Emphasis added). Thus, if there were no court ordered relief, as was
obtained here, the Property Appraiser could only sit by while the County
Commission files an appeal which may never be heard. There is no timetable for
the appeal to the Administration Commission even if granted. In fact, as of the
16
time of filing this brief, the Administration Commission has still not given any
indication as to when or if it will consider the Countys appeal. Clearly the remedy
is mandatory relief to preserve the Property Appraisers right to the funds.
If the Legislature intended the County to receive an automatic stay pending
an appeal to the Administration Commission, it would have provided it. Florida
Statutes 380.07, which concerns appeals to the Florida Land and Water
Adjudicatory Commission from certain development orders by property owners,
developers, or state land planning agencies, provides an example of the legislature
doing that. The Florida Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission has the same
makeup as the Administration Commission (i.e., it is composed of the Governor
and the Cabinet). However, unlike appeals to the Administration Commission
under 195.087(2), appeals to the Florida Land and Water Adjudicatory
Commission pursuant to 380.07 trigger an automatic stay. See Fla. Stat.
380.07(4) (The filing of the petition stays the effectiveness of the order until
after the completion of the appeal process).
By not including a similar stay provision in 195.087, the legislature
intended what is evident from the statute itself: county commissions are required to
perform their ministerial duties of funding the Department of Revenues final
budgets until such time as the Administration Commission chooses to exercise its
discretion whether to amend. The difference in the procedure between the two
17
statutes makes sense in light of the nature of the interests at stake. The Florida
Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission hears appeals from development
orders, therefore it is logical to maintain the status quo until the appeal is heard.
Conversely, the County Commissions failure to fund the budget interferes with
the operations of a constitutionally mandated office, requiring compliance pending
any budget review.
There can be no doubt if the County Commission completely withheld all
funds from the Property Appraiser, the fact it filed an appeal under section 195.087
could not prevent the Property Appraiser from seeking the performance of its
ministerial task through a mandamus petition. Withholding less than the amount
budgeted by the DOR is a distinction of degree having no bearing on the
dereliction of the mandatory duty to pay quarterly the full portion of the DOR FY
approved budget.
While the County Commission has the legal right to ask the Administration
Commission to retroactively amend the DOR FY-2014 Final Budget, nothing in
Florida law gives the County Commission the legal right to withhold any of the
approved funds from the Property Appraiser in the interim. A writ of mandamus is
the Property Appraisers only legal remedy to seek recovery of the withheld DOR
FY-2014 Final Budget funds and compel the County Commission to comply with
its statutory duty.
18
III. THE WRIT OF MANDAMUS ISSUED BY THE TRIAL
COURT DOES NOT VIOLATE THE SEPARATION OF
POWERS DOCTRINE
Although raised as the first argument in its Initial Brief, the County
Commissions claim that the writ entered by the trial court violates the separation
of powers doctrine was only, at best, tangentially raised in the trial court. In any
event, the argument is without merit.
The County claims [t]he trial court encroached on the power of the states
executive branch by ordering, on an indefinite interim basis, relief that only the
Administration Commission is empowered to grant. (I.B. at p. 9.) Although the
Administration Commission is the only body from which the County can seek
relief, it is not an encroachment to have a court compel, in the interim, the
Countys mandatory duty to perform its ministerial function.
The Countys assertion that the writ interferes with the discretion of the
Administration Commission completely misses the mark. The writ entered by the
trial court does nothing to interfere with the Countys appeal to the Administrative
Commission and the Administration Commissions discretion to amend the final
budget. In issuing the writ the court simply found that, under the clear language of
Chapters 192 and 195, the County has no discretion to deviate from the DORs
final budget unless and until the Administration Commission chooses to exercise
its discretion.
19
While the cases offered by the County speak of legal principles related to
separation of powers, they have no bearing here, where the County had no
discretion to act and the writ does not interfere with the Administration
Commissions ultimate discretion. For example, in Florida Dept. of Children &
Families v. Y.C., 82 So. 3d 1139, 1142 n.8 (Fla. 3d DCA 2012), the court
recognized the separation of powers doctrine is violated where a court on its own
motion agrees to require executive action which is otherwise within the executive
agencys own discretion. As discussed supra, there is nothing discretionary about
the Countys obligations to fully fund the Property Appraisers DOR final budget.
See Fla. Stat. 192.091(1)(a)-(b) (The budget of the property appraiser's office, as
approved by the Department of Revenue, shall be the basis [e]ach such taxing
authority shall be billed [p]ayments shall be made quarterly) (emphasis
supplied).
The Countys reliance upon cases concerning appropriations of funds is
similarly unavailing. In Coal. for Adequacy & Fairness in Sch. Funding, Inc. v.
Chiles, 680 So. 2d 400 (Fla. 1996), the plaintiffs sought declaratory relief that the
state failed to allocate adequate resources for a uniform system of free public
schools. Id. at 402. The court found, under the Florida Constitution, it was up to
the legislature to determine how much money to appropriate to education. In
Chiles v. Children A, B, C, D, E, & F, 589 So. 2d 260 (Fla. 1991), the court
20
recognized that the legislature may not delegate its powers, and under the
separation of powers doctrine, [a]ny attempt by the legislature to abdicate its
particular constitutional duty is void. Id. at 264. This case has nothing to do with
the legislative or executive branches abdicating their powers. Nor does it involve
an appropriation of funds by the court. In fact, the writ issued by the trial court
here merely insures compliance with the Property Appraisers Department of
Revenue FY 2014 Final Budget. The writ also serves to undo the County
Commissions misappropriation of the Property Appraisers funds. The
Administration Commissions power to amend the budget is wholly unaffected by
the writ. As the trial court recognized, the writ is not intended to usurp the
budgetary authority of . . . the Administration Commission . . . but merely directs
[the County Commission] to comply and discharge their ministerial act of funding
the budget for [the Property Appraiser], as approved or subsequently amended by
the DOR. (R. 328-30.) (Emphasis in original).
Finally, the County, quoting Brown v. State, 358 So. 2d 16 (Fla. 1978),
suggests that by entering the writ of mandamus, the trial court impermissibly filled
in a statutory vacuum with relief which is only consistent with how the court
thought the law should read. Not so. Here, the plain and unambiguous language of
section 192.091, speaks for itself. The budget of the property appraiser's office,
as approved by the Department of Revenue, shall be the basis [e]ach such taxing
21
authority shall be billed [p]ayments shall be made quarterly. See
192.091(1)(a)-(b). Ironically, it is the County reading language into the statute;
language which is simply not there. It seeks the discretion where no such
discretion is provided for and it claims an automatic stay during its appeal to the
Administration Commission, although no such procedural relief is provided for.
And by insisting the statute provides a method for the Property Appraiser, who
does not seek to challenge the DOR FY 2014 Final Budget, to petition the
Administration to undo the Countys illegal withholding of funds in the interim,
the County turns the statutory scheme inside out. The Property Appraisers budget
has been approved; the Property Appraiser can rely on it and seek to compel
compliance with it.
Conclusion
The County Commissions actions denied the Property Appraiser due
process rights by withholding without any legal authority a portion of the
Property Appraisers approved budget funds. While the County Commission has
the right to appeal the Property Appraisers DOR FY-2014 Final Budget to the
Administration Commission, until the Administration Commission exercises its
discretion to hear the appeal and decides to amend the Property Appraisers
budget, the Property Appraisers DOR FY-2014 Final Budget is final and the
County Commission is legally obligated to fund it.
22
This Court should affirm the writ of mandamus issued by the trial court
compelling the County Commission to fully fund the Property Appraisers DOR
FY-2014 Final Budget.
Respectfully submitted,

By: /s/ Daniel S. Weinger
DANIEL S. WEINGER, ESQ.
23
Certificate of Service
I HEREBY CERTIFY that a true and correct copy of the foregoing was
furnished via electronic service to all counsel on the attached Mailing List on this
14th day of April, 2014.
Certificate of Type Size and Style
The undersigned counsel certifies that the type and style used in this brief is
14 point Times New Roman.
CONRAD & SCHERER, LLP
Attorneys for Appellee
P. O. Box 14723
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33302
Phone: (954) 462-5500

By:/s/ Daniel S. Weinger
WILLIAM R. SCHERER
Florida Bar No. 169454
wrs@conradscherer.com
DANIEL S. WEINGER
Florida Bar No. 172900
dweinger@conradscherer.com
Email Service:
wrspleadings@conradscherer.com
eservice@conradscherer.com
dswpleadings@conradscherer.com

-and-

BRUCE S. ROGOW
Florida Bar No. 067999
TARA A. CAMPION
Florida Bar No. 90944
24
500 E. Broward Blvd.
Suite 1930
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33394
Telephone: (954) 767-8909
Facsimile: (954) 764-1530
brogow@rogowlaw.com
tcampion@rogowlaw.com
25

SERVICE LIST
J oni Armstrong Coffey
MARK J OURNEY
ADAM KATZMAN
ANDREW J . MEYERS
Broward County Attorney
Governmental Center, Suite 423
115 South Andrews Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301
Telephone: 954-357-7600
Facsimile: 954-357-7641
jacoffey@broward.org
mjourney@broward.org
akatzman@broward.org
ameyers@broward.org
mmcghie@broward.org