Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Notice and a hearing does not a quasi-judicial proceeding make

In this opinion involving a bid challenge, the 3d DCA demonstrated that rigorous analysis of the nature of delegated authority sometimes prevails, even in the post-Snyder era of slipshod "functional analsysis."

The court held that a decision on a bid challenge was not quasi-judicial and reviewable by certiorari simply because the process provided for a noticed hearing by a hearing examiner prior to a final decision by the Board of County Commissioners. Instead, the court found that the decision was an "executive" administrative decision, challengable in a de novo action. It therefore found that the Appellate Division of the 11th Circuit was correct in transferring the matter to the civil division for trial.

While the court did not lay out the complete rationale (citing to other cases), it is clear from the context that the decision is executive because the decison of the Board is not based on the evidence produced at the special master hearing, but is effectively de novo based on the evidence, argument, and the County Manager's recommendation. The guiding ordinance does not meet the tests laid out in DeGroot v Sheffield and Bloomfield v Mayo for a delegated quasi-judicial proceeding.

A victory for clear thinking and vigorous analysis.

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