By David Dill. Now that we are about halfway through the summer construction season, many Vermonters have become aware that the Agency of Transportation is replacing all the road signs along Vermont’s interstate system. This work has prompted many questions, the most common is why?Understandably, many motorists believe that our old highway signs are just fine and that the money we are using to replace these highway signs could be better spent repairing bridges, expanding public transit and paving roads. I too would prefer to put every available dollar into these kinds of high-priority programs, but we do have to address our other responsibilities as well.The bottom line is that from an engineering and safety perspective, those old signs are not OK and the state must replace them. Here is why.Congress recently directed the Federal Highway Administration to adopt a national standard for retro-reflectivity for traffic signs and pavement markings. These new standards, which were established in 2008, apply to all roads open to public travel. Compliance with these new retro-reflectivity rules is a requirement that VTrans must meet by 2015 to continue to receive the critical federal-aid highway funds that come to Vermont.Federal-aid highway funds make up $250 million of the state’s $595 million transportation budget, and are used in all facets of the state’s highway, bridge and public transportation programs.The goal of this new reflectivity mandate is to provide signs that are legible during all times of day and weather conditions. This is largely accomplished through the retro-reflectivity of the sign sheeting. The expected life of this sheeting is approximately 15 years. Many of the signs on our interstate system are at least 20 years old, and some that were recently replaced on northern portions of I-91 were the original signs from way back in the 1960s and 70s.The posts and foundations for these signs are also being replaced. All new signposts are designed to be “breakaway” if struck by a vehicle. This modern technology is a valuable safety tool that will prevent injury and save lives. On the financial front, these sign projects do not tap funds that could otherwise be used for bridge, public transit or pavement projects, so they are not in conflict with those programs. Instead, the new signs are 100 percent federally funded with money called “Section 148 Highway Safety Improvement Program” funds, which can only be spent on safety-related projects.Sign improvements are one of several allowable project categories under Section 148. The federal government identified sign retro-reflectivity as an important safety feature, which led to the Highway Administration’s adoption of the mandate requiring states to upgrade their existing signs. As a result, VTrans, over the next few years, will replace all traffic control signs on a system-wide basis, prioritized by sign age, which is why the northern section of I-91 was completed first, followed by the current I-89 projects. The rest of the interstate system will follow so that we complete the work by the federally mandated 2015 deadline.David Dill is the Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Transportation8.4.2010
The Bar’s Military Affairs Committee is now accepting nominations for its Clayton B. Burton Award of Excellence.The award is given annually to those who demonstrate character and leadership promoting the quality of legal services furnished to military personnel serving in Florida.The Burton Award will be presented at the Annual Military Law and Legal Assistance Symposium scheduled for Saturday, March 8 at the Ponce De Leon Hotel in St. Augustine.Nominations must be submitted by January 31 to Jennifer Wilson, Military Affairs Committee, The Florida Bar, 651 E. Jefferson Street, Tallahassee 32399-2300.Proposed Board of Governors actions January 15, 2003 Regular News Pursuant to Standing Board Policy 1.60, the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar hereby publishes this corrected notice of intent to consider or take final action at its January 29-31 meeting on the following items — superseding previous notice published in the January 1 News. These matters are additionally governed by Rule 1-12.1, Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, where applicable.Most amendments to the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar that are finally acted upon by the board must still be formally presented to the Supreme Court, with further notice and opportunity to be heard, before they are officially approved and become effective.To receive a full copy of the text of any of these proposed amendments call (850)561-5600, ext. 6802 — please reference any requested proposal by its title or item number and date of this publication. RULES REGULATING THE FLORIDA BAR Chapter 3 Rules of DisciplineSubchapter 3-6 Employment of Certain Attorneys or Former Attorneys 1. Rule 3-6.1 GenerallyRevised Summary: Adds a 3-year prohibition against a lawyer, who is barred or suspended from practice, from being employed or supervised by another attorney who was previously supervised by that barred or suspended lawyer at the time of their discipline. Chapter 4 Rules of Professional ConductSubchapter 4-1 Client-Lawyer Relationship 2. Rule 4-1.5 Fees for Legal ServicesSummary: Within title, subdivisions (a) & (b), and commentary relating to excessiveness versus reasonableness of fees, codifies that an attorney’s costs also must be reasonable; establishes criteria to determine reasonableness of costs; provides safe harbor for written cost disclosures; amends title, to read “Fees ‘and Costs’ for Legal Services”; also within subdivision (f) requires that the petitions and applications, along with the resulting order, only be served on The Florida Bar when the petition or application is denied; within subdivision (h), conforms verbiage to current viewpoint that lawyers may accept credit card payment for advance payment of fees and costs, deleting language that now limits charges under an approved credit plan to services actually rendered or cash actually paid; further deletes references to “approved” credit plans consistent with current Supreme Court practice; adds commentary to clarify that credit plans include credit card payments, and to confirm that a lawyer who accepts payment from a credit plan for advance fees or costs must hold such amount in trust per governing rules and must add the lawyer’s own money to the trust account in an amount equal to the amount charged by the credit plan for doing business with the plan. Fred Arthur Schwartz of Boca Raton has submitted an application for readmission to the Bar with the Florida Board of Bar Examiners. S chwartz resigned from the practice of law in Florida pursuant to the Supreme Court’s Order of February 20, 1997, under an allegation of misappropriation of trust funds.The Board of Bar Examiners will conduct a public hearing on Schwartz’s application for readmission and all members of the Bar are invited to write to the board regarding their knowledge of Schwartz, particularly in relation to his character and fitness for readmission.If you wish to be notified of the time and place of the hearing, submit a written request to Kathryn E. Ressel, Executive Director, Florida Board of Bar Examiners, 1891 Eider Court, Tallahassee 32399-1750.Burton Award nominations sought Continuing its practice of public involvement, The Florida Bar seeks a new member of the public to serve on its governing board.The board member will replace Royce Walden of Orlando, whose second two-year term expires June 2003.Since 1987, two public members have served on the Bar’s 52-member governing board, after the Supreme Court of Florida approved the organization’s request to have nonlawyer representation on the board. Only seven other state bars — Alaska, Arizona, California, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Wisconsin — and the District of Columbia have public members on their governing boards.A screening committee of The Florida Bar Board of Governors has been appointed to review the applications for the public member position, conduct final interviews and make recommendations to the Bar’s governing board during its April meeting in Kissimmee. The board will then recommend three persons to the Supreme Court of Florida and the court will appoint one of the three nominees to the board. The Board of Governors oversees the Bar’s lawyer discipline program, continuing legal education programs, legislative activities, and the overall administration of The Florida Bar.In addition to the two public members on the Board of Governors, one-third of all members of the 81 local grievance committees which hear complaints against attorneys are nonlawyers, as are one-third of the members of the 32 committees which oversee the Bar’s unlicensed practice of law investigations. These committees report to the Board of Governors, which in turn reports to the Supreme Court.Board members average 200-300 hours per year on Bar business depending on committee assignments. Although attorney members of the Bar’s governing board pay all expenses related to their attendance at six board meetings and other events held each year, nonlawyer board members are reimbursed for “reasonable travel and related expenses for attending official bar functions.”The new board member will serve a two-year term commencing June 27. Public members are not allowed by rule to serve more than two consecutive terms. Most of the Bar’s board is apportioned according to Florida’s 20 judicial circuits, with attorney members elected by lawyers in their locality. There are four additional out-of-state representatives. The other public member currently serving on The Florida Bar’s Board of Governors is Dr. Vivian Hobbs, Ph.D., of Tallahassee.Persons interested in serving as a public member may obtain the application form from the Bar’s Web site at www.FLABAR.org or call The Florida Bar at (850) 561-5600, ext. 6802 to request an application to be mailed. Completed applications should be mailed to John F. Harkness, Jr.,Bar executive director, 651 E. Jefferson Street, Tallahassee, 32399-2300. The deadline for submission of completed applications is January 31.Foundation seeks seven directors Bar seeks a public member for the Board of Governors Seven positions on The Florida Bar Foundation’s board of directors will be filled this year under the Florida Supreme Court approved governance plan which provides for 18 out of the 29-member Bar Foundation board to be selected equally by the Florida Supreme Court, The Florida Bar Board of Governors, and the board of directors of the Foundation.The six at-large seats to be filled for three-year terms beginning July 1 are currently held by: Michael A. Bander, Miami, and Kelley C. Howard, Tampa (Florida Supreme Court appointees), John J. Schickel, Jacksonville, and Jack P. Brandon, Lake Wales (Florida Bar Board of Governors appointees), Michael P. Stafford, Uniondale, NY, and Linda F. Wells, Tallahassee (Foundation appointees). Wells is not eligible for an additional term. Applicants for the at-large positions who are members of The Florida Bar also must be members of the Bar Foundation. Foundation members include annual contributors, Foundation Fellows, and participants in IOTA.The seventh board seat to be filled is for a public member currently held by T. Glenn Jackson, Jr., Windermere, who is eligible to serve a second two-year term. The public member position will be filled by a joint Bar/Foundation Nominating Committee.Since 1981, the Foundation’s principal activity has been setting policy and overseeing operation of the Supreme Court’s IOTA program. The court established the IOTA program to fund legal aid for the poor, improvements in the administration of justice, and loans and scholarships for law students. The Foundation board also oversees the Foundation’s formal fundraising program, sets investment policies, Foundation policies generally, and adopts the annual operating budget.Persons interested in applying for any of the seven Foundation board positions should obtain the appropriate application form. Applications for positions to be filled by the Supreme Court, Foundation (at-large seats), or the joint Bar/Foundation nominating committee (public member seat) may be obtained from the executive director of The Florida Bar Foundation, Suite 405, 109 East Church Street, Orlando, Florida 32801-3440, or downloaded from the Foundation’s Web site: www.flabarfndn.org under the governance section.Completed applications must be received by the Foundation by February 14. (The Florida Bar will give separate notice for the two positions to be filled by The Florida Bar Board of Governors. Applicants for Bar seats should contact the Bar directly.)The Florida Bar Foundation Board of Directors embraces the concept of diversity. A diverse membership makes the board stronger, and its work for the Foundation more relevant to the society in which we live. The Foundation strongly encourages minorities, women, and persons with disabilities to apply for service on the Board. To help achieve the broadest participation, The Florida Bar Foundation “Expense Reimbursement Policy” provides modest reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses incurred during board service.Applicants will be advised in writing of action taken by the selecting authorities.First Circuit JNC to fill judgeship The First Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission is now accepting applications for the circuit judge position being vacated as a result of Judge Kenneth Bell’s appointment to the Supreme Court.Applicants must be residents of the First Judicial Circuit (Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton Counties), registered voters, and a member of The Florida Bar for the past five years.Applications are available from The Florida Bar Web site at www.FLABAR.org, or from the acting chair of the JNC, Bruce D. Partington, by pick-up from his law office at 125 W. Romana St., Suite 800, Pensacola 32501, between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. An original plus nine copies of the completed application must be received by Partington no later than 5 p.m. January 22.Nunes petitions for Bar reinstatement Pursuant to Rule 3-7.10, David Smith Nunes has petitioned the Florida Supreme Court for Bar reinstatement.Nunes was suspended for three years after being found guilty of violations arising from making disparaging remarks about judges and opposing counsel, filing a frivolous lawsuit, representing clients after being discharged, and making false representations to a tribunal.Any person having knowledge bearing upon Nunes’ fitness or qualifications to resume the practice of law should contact Eric Montel Turner, chief branch disciplinary counsel, The Florida Bar, 5900 North Andrews Ave., Suite 835, Ft. Lauderdale 33309, telephone (954) 772-2245.Schwartz applies for readmission to the Bar January 15, 2003 Notices Subchapter 4-8 Maintaining the Integrity of the Profession 3. Rule 4-8.4 MisconductSummary: Within subdivision ( i ) and commentary, amends existing language prohibiting lawyer-client sexual conduct, to further recognize instances of sexual relations with “a representative of a client,” “including but not limited to a duly authorized constituent of” a corporate or other non-personal entity. Chapter 5 Rules Regulating Trust AccountsSubchapter 5-1 Generally 4. Rule 5-1.1 Trust AccountsSummary: Within subdivision (a)(1), clarifies that a lawyer may maintain funds belonging to the lawyer within a trust account in an amount no more than is reasonably sufficient to pay bank charges related to the account; deletes unnecessary cross-reference within subdivision (g)(2); adds new subdivision (h), to clarify that a lawyer shall not receive benefit from interest on funds held in trust that the lawyer determines are not nominal or short-term; revises subsequent subdivision entry accordingly; creates new comment, consisting of commentary transferred verbatim from rule 5-1.2 with the exception of first paragraph, and new language stating that a lawyer who holds trust funds and who determines that such funds are not nominal or short-term should place such funds in a separate interest-bearing account for the benefit of the client or third person unless directed otherwise in writing. Chapter 6 Legal Specialization and Education ProgramsSubchapter 6-9 Standards for Certification of a Board Certified Real Estate LawyerCorrected Summary: Proposes new standards within the following rules, to establish a more identifiable nexus between lawyers desiring certification in the field of real estate law and their actual practice and involvement in Florida real estate law. 5. Rule 6-9.1 Generally 6. Rule 6-9.2 Definitions 7. Rule 6-9.3 Minimum Standards 8. Rule 6-9.4 Recertification BOARD OF LEGAL SPECIALIZATION AND EDUCATION (BLSE) POLICIES400 Series – Florida Certification Plan 9. BLSE 4.03 Standard of Review S ummary: Clarifies standard of review for area committees, and confirms that an appellant bears the burden of demonstrating by clear and convincing evidence from the record below that the decision at issue was the product of a BLSE procedural violation or of fraud, discrimination, or arbitrary or capricious action. 10. BLSE 4.09 Consideration of AppealSummary: Within subdivision (b) deletes “supporting material filed by the petitioner” from the codified definition of “record”; within subdivision (c), deletes the restrictive bases for an appeals committee decision without oral argument; within subdivision (d) adds that tie votes of the appeals committee are considered favorable to the review panel decision, as well as the BLSE decision at issue.