FASD: 4-Hour Ethics Course for Special Districts

FASD: 4-Hour Ethics Course
FASD: 4-Hour Ethics Course for Special Districts
4.00 Hour(s)

The “Florida Association of Special Districts 4-Hour Ethics Course” meets the Legislature’s mandate that special districts' officials must have four hours total of Ethics Law, Sunshine Law and Public Records training annually.  This course was developed in partnership with the Florida Association of Special Districts (FASD). It is available to you 24/7, and you may pause and resume at your convenience.

REGISTRATION FEE: $49 for members  |  $79 for non-members

  •         1 Hour Open Records
  •         1 Hour Open Meetings
  •         2 Hours Florida Ethics
  •         State and Local Government Elected and Appointed Officials
  •         State and Local Government Staff Members
  •         State and Local Government Attorneys



  • Florida’s Public Record Act/What is a Public Record  
  • Public Records Exemptions & Confidential Public Records  
  • Public Records Exemptions 
  • Handling a Public Records Request  
  • Special Topics: Subpoenas & Social Media  
  • Government in the Sunshine Law Overview 
  • Slippery Slopes  
  • Florida Statute §286.011 
  • Government-in-the-Sunshine Manual 
  • Specific Issues Related to Statute & Consequences of Violations  
  • Code of Ethics Overview 
  • Unauthorized Compensation and Gifts 
  • Employment and Business Relationships 
  • Voting Conflicts 
  • Employment of Relatives and Revolving Door Restrictions 
  • Violations of Florida's Ethics Code 
  • Links to Resources Referenced in this Course
Jennifer Cowan
Jennifer Cowan

Jennifer Cowan is board certified by The Florida Bar in the area of City, County and Local Government Law. Ms. Cowan’s practice includes representing city and special district entities in all manner of legal matters. Specifically, Ms. Cowan serves as City Attorney, general counsel to a major deep-water seaport, and general counsel to another special district. Ms. Cowan also serves as Special Counsel to local governments in the state. Ms. Cowan advises public clients in matters including corporate governance, land use, public procurement, collective bargaining, employment law, ethics, public records, Sunshine Law, and real property issues. 
Prior to joining Bryant Miller Olive (BMO), Ms. Cowan also assisted private clients in matters involving Developments of Regional Impact, comprehensive plan amendments, concurrency matters, zoning issues, impact fees reimbursements and disputes, and development of Community Development Districts (CDD). Ms. Cowan has represented public and private clients in civil litigation and appellate matters. 
Ms. Cowan is a third generation Pinellas County, Florida native. She is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell. Ms. Cowan earned her law degree from Stetson University College of Law, cum laude. While in law school, Ms. Cowan was an intern for the then Justice Lewis of the Florida Supreme Court and Judge Rondolino of the Sixth Judicial Circuit. Before attending law school, Ms. Cowan worked for an intercity redevelopment agency in Los Angeles and a former Governor of the State of Florida. 

Laura Donaldson
Laura Donaldson

Laura Donaldson has represented clients before legislative and executive branches of government, agencies, Cabinet, and gubernatorial commissions on growth management, environmental, and local government issues. Ms. Donaldson has also been general counsel for local governments and special districts providing guidance related to government, environmental, and land use issues. She has negotiated and drafted complex and technical interlocal agreements, contracts, and other transaction documents. She also provided advice on water and environmental permitting issues.

Ms. Donaldson was the youngest and first female General Counsel for the Southwest Florida Water Management District, where she served for three years. In her role as General Counsel, she provided legal advice and counsel to the District’s Governing Board, the Executive Director, and staff regarding the interpretation and applicability of laws, regulations, and judicial decisions or rulings from federal, state and administrative branches, courts or agencies affecting the District. She reviewed District contracts and analyzed as well as drafted legislation. 

Ms. Donaldson received her B.S. and law degree from Florida State University. She is Florida bar certified in the area of City, County, and Local Government. Her practice areas are water, government, and environmental law and government affairs.

Maggie D. Mooney
Maggie D. Mooney

Maggie D. Mooney’s practice focuses on governmental law, special taxing districts, land use, administrative law, and litigation. For over 17 years, she has represented municipalities, dependent and independent special districts, and a deep-water port authority on various legal issues relating to land use, environmental law, contractual claims, public finance, public procurement, public private partnerships, taxing and special assessments, home rule authority, annexations, public records laws, Sunshine laws, and ethics laws. She has litigated matters on behalf of her local governments in state, federal and administrative courts, including the Florida Second District Court of Appeal and Florida Supreme Court. Ms. Mooney currently serves as the Town Attorney for the Town of Longboat Key and as Special Magistrate over code enforcement matters for the City of Bradenton. She also serves as general and special counsel to a number of independent and dependent special districts, including: fire control districts, library districts, beach districts, improvement and drainage districts and community development districts.  Ms. Mooney also represents private client interests on land use and local government-related matters before local jurisdictions not represented by our law firm.  

Ms. Mooney is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in City, County and Local Government Law and is “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell. She earned a B.S. in Communication from Florida State University and a J.D. from the University of Florida College of Law. She was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2002. Her areas of practice are local government, fire districts, community development districts, and special districts.