Utility Commission Chairman and Vero Beach City Council candidate Laura Moss again this week raised questions about Mayor Jay Kramer’s Aug. 9 appearance before the Utilities Commission wearing a shirt bearing a campaign message. At the time, Kramer was a candidate for the Indian River County Commission.
Mayor Jay Kramer spoke from the podium addressing his concerns over selling Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customers for $17 million less than the $47 million recommended by a team of five experts. The Commission ultimately recommended accepting $30 million, rather than $47 million, but that advice was not followed by the City Council.
Following up on answers she received in late August from City Attorney Wayne Coment, Moss again this week questioned the legality of Kramer’s attire. Referring to Kramer, not by name but as the “Presiding Member,” Moss wrote, “For the purpose of clarification, given that the Presiding Member explicitly presented himself in his official position while wearing clothing promoting his own candidacy in a political race, how does Florida State 104.31(2)…not apply to his behavior as cited in no. 3 of my inquiry to you dated 31AUG2016…?
Responding to Moss, Coment wrote, “You will note I limited that response to a question of the Mayor wearing a shirt at the time of his attendance at the advisory board meeting that stated his name and the office for which he was a candidate at the time. I am still of the same opinion previously expressed as the wearing of such apparel, lapel pins, and other modes of passive political expression have been deemed to be not within the prohibitions of the statute you cite. Additionally, the referenced subsection (2) is expressly limited to “employees” and elected officials are not considered employees. (Note that subsection (1) specifically includes officers). Should you require further guidance regarding political campaigns, campaigning, candidates, campaign finance, or the like, I can only suggest you inquire of the Florida Elections Commission. The Commission contact information is attached for your convenience.”
Just today, InsideVero submitted a questionnaire to all six City Council candidates, including a question about what each of them believes to be the major issues facing the City of Vero Beach. Given the time and energy Moss is spending dogging Mayor Kramer, one has to wonder if she considers clothing a major issue; or perhaps she is simply revealing an inclination to be exceedingly petty.