Citizen reaction to Zudans’ comments regarding City Clerk Tammy Bursick


Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to all City Council members from Bev Paris, former City and now County resident. She is a longtime supporter of and volunteer for City activities along with her husband, Marty. Her feelings about Tammy Bursick are shared by many in our community.

Dear City Council:

Beverly Paris

Some of you know me, and some do not.  At the very least, many of you may know my name as an active member of the Vero Beach community, as a publicist, special event coordinator and marketing professional for businesses and non-profits, as well as projects that I have done for the City of Vero Beach.  I am a positive individual, making things happen for activities I work on and believe in. I am presently the publicist for the City Centennial Celebration and proudly, a friend and close business associate of Tammy Bursick.

Above all, I am appalled at the treatment and call for “lack of confidence” in Tammy Bursick, your dedicated City Clerk, Supervision of Elections, Co-Chair of the Centennial and major cheerleader for the City of Vero Beach. We are all aware of the election mishap that occurred and finally, with your council reversing the decision, a special election will be held. We also know that Tammy Bursick was not the only individual involved in what happened, and certainly should not be the person so take the full brunt of what could have been an oversight by a number of individuals or in my opinion, a questionable series of events.  Perhaps the right thing to do is to question whether or not the election procedures are up-to-date and to see if the Charter needs to be altered to reflect needed changes.The City may have made an error in what happened, but don’t we all try to learn and improve by our mistakes? Don’t we try to take a negative and make it  a positive?  It appears City Council did by asking for a special election.  Could that not be the end of it instead of admonishing, embarrassing or finger-pointing at others?

Truly, to pluck Tammy Bursick out as someone that you may have lost confidence in without looking at the entire picture of Tammy Bursick is short-sighted. Tammy’s record of achievements working for the City of Vero Beach should not only be applauded, but done so loudly. Her lenghtly commitment to the City of Vero Beach overall says it all.  Her abilities in fundraising for many non-profit organizations that she has served with is beyond outstanding. Her demeanor, caring personality, and honest belief in her convictions should be recognized.  She is trustworthy, gracious, and someone to rely on. It would appear that City Council should consider how fortunate they are to have an employee such as Tammy Bursick who believes in her missions, stands by her words and burns the midnight oil to get a job done. She does not take credit, she’s the first to pat someone else on the back for a job well done, and she represents the City of Vero Beach, everywhere she goes, whatever she participates in, with the utmost of grace, pride and positivity. The community holds her in high esteem. The Centennial Celebration would be nothing without Tammy Bursick behind it, every step of the way, unifying the community together to celebrate the history of Vero Beach, the accomplishments made by many people, families and organzations, and to memorialize it for generations to come.

In my opinion, and I am not alone, the question of “lack of confidence” in one undeserving person is not only a ridiculous notion, but perhaps, it should be done as a soul- searching session for each of the city council members before declaring it on someone else.  May we all consider what the holiday season means and what leadership truly means. In watching all the eulogies at President George Bush’s funeral service yesterday, each and every speaker spoke to leadership and how President Bush was truly an example of someone who led our country through positive thinking, solid belliefs and friendship.  We can all learn from that.  I hope some of that, plenty of that, rubs off on each of you at the meeting on December 11 when this “lack of confidence” is explored.  Perhaps you all look in the mirror and figure out what is really important here.   You have an amazing employee, friend and supporter in Tammy Bursick.  That should speak vollumes to each and everyone of you. This is your PR moment.  Take a negative and make a positive out it. Then, perhaps, you will be applauded for doing the right thing.


Beverly S. Paris


  1. Tammy has never been anything but a genuine asset to the residents of Vero Beach and to the city’s government. If you needed something, ask Tammy where to find it. If anything, there are those who benefited from having Mrs. Hillman and Mr. Heady eliminated from the ballot in November. Too much of a coincidence that both supposedly failed to dot every I and cross every T on papers. If Tammy okay’d their papers and swore them in, that is good enough for me…..and my husband.

  2. Bev, that was a great letter and I thank you for saying so eloquently what I and so many others think about Tammy Bursick. I will be at the meeting on Tuesday, 12/11 at 5 p.m. to support the wonderful person and City Clerk that Tammy is!

  3. Before having another child and moving out of the City of Vero Beach to a home in the county to better accommodate my growing family, I had the honor to serve on the City’s Board of Adjustment for a number of years. During that time I became acquainted with Tammy Bursick. I found her to be not only a competent administrator, but also a staunch cheerleader for the City of Vero Beach. She has seen elected officials come and go, steadfastly doing her job with passion and excellence. As has been said already, no one is really certain whose fault it is for the current election fiasco. However, the one thing I am certain of is that if the current members of the City Council vote to fire Tammy Bursick, they wouldn’t be around long come the next election.

  4. Darryl, I am posting this comment as a lead to get more attention. Your sentiments are shared by many.

  5. Darryl, what a great post. Many of us in the community feel the same way as you do. Thanks for your accurate words!

  6. I want to thank Bev Paris for the excellent letter sent on behalf of Tammy Bursick who is a dedicated City employee. Most of all I want to thank Tammy herself, for the professional way she has handled the complete mishap of this last election. I want to make it perfectly clear that I do not put blame on Tammy for what has occurred and how it occurred.

    I don’t feel it is necessary for me to point fingers at anyone, however, that is not the case with the council members whom in fact voted 3 separate times to “let the courts decide,” to quote Mayor Harry Howle.

    In the past our city did not need to “patrol” the way it has been run, however this is not true today. We have antiquated policies and problems with how paperwork is handled and who is allowed to access it without accountability or monitoring. The election files should be PROTECTED at all times. There should be more than one person verifying filing papers and careful scanning of those applications should be put into action. Allowing “opinions” of city employees i.e. Assistant City Attorneys, to make a judgement to disqualify candidates without a canvassing board meeting on an election problem will remain to be problematic if not changed. Due process is essential and is the fundamental right of every person wishing to run for an elected office.

    What is being discussed on Tuesday of Ms. Bursick is an outrage. The fact that this discussion is even on the agenda is the work of one council member alone, and it is the same person who emailed Ms. Bursick the night of September 10th telling her he had heard there were problems with some of the candidate paper work, “keep me informed,” and yet it was the same council member whom on August 21st, said on the record, that he had copied my files. Why would he copy my files? This is, in my opinion, admission enough to prove that he knew then that there were “missing” signatures, or so claimed, and at that point and time should have advised the clerk that they were not complete. The occurrences since then should lie on his shoulders alone for NOT being ethical, professional, and for knowingly throwing the city in a tail spin of events.

    I could have let the lawsuit continue until Dec.17th and “let the courts decide,” but when the City decided to make a settlement offer, I did not see it necessary to go forward with the lawsuit. I was to be reinstated on the ballot and a new election would be declared. This was a ” NO FAULT” settlement and should remain just that. No one’s fault. Correct the City policies on elections. Move forward. However, there still remains to be a “struggle for Power” with certain council members and the pursuit to keep me off of the council will continue. Allowing the courts to “decide” as they wished would have produced the same results. I am sure of that. This would only have extended the new election date further, and as we can see, even the courts decision would not have mattered to the majority of the people sitting on council.

    To Ms. Bursick, my apologies for what she is going through. She is the City Clerk that most other cities dream of having. Her dedication to this community is flawless. She is an amazing asset to all of us that deserves better treatment from the people she has dedicated her career to.

    Linda Hillman

  7. I have heard from some persons with knowledge of this case that all candidates had flaws in their filing forms,so if this is true why was Ms Hillman and Brian Heady the only candidates singled out for disqualification?
    Several things might happen if Ms Bursick is fired. This list might include a town wide uproar ,a recall election, and several costly lawsuits. Wiser heads must prevail

  8. I know this won’t be published, but here goes…

    If it’s true that more candidates should have been disqualified for problems with their paperwork (I would agree to some but not all), whose fault would that be? Wouldn’t it be the Clerk’s office?

    Can’t blame that on Zudans or the Council as a whole.

  9. Mark,
    The only candidate without paperwork errors is Brackett (check it out). Yet, the only candidates disqualified were Hillman and Heady, which I’m sure pleased Zudans. While I agree that security and paperwork needs to be cleaned up based on this ONE incident, I disagree with throwing the baby out with the bath water. Appoint a committee to work with Tammy or better, Have Leslie Swan work with her. By firing Tammy (after Coment ‘retired’) it looks like a vendetta by Zudans because they re-qualified Hillman.

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