At a “Special Meeting” of the Sebastian City Council on July 1, discussion centered on a request to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis asking that he suspend two council members, Damien Gilliams and Pamela Parris. The request is based on the fact these two face charges of lying to state investigators and violating the state’s Sunshine Laws.
A recent Indian River Guardian commentary comedy-bombed Gilliams and Parris because their allegedly unlawful actions – including the murder of decorum – (along with Vice Mayor Charles Mauti, who pleaded no contest to the charges) seemed like a TV sitcom gone awry. Read it here
But to the citizens of Sebastian, their actions are beyond serious. Gilliams, Parris and Mauti were elected after voters in last fall’s election, unhappy over Council’s efforts to annex the Graves Brothers citrus packinghouse property, threw out the three incumbents and replaced them with the warm bodies running to unseat them. Many voters have since regretted their decision and initiated a recall petition that is still pending but appears to be on its way to approval.
Sebastian City Council meetings so far this year have provided some relief from the coronavirus news that has dominated media everywhere creating a sense of anxiety, fear and discord. City Council meetings and actions have also created a sense of anxiety, fear and discord, but the Larry, Moe and Curly of Sebastian at least created some laughs and eye-rolling to temper it a bit.
Although this Special Meeting was to approve a plea to the Governor to end the constant bickering and grandstanding, it turned into a bickering and grandstanding ensemble performance by the three accused – but still in office – Council members. When it came down to a vote though, apparently two of the three had had enough and joined the others, voted 4-1 in approval of the request for DeSantis’s help. Gilliams did not agree and even attempted to extend the meeting with agenda items alleging malfeasance and corruption by present and past Council members, city officials and staff members, a request to reorganize City Council (presumably declaring himself as Mayor), terminate the City Manager without cause and publicly rebuke the Chief of Police. All those items were tabled to be discussed at a future meeting, hopefully without Gilliams in attendance.
All joking aside, Sebastian citizens deserve a functioning city government and hopefully in the near future they will finally have one.