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Palm Bay: City Manager Morrell In the Florida Today.

Palm Bay City Manager Lisa Morrell

Before we start this, we want to make clear two things. First, we took no exception to the termination of Palm Bay City Manager Gregg Lynk. Lynk had lost the trust of many people in the City which is bad enough, but his investigation by the FDLE for accepting bribes and kickbacks while City Manager is something that cannot be accepted. (Unless, of course, you are Councilmen Santiago and Anderson who voted to retain Lynk.)

Secondly, we like Lisa Morrell and thought that she would be a good Interim City Manager. We thought that she should get a chance to prove herself capable of sitting in the “big chair.”

However, we noticed some things that didn’t seem “kosher” right off the bat. When Lynk was removed, Morrell came to the meeting dressed in full professional business attire. We had never seen her dressed that way as her job normally allowed for much less casual attire.

When Morrell was nominated to be the interim City Manager, we knew that she had been spoken to prior to the meeting by one or more Council members.

If that occurred, as we believe it did, it was a violation of the City Charter which in fact limits the contact between Council members and the staff and department heads:

3.052 Interference with administration. Neither the council nor its members shall either direct, interfere, or otherwise deal with city officers and employees who are subject to the direction and supervision of the city manager, except through the city manager.

We had seen this before in Satellite Beach. Interim City Manager Ayn Samuelson was removed from that position and replaced by another Interim City Manager after a long meeting which went past midnight. The person who replaced her was the Police Chief, who had spoken with a Council member that morning contrary to the Satellite Beach City Charter.

On November 21, when Palm Bay removed Gregg Lynk, the City Council nominated and then voted to approve Morrell. The same series of events – the removal of one City Manager and the appointment of another – happened in Satellite Beach. When the City Council voted to appoint Morrell, they violated the Florida statute that requires that anything that needs a vote and accepts public comment must be on the agenda. Just like in Satellite Beach, the City Council failed to meet that obligation. The removal of Lynk was on the agenda. The appointment of an Interim City Manager was not.
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Palm Bay: It Almost Seems They Can’t Help Themselves.

It almost seems that Palm Bay can’t stop hiring and promoting the same people that caused or were a part of the lack of trust that citizens have in the City.

Former Brevard County commissioner Andy Anderson is now serving his second stint as Palm Bay’s interim deputy city manager.

Interim City Manager Lisa Morrell appointed Anderson to the post Monday, following the firings of Palm Bay City Hall’s three highest-ranking administrators.

[….]

Anderson is Palm Bay’s economic development and external affairs director, earning $91,857 per year. He was hired in May 2015 while serving as District 5 Brevard County commissioner, a post that he held from 2008-16.

“Mr. Anderson has the capable knowledge of critical and high priority city projects in progress,” Morrell stated in a press release.

“He will have shared oversight of essential projects within the departments of Public Works, Facilities, Economic Development, and Growth Management and will offer these project areas additional leadership, collaboration, and continuity for actionable execution and success,” Morrell stated.

One of the things that was said about Anderson when he returned to the City was that he had “lots of contacts.” (Who knew that government was a social media circle?)
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Palm Bay: Fisking Council Comments On Dismissing Gregg Lynk.

We have talked about the dismissal of former Palm Bay City Manager Gregg Lynk and subsequent events. This post will deal not with the basis for the dismissal, but the comments made by Councilman Anderson and Santiago who voted to retain Lynk. We may touch on Lynk somewhat, but we really want to concentrate on the reasoning and thought processes the two men expounded upon during the discussion on the resolution to dismiss Lynk.

You can watch the video of this portion of the meeting on the “Video on Demand” page of the City’s website. (See here.)

The resolution to dismiss Lnnk was Councilman Bailey’s and as such he led off the discussion starting at 25:55 of the video.

Bailey stated:

COUNCILMAN BAILEY: Mayor, and I want us on that last piece there (comments by a citizen) on self control and I want to be in control so I wrote down certain thoughts. I think that this is something that for a lot of those folks who were speaking tonight, and the people up here, including Councilman Johnson now, these are not new concerns in the City with Management. I think there’s been a lot of information aired out not just eight minutes of information. It’s throughout the campaign trail and throughout just watching the City and being involved for the last couple of years. For my opinion, and that my opinion is that the City suffers from poor management for a number of years and we need to make real changes. I think this election reflected the need for that. And with a one-time $150 million dollar bond for roads coming, we need to have the right financial management in place immediately to insure we can get the most critical work done and accomplished in a reasonable time frame in the City. And I believe that right now we are lacking those skill sets to be able to do that – to move forward – with such an expensive project. So I believe that new management is the best way for the City to recover. I know that there’s folks who think that might be a negative thing, if somehow you are tied to that person, that’s fine. Not everybody’s going to be pleased. But I do believe that making sure we switch it now….we’re not going to be able to switch it a few months from now. It’s going to be much more difficult as we move forward with other projects to make that type of transition. We need to get started now and immediately. So I think we need to build a more co-operative relationship with all stakeholders and rebuild the trust with the citizens and all the stakeholders in the City. So that kind of gives the general…I don’t think it is appropriate to get into too many weeds. I think there are other questions of “for cause” that would be put out there if Council wants to consider those, that’s up to them. That’s my speech and of course I know that to me this is business and I think this is the smartest business choice moving the City forward. I think there are a lot of folks that would agree to that.

Councilman Anderson responded:
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Palm Bay: DEVELOPING: Dear Gregg, Can We Get Our Car Back?

According to one source, after last week’s City Council meeting, Gregg Lynk hopped in the car provided by the City for the City Manager, picked up his girlfriend and drove to South Florida.

According to the same source, the City is wondering whether to report the vehicle as stolen or simply go down to South Florida and have it towed back here.

Lynk was no longer an employee of the City and therefore not entitled to use of the vehicle.

The City is deciding whether to report the car as stolen or to simply go and have the car towed back here.

We have no issues with the car being reported as stolen. Let the chips fall where they may on that one.

If the City decides to have the vehicle towed, according to long distance towing rates online, the cost would be $500.00 and up. Certainly the City of Palm Bay and the taxpayers shouldn’t have to eat that cost. That should come out of the severance package Lynk received.

No one should be immune from ripping the taxpayers and the City off.

One question that should be asked is “no one thought to get Lynk’s keys the moment he was terminated?”

No one said “turn over all City property?”

In times of crisis and personal challenges, true character comes through.



Palm Bay: Draining Of The Swamp. The Purge Continues.

We have to say that we didn’t see this one coming.

Palm Bay deputy city managers fired as administrative shake-up continues

Palm Bay’s deputy city managers have been terminated in the aftermath of former city manager Gregg Lynk’s firing last week.

Monday, Interim City Manager Lisa Morrell fired Deputy City Manager Ron Clare, who was hired by the city in December 2014, and newly hired Deputy City Manager William Curry.

“After careful review and interpretation of the direction and intent of Council’s discussion at the Nov. 21 special council meeting, it was determined that the best path forward would be to undertake a full reconfiguration of Palm Bay’s senior management team,” Morrell said.

Lynk was fired the night before Thanksgiving by a 3-2 Palm Bay City Council vote. Mayor William Capote, Jeff Bailey and Kenny Johnson voted to fire Lynk, while Deputy Mayor Brian Anderson and Harry Santiago voted no.

Clare was initially hired as Palm Bay’s director of human resources, then was promoted to deputy city manager.

In Clare’s termination letter, Morrell wrote that his services were no longer required, effective immediately. She stated that he served in an at-will position and could be released from employment without cause or notice, per city code.

Clare will receive 248 hours of vacation pay. He had previously directed the Broward County Sheriff’s Office human services bureau and worked as Lake Worth’s interim human resources director, following a series of jobs in Rhode Island.

Curry is a retired New Jersey State Parole Board deputy executive director who had 30 years of experience in the New Jersey corrections system. Lynk introduced Curry during the Oct. 4 City Council meeting.

In Curry’s termination letter, Morrell wrote that she was releasing him from employment “after carefully considering your performance during your initial orientation and probationary period.”

We have never seen this type of action from interim City Managers. That is neither a good or bad thing only that it is unusual.

When Morrell was at the last City Council meeting she was in a business suit which we thought was unusual for her as she usually dresses in a casual manner.
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Gregg Lynk and Mike McNees. ‘Tis The Season?

What is this? Open season on City Managers?

According to the Florida Today, Melbourne is looking to dismiss their City Manager Mike Nees. More on that in a moment.

We wanted to talk for a moment concerning a comment left on our post that Palm Bay City Manager Gregg Lynk was relieved of his duties this past Wednesday night.

The last time our City Council took it upon themselves to fire (in this case for cause) a City Manager, it cost us taxpayers $300,000 and a bus ticket out of town.

I hope that those who decided this step was necessary had the foresight to look and see how much this little act of political (vengeance?) is going to cost us this time.

The commenter raises a valid point.

First, we aren’t sure where the number of $300,000 comes from. We aren’t doubting its veracity, but we can’t get to that number in our minds. (We really can’t get there with the Lynk termination so we will use the Lynk termination numbers.)

According the Mayor Capote and City Attorney Smith, Lynk’s separation package – irrespective of whether the separation was for “cause” of “no cause” – is 20 weeks of severance pay. According to several sources, Lynk’s contract was for a little over $183K so let’s call that $184,000 for the sake of making the math a little easier. Divide that $184,000 by 52 weeks then multiply it by 20 weeks for the cost of the separation package cost.

The cost of the separation package is therefore roughly $70,769. In addition, we suspect that Lynk’s medical insurance will be carried for a time and we have no idea how much that is.
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Palm Bay: BREAKING NEWS. City Manager Gregg Lynk Removed From Office.

As we mentioned earlier today, the City of Palm Bay voted tonight to retain or remove Gregg Lynk as City Manager.

The Council voted 3-2 to remove Lynk with Mayor Capote, Councilman Bailey, Councilman and Councilman Johnson for Lynk’s removal and Councilman Santiago and Councilman Anderson against it.

There were several surprises to us in the discussions leading up to the vote.

1) Several City Union heads spoke in favor of retaining Lynk citing the good relationship they had with him. One union head said they had not had a grievance in sometime with the City. While the speaker meant that as a positive, it is not. The fact that the City under Lynk did not have disputes with the union may indicate the City rolled over to too many demands. The fact of the matter is that management and unions are always at odds with each other and the idea that Lynk was not may not be a positive thing.

2) No one spoke in favor of dismissing Mr. Lynk. That too was curious to us.

3) A letter and criminal investigation concerning Mr. Lynk was mentioned. That too is troubling.

4) Councilman Anderson spoke in favor of Lynk by saying in part that City voters had voted overwhelmingly to approve the bond issue and that shows a confidence in the City Manager. We would disagree. It shows that people want the roads fixed as has not been happening. We don’t know of anyone who went to the polls and said “you know, I am going to vote for this bond thing because of the City Manager.”
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Palm Bay: Tonight: City Council To Vote On City Manager Gregg Lynk.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is our third post of the day.

This ought to be interesting…..

Palm Bay City Councilman Jeff Bailey — a frequent critic of City Hall administration — has called for a resolution to terminate City Manager Gregg Lynk.

The Palm Bay City Council will consider the resolution during a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Lynk would be terminated without cause.

“I think that’s the best path for Palm Bay to move forward, just to separate our ways and let him go and let us rebuild,” Bailey said. He declined to comment further before the meeting.

Former Councilman Holton would normally have been a swing vote here, and with him gone that changes the game a lot.

The only thing we would caution is that we don’t know when Lynk’s contract is up for renewal. If the Council fires him now, there could be buyouts in the contract that would not come into play if they simply don’t renew the contract. Yet that all depends on when the contract expires. If it expires at the end of the year, the Council could and perhaps should, just let the contract run out. If it expires 10 months from now, that is a different story as the Council members may not feel the City is not well served under Lynk and won’t do will under his leadership for 10 more months (or whatever it is.)

What we are trying to say is that the contract language may play a role in this as well.

Certainly the cost of a head hunter to replace Lynk is the same no matter the timing, but to be honest, most people aren’t looking to change jobs this time of year and so that may limit applicants, (depending on how fast the search company can get up to speed.)
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