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Keep Digging.

In response to our post yesterday on Brevard County Commissioner Bryan Lober and his lack of fact checking, his lack of “due diligence,” and his apparent belief that those who exercise their Constitutional rights are acting in a “cowardly” manner, a commenter quoted the famous line from Will Rogers, “when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

It is a lesson that is lost on Lober.

After his screed claiming that a citizen would not be able to avail themselves of the County Attorney when it comes to questions on the Sunshine Laws and whether people in the government are following those laws, Maureen Rupe sent this email to County Manager Frank Abbate and “cc’ed” the County Commissioners:

(click image for larger version in a new window.)

In his previous responses to Rupe, Lober had left the door wide open for the confusion and a need for clarification.

Lober did in fact say that County Attorney Eden Bentley would not answer questions on such things as the Sunshine Laws. He also said that Rupe should stop bothering County Employees with questions and requests which leads to the confusion. He accused her of “wasting the time” of County employees.

Was Lober insinuating that County employees would not respond to requests as Lober had instructed Bentley not to do? If that is the case, shouldn’t Rupe or anyone have the right to know what was going on?

The email is addressed to County Manager Frank Abbate as it should be. According to the County Charter, it is the County Manager that is responsible for the County staff (with a few exceptions.)

SECTION 3.3. POWERS AND DUTIES

The County Manager shall be the head of the executive branch of County Government, and shall be responsible to the Board of County Commissioners for the proper administration of all affairs of County Government not otherwise entrusted to an elected County officer. The Manager shall attend all regular and special meetings of the Board of County Commissioners and shall have the right to participate in its discussions.

SECTION 3.4. NONINTERFERENCE BY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

Except for the purpose of inquiry and information, the Board of County Commissioners, and committees of Commissioners, are expressly prohibited from interfering with the performance of the duties of any employee of the County Government who is under the direct or indirect supervision of the County Manager. Such action shall be malfeasance within the meaning of Article IV, Section 7(a) of the State Constitution. (emphasis ours)

One would have thought that the best course of action for Commissioner Lober to take at this point was silence. It would have been prudent to let Abbate answer the question from Rupe in general while also allowing Abbate and the County employees deal with issues and inquiries from a citizen. In that Loper described County employees as hard working and “well intentioned,” you would think he would trust them, their immediate supervisors and County Mananger Abbate to handle any situations that came up.

Lober should have let the email pass. He should have let Abbate handle it and move on.

Instead, Lober pulled out a shovel and continued to dig:

(click image for a larger version in a new window.)

Rupe is from England but has lived here for decades. It is interesting to note that not one of communications with County staff or Commissioner Lober has any what we would call “the Queen’s English” to it. She had never mentioned she took a “lift” instead of an elevator, or put something in a “boot” rather than the trunk of her car. She’s never mentioned “fish and chips” or “bangers and mash” and has not, to our knowledge, told any County employee, or elected official (especially Lober) to “bugger off you silly sod.”

Therefore, we don’t understand where Lober is coming from when he says that Rupe should “have a speaker of Native English read the email” to her. We agree that there might be some confusion as to what Lober was trying to say in regards to who Rupe could contact within the County, but that confusion seems to us to rest with Lober – not Rupe. A case could also be made that if Lober wants to interfere with the County Staff and their responses, he would be guilty of malfeasance as indicated by the County Charter and the Florida Constitution in the passage we referenced above.

We are sorry to say that this is just another attempt by Lober to shut a speaker down – to limit their rights to speak and to seek redress with government. After all, if Lober doesn’t want Rupe to even be talking with the County government, how can she seek redress?

However, the oddest thing that we find is Lober’s statement that:

There are ample opportunities to be productive in Brevard County. Please avail yourself to one instead of intentionally remaining an ongoing impediment upon others.

We decided for kicks and grins to look at the biographies of Commissioner Lober and Citizen Rupe.

There is quite a difference.

We Googled Bryan Lober and found that most of his activities are legally and politically related.

  • The Vassar B. Carlton American Inn of Court
  • Brevard County Bar Association
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (Brevard County chapter)
  • Trump Club of Brevard County
  • Brevard Republican Executive Committee

That is not to say that Lober does not have other interests, but that is what we could find. We want to be clear on that. We are not saying that these are the only organizations or groups he supports or is a member of – only those we could find.

(As a side note, after the election, the Space Coast Daily interviewed Lober:

SPACE COAST DAILY: With the benefit of hindsight, what factors do you credit with your victory?
COMMISSIONER LOBER: The perseverance of hardworking supporters, a thick skin, and a consistent message.

We aren’t sure the Lober understands the meaning of “thick skin,” but we digress.)

We then Googled Maureen Rupe and found:

  • Director of Parrish Medical Center since 2002.
  • Partnership for a Sustainable Future
  • member of the North Brevard Medical Support Board
  • the Brevard County 2001 Redistricting Committee
  • Co-chair, Port St. John for Tomorrow
  • Parrish Medical Center Port St. John Liaison Committee
  • Port St. John Homeowner’s Association board of directors and several terms as president
  • Port St. John Citizens Observation Patrol (COP)
  • Brevard County District 1 Transportation Advisory Committee
  • Brevard County Gun Discharge Task Force
  • Brevard Visioning Steering Committee
  • Port St. John/Canaveral Groves Interstate 95 Interchange Committee
  • Board of Directors for the Marine Resource Council
  • founding member of the Brevard Chapter of the United Scleroderma Foundation
  • chair and board member on League of Women Voters
  • charter review commission member for Brevard County 2003/2004
  • Brevard County Land Procedures and Policies Committee
  • chairman of Port St. John Library board
  • president of Brevard British Club.

In addition, in 2016 Rupe was awarded the Charlie Corbeil Conservation Award which recognizes local conservationists for their commitment to improving the community.

Bryan “Due Diligence” Lober strikes again by saying that someone who is clearly involved in the community (and arguably more so than he is) needs to “avail” herself to “opportunities to be productive in Brevard County.”

Oy vey.

The email from Lober is another attempt to shut down a person from exercising their rights. On top of that, the “native English” reference is a bit insulting for daily use and certainly insulting for a sitting Commissioner to use in reference to a citizen.

We will continue to say that Lober needs to apologize, face censure from the Brevard County Commission or resign. Pick any two.

If he does that, well, then “Bob’s your uncle.”

We suspect he won’t.



2 Responses to “Keep Digging.”

  1. Bob Chadwick says:

    Reading Lober’s response to Ms. Rupe, I am reminded of a film clip I saw a while back of a baboon sitting in the fork of a tree, screaming loudly and incoherently at the crowd gathered to watch his antics, and occasionally reaching around behind himself to grab a handful of feces to hurl at the crowd.

    Is this is the best that the citizens of Brevard County could find to lead us?

    • AAfterwit says:

      Bob Chadwick,

      Thanks for the comment.

      To us, it is more than just Lober’s conduct that is appalling. The rest of the Commission knows what he is doing and what he has done and they sit on their hands instead of calling him on it.

      We liken it to a child screaming in a store. Do you blame the child? The parent? Or both? (We think depending on the age of the child, both, but that is us.)

      We will keep beating this drum until this changes: Commission members (as well as some municipal Councils / Commissions) demand decorum and reverence to people on the dais, but it doesn’t extend back toward the citizens.

      It is almost as if they forget that respect is a two way street and the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Florida trump their perceived fiefdoms.

      A. Afterwit.

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