Palm Bay: Jeff Bailey Announces Resignation. He Needs To Resign Now.

Palm Bay City Councilman Jeff Bailey announced his resignation at the July 1, 2021 City Council meeting.

Bailey has long been considered to be member of the Council who is most fiscally conservative and who often fought for constituents rather than special interests and for the City government itself. Bailey always seemed to view taxpayer dollars as if they were his own and coming out of his pocket rather than money that grew on trees in City Hall as many Council members do.

Bailey literally was considered the “people’s Councilman,” and he will be missed.

Bailey’s resignation, which is effective August 5, 2021 kicks in a provision of the City Charter covering vacancies on the City Council:

§ 50.55 COUNCILMEMBER — PERMANENT VACANCY. (A) When a permanent vacancy occurs in the office of councilmember as a result of death, resignation, illness, disability, forfeiture of office, written court order, or other lawful written order or action, such vacancy shall be filled in accordance with the following procedures:

(1) When there is one (1) year or less remaining in the term of said office, the council shall, by a majority vote, choose a qualified successor to serve the remainder of the term.

(2) When more than one (1) year is left remaining in the term of said office and no general municipal election is scheduled within one (1) year, a special election shall be scheduled to be held no sooner than ninety (90) days or more than one hundred eighty (180) days following the date of the vacancy. The individual elected shall serve the remainder of the unexpired term. (Ord. 2012-47, passed 12-20-12)

§ 50.18 SPECIAL ELECTIONS. (A) A special election may be called by the City Council only after notice is given to the supervisor of elections and his/her consent obtained as to a date.

(B) Special elections may be called by resolution or ordinance of the City Council. Such resolution or ordinance shall be adopted by the City Council not less than sixty (60) days prior to the proposed date of such election and contain the following information:

(1) The date upon which such election is to be held;

(2) The purpose of such election;

(3) The wording of the ballot to be used in such election.

(4) The City Clerk shall give notice of the special election and the provisions thereof by and through the publication of an advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation in the city at least thirty (30) days before the day upon which the election is to be held, and again at least fifteen (15) days before the special election. A sample ballot shall be published at least one (1) day prior to the election. (Ord. 2001-08, passed 2-1-01; Am. Ord. 2013-31, passed 4-4-13) (emphasis ours)

In that Bailey’s term would end in November of 2022, (in more than a year,) the City of Palm Bay would have to hold a Special Election to fill his seat.

Now in a stunning move, the City Council is set to vote on an ordinance that will change the City Charter to make it so anytime a vacancy on the City Council occurs, the City Council will appoint the replacement. From the City Council Agenda for July 15, 2021:

As you can see, the Council’s move is to take away the people’s vote and exchange their 4 votes for the potential 77,000 votes of the people of Palm Bay.

In order for the Council to disenfranchise the citizens of Palm Bay when it comes to filling Bailey’s spot, the Council would have to pass the ordinance after two readings – one this coming week on Thursday, and the other on the first Council meeting in August which would be the night Bailey’s resignation becomes effective at the end of the meeting.

Bailey can circumvent this change in the law by resigning effective at the end of the meeting on July 15, 2021.

If he does that, the City is locked into the current provisions of the Charter, and not the ones they want to take effect after August 5, 2021.

Think about this for a moment……

If this ordinance is passed, the people would be stripped of their current right to vote under the current charter and have that right replaced by the votes of:

1) A Council member who campaigned on cleaning up Palm Bay and having a forensic audit done, but has not followed through on any of those campaign promises;
2) A Council member who is banned from Brevard County Public School property for inappropriate conduct with a minor;
3) Two council members who took campaign (and kept) contributions from a person charged with illegal campaign contributions. (One of the Councilmembers has a ethics violation for failing to comply with campaign finance laws.)

Not exactly a stellar crowd.

People are also questioning “who wrote the proposed changes?”

It is a good question and the answer from one Councilmember is that the changes were written by the City Attorney. (Or at least her office.)

City Attorney Smith’s tenor in her office has not been without controversy. She has taken positions that are against the First Amendment. She has lied to the people and the City Council in the case of ballot petitions.

If Smith did indeed write these proposed changes, who told her to do so?

For something like this, the City Attorney would work at the direction of the City Council – not just one member or even several members asking her to do so.

It is the Council as a whole that directs her and that didn’t happen – at least not in public.

So who pulled her strings?

Who went behind the transparency of the City Council meetings and told to Smith to write the proposal?

Palm Bay Councilman Randy Foster has indicated that he will vote for the changes due to the cost of a special election which the City Clerk has estimated at over $100,000.

Yet Foster voted for a pay raise for the police just two months after a new contract had been approved. He wasn’t concerned about costs to the public then.

Foster also voted to give City employees Christmas Eve off, (at a cost of nearly $90,000.) He wasn’t concerned about costs to the City then. (The day off gave City employees more days off in a calendar year then Federal employees.)

Foster is fine with spending money to buy votes with taxpayer dollars, but isn’t going to allow money spent to allow citizens to vote according to the City Charter.

It is cheaper just to disenfranchise the voters and be done with it.

Imagine if you will, an election for the City Council between three fictitious people named “Able,” “Baker” and “Charlie.”

Members of the City Council have spoken to each other and want Charlie on the Council. Charlie fits their political views and beliefs better than Able and Baker.

Unfortunately, Charlie is running dead last in this three horse race. The people can’t stand Charlie and don’t want to see him on the City Council.

A month before the election, the City Council votes on the idea that the City Council will vote on who is a City Council member instead of the public. They pass a resolution saying they they and they alone can determine who sits on the dais.

People would go nuts – and rightfully so.

No one would expect that the Council can change the rules of who is a Councilmember that close to an election.

Yet that is what is happening here.

The City Council is saying “we – not you the people – know what is best for the Council membership.”

They are saying “when we don’t like the outcome, we change the rules.”

That’s unacceptable.

As we said, the way to stop this malarkey in its tracks is for Bailey to make his resignation effective prior to the August 5, 2021 meeting.

Bailey has generally served the people of Palm Bay well. For the most part, he has always acted in their best interest.

It is time for him to act that way one more time.

Councilman Jeff Bailey needs to resign effective prior to the August 5th meeting.

16 Responses to “Palm Bay: Jeff Bailey Announces Resignation. He Needs To Resign Now.”

  1. Percy Veer says:

    Nothing surprises me anymore from the PB city council, what surprises me is that the residents seem to put up with it and don’t vote these clowns out of office.

    It would be interesting if Bailey leaves a bit early to see how the council would try to Weasley around that news. I’m sure they would try to pull something.

  2. Tom Rebman says:

    Do you think it is a coincidence that Jeff Bailey picked a date that would cause this? You may consider him as the peoples council person but if he was he wouldn’t have picked this date

    • AAfterwit says:

      Tom Rebman,

      Thank you for your comment.

      No, we do not think Bailey chose the date deliberately to cause this issue. We suspect that Bailey thought two meetings would be proper notice just as two weeks are considered proper notice in the business world.

      We do not believe that Bailey – even with all of his time on the Council – would have even considered for a moment that the Council would stoop to deprive voters of their rights as codified in the City Charter at this moment.

      As others have pointed out elsewhere, it is telling that the ordinance on replacing a City Council member who no longer serves (for whatever reason) has been on the Palm Bay books since 2012. In nine plus years, the City Council has not chosen to make a change in this law.

      Various iterations of the Palm Bay City Council have had multiple chances to change this, but are only doing so now when it comes into play.

      The question that you may want to ask yourself is “would the Council have changed the law if Bailey had resigned effective the first meeting in December?”

      We all know the answer to that one: No.

      Bailey has been generally really good at seeing the long term effects of policies from the Council.

      We believe that even he could not see the level of actions the Palm Bay City Council would stoop to in order to disenfranchise people of their vote at this time.

      Thanks again for your comment.

      A. Afterwit.

    • scott ellis says:

      Jeff got a teaching job up in Alabama near his family. School will be starting, he needs to be there to in process. I think he did the right thing to put in his notice. He could have announced August 5th the show was over and this was it, giving the Council and City Attorney less time to prepare for his replacement.

  3. Carmine Vitale says:

    Absolutely not a coincidence. It is comical though how one would post about a particular councilman who fought for the people of Palm Bay, especially when it came to spending money unnecessarily. In this case, however it is necessary and it is law. The above comment would have been more appropriate if it read “Do you think it is a coincidence that the city is only bringing this forward now?” This ordinance was amended back in 2012, just before I moved to Palm Bay (2013). I am more interested in finding out how the original ordinance read. If it originally stated that it was only the electors and not council having that right, maybe the only way to pass it was to add the provision that council could appoint if less than a year. I believe if this passes there will be ramifications. In my opinion this is nothing more than a power grab no matter how anyone wants to spin it. Leave the law as it is and allow the voters to elect. Talk about suppressing the vote, SMH.

  4. Thomas Gaume says:

    If they would like to change it to something that makes sense, they could roll back to the last city wide election for any Council seat and seat the person with the most votes. In this case that would be Peter Filiberto. That avoids the special election without taking a vote away from any Citizen.

    • AAfterwit says:

      Thomas Gaume,

      Thank you for the comment.

      Years ago in Satellite Beach, a City Council member passed away. They have in place the idea that the remaining City Council members appoint the new member after a very public interview process. The interview is mostly for show, but it does weed out the low-lifes.

      For us, it may not be the process that matters at this moment.

      What matters to us is the change of the rules just to get something in that disenfranchises the people.

      Thanks again.

      A. Afterwit.

    • Carmine Vitale says:

      Thomas Gaume,

      Most if not at all private communities have provisions like this in the CC&R’s. When an election is looming, they (may) vote to leave the seat empty until that time. I have been witness to appointments being made by board members who wish to keep “their own” serving and appoint accordingly. I personally fell under one of these instances when a board member resigned. I pushed (over a year remaining on term) for them to go back to the election and appoint the next person with the highest vote count (me), but it fell on deaf ears. In our case here, now, we are talking about the representation of over 120K residents, of which 80,000 are registered voters. This is not a private community, or a much smaller neighboring town, we are Palm Bay the largest city in Brevard and given our history, there is more at stake here. The timing and reasoning for this being brought forward must be scrutinized and remains suspect. Let the voters select Mr. Bailey’s replacement according to the current law.

  5. Erik Sandberg says:

    Couple clarifications…

    – You cited the City Ordinances, not the City Charter.

    – We can thank Holton and his cronies for duping our fellow Palm Bay citizens into approving a 2012 Charter change that removed protective language from our Charter and replaced it with a generic statement that the procedures to fill a vacancy shall be determined by ordinance. (In other words, the procedures to fill a vacancy will be determined by the remaining 4 councilors.)

  6. ThirdDimension says:

    So much to comment on, so I will start at the top of the comments section.
    To Percy, I’m sure quite a lot of people will agree with you about the lack of integrity the City has shown to the people. My insight to this is Bailey’s future intent to run for higher office. A selfish move. Given his involvement with the former administration, and the accusations leveled at him.

    To Tom, I agree with your insight, that this is by design, not coincidence. Could Holton still be involved? His manipulation of voting within the City has shown itself and does need correcting.

    To AAfterwit, Your apparent soft touch as to Bailey’s intent is subject to scrutiny. There is the whole charter, all the ordinances, and the fresh face of the dias. Which I will comment on in a second. You are representing a media outlet and should remain unbiased, and stick to the facts. Your opinion should not reflect anymore, or any less than any constituent out here. Your views seem to separate in answering Tom, and Thomas.

    To Carmine, I find myself agreeing with you on most of your points. The original ordinance does need to be discussed, publically. The perceived ramifications and any damage is done to the City or profile of the council in the publics’ eye. My only disagreement is the character of Bailey. Sure second chances can be earned, but do it on your own time, your own dime. His interworkings with other members of the council, in violation of the Sunshine law, and the laws that were broken that others were arrested for. So, no clean slate for me when it comes to Bailey.

    To Thomas, your bias is obvious. With two failed campaigns you should realize your thoughts were not shared by a majority of citizens of Palm Bay. For you to “pick a winner” is as wrong as the council doing so.
    So AAfterwit for you to somehow justify this situation with a comparison to Satellite Beach, as Carmine said is “comical”.

    To Erik, you are absolutely correct. The Charter is what designs the City operations with State Law. It tells the council their roles, what the City must do, and how to do it. The Ordinances are the council’s “laws” as to what the staff will carry out, and what the citizens will follow.

    Now in my opinion. Without a doubt, the council should never just choose a successor, unless, and only unless there are no willing, and qualified, vetted candidates to sign up for the special election, or if the time left is less than 6 months, not one year. In that case, leave it vacant, a quorum is 3.
    The cost is no excuse. Yes, we can blame Bailey for that one, so much for being conservative, and a tax fighter “for the people” as AAfterwit makes him out to be. IMHO 2021-50 should be voted down unanimously. Then direct the staff to come into compliance with other City laws from other City councils around the State, and present a solid format for both Charter and Ordinance.

    • AAfterwit says:


      Thank you for your comment.

      To AAfterwit, Your apparent soft touch as to Bailey’s intent is subject to scrutiny. There is the whole charter, all the ordinances, and the fresh face of the dias. Which I will comment on in a second. You are representing a media outlet and should remain unbiased, and stick to the facts. Your opinion should not reflect anymore, or any less than any constituent out here. Your views seem to separate in answering Tom, and Thomas.

      Whether the media, even a blog, should be “unbiased,” is a matter of opinion. There is no legal requirement to do so. Furthermore, facts are unbaised. Opinions based on those facts are not.

      Secondly, we don’t know Bailey’s reasons for leaving. We have had issues with Bailey in the past specifically concerning his opposition to the First Amendment as it applies to citizen speakers during Palm Bay meetings. We also disagreed with his involvement with the “Clubhouse,” and the lack of an apology for that as well as the alleged Oxy addiction. We have always said that we are a forgiving people, but one needs to ask for forgiveness, and Bailey did not. It didn’t have to be long or drawn out, but it needed to happen.

      When you read comments from others on various forums, it is clear that Bailey was perceived as the one Councilman that fought for the people. He wasn’t always right, but we used that perception as a basis for our post.

      So AAfterwit for you to somehow justify this situation with a comparison to Satellite Beach, as Carmine said is “comical”

      The fact how other towns handle this situation is germane. You may not like it, but it is.

      Saying that Satellite Beach used a “Council appointment” system to fill a vacant seat is factual.

      As we have said elsewhere, whether that system translates from a city where each Council member represented approximately 2,400 people to a City where each Council person represents approximately 22,400 is debatable.

      We do not think it does.

      Our point was simply that going to a Council filling a vacancy is not unheard of here in Brevard County. Should it happen in this case? We say “no,” but apparently you missed that part of the post.

      The cost is no excuse. Yes, we can blame Bailey for that one, so much for being conservative, and a tax fighter “for the people” as AAfterwit makes him out to be.

      We are not sure how anyone can blame Bailey for the cost of an election. That is one of the more ridiculous things we have ever heard. Believe it or not, City Council members are not slaves or indentured servants who are owned by the rest of the citizenry. Bailey, or anyone, can leave for whatever reason. For the record, in Satellite Beach there were two vacancies that we remember. One was a Councilman who resigned after a rough meeting where the Mayor broke all of the rules of the Council. The second on was when a Council member died while in office.

      We suspect that you would blame him for dying.

      IMHO 2021-50 should be voted down unanimously. Then direct the staff to come into compliance with other City laws from other City councils around the State, and present a solid format for both Charter and Ordinance.

      In that other cities do allow councils to fill vacancies, the advice of falling into line with other cities cannot be accomplished – at least not 100%.

      Whether Palm Bay should go to allowing the Council to appoint a new member, go with a special election all the time, or do a “hybrid” ordinance that is currently on the books is a discussion that can be had. If it happens, it needs to happen down the road. Not now.

      Bailey’s seat should be filled according to the current rules on the books.

      Thanks again.

      A. Afterwit.

      • ThirdDimension says:

        “Bailey’s seat should be filled according to the current rules on the books.”

        I absolutely agree. See everyone Thursday night.

    • scott lee ellis says:

      A little Occam’s Razor would come in handy here. Jeff got a teaching job in Alabama. School starts in August. Moving to another state is hardly a run for higher office.

      • AAfterwit says:

        scott lee ellis,

        Thanks for the comment.

        Bailey mentioned tonight that he was moving and wanted to go to a more rural and less urban area. If he got a job up in Alabama that allows him to teach and be with cows and chickens, more power to him if that is what he and his family want.

        Thanks again.

        A. Afterwit.

  7. Greg Donnelly says:

    The council needs to read the charter “all council members shall be elected at large”. The emphasis is on the word ALL. Only when there is less than a quorum can the council appoint a member.

    Ordinances do not override a charter statement The chart is clear, All members must be elected.

    After the signature debacle over the signature by the clerk an attorney, I seriously doubt the city has the ability to conduct an election.

    Save the money and do no fill the position. If the US Supreme Court can go over a year with an even number of members, so can Palm Bay.