Palm Bay: JLAC Hearing Today.

Today the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee (JLAC) will host a hearing in Tallahassee concerning the initial findings of the JLAC administrative audit into the workings of the City of Palm Bay.

The City will have chance to respond to the allegations and what corrective measures have been taken, if any.

The City will be sending a delegation consisting of City Manager Morrell, City Clerk Jones, City Attorney Smith, and City Councilmen Santiago, Johnson, Bailey and Anderson. Noticeably absent from that delegation is the Mayor of the City of Palm Bay, William Capote.

As most of us will be working or tending to our families, we won’t be able to get up to the hearing, but through the wonders of the internet, the hearing is expected to be broadcast live sometime between 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM..

You can catch the hearing on the Florida Channel, and then click on the day’s schedule events and hearings to watch.

City Manager Lisa Morrell will be on the hot spot for a good portion of this which is somewhat of a shame as of the three charter officers, she was not in a position to do much of anything when the tomfoolery was going on. The same cannot be said for the City Clerk and the now City Attorney. Morrell was running the IT Department which is not mentioned in the JLAC findings. The Legal Department and the Office of the City Clerk are mentioned.

One of the items of interest on the JLAC’s list of infractions is an illegal payment / bonus to an attorney within the City’s legal department.

We asked a couple of lawyers about it and they had the same response – the payment was made from a “slush fund,” and it was well known in the legal community that the payment had been made.

That’s a huge problem to us.

If such an incident is known to people outside of City Hall, and yet people inside City Hall are keeping their mouths shut, that shows the depth of the corruption.

To us, it doesn’t matter that the people who did many of the acts that are going to be discussed are no longer employed by the City. The issue is the atmosphere and culture within City Hall that allowed this to happen. We know of complaints that were being bucked up to Council members who ignored them or were part of the problem.

That’s why when the Council members sit there and say “this happened on past administrations,” that claim rings hollow.

As far as the City Council and the Mayor are concerned, the “buck stops somewhere else, but not here with us.”

This is further illustrated by Mayor Capote’s decision to not attend the hearing.

At the last Council meeting, immediately following Councilman Anderson’s statement that “it was important that we have a united front on this…” Mayor Capote said he was not going to attend and would “allow them to go up” to the hearing.

As if he had a choice in what to allow and so much for a “united front.”

We said this last week and we’ll say it again – the Mayor not going up to Tallahassee is gutless and indicative of the (lack of) leadership Capote provides.

This is the same guy that told citizens that the City staff were his “family,” and if people “came after them, they were coming after [him.]” This is the same man who told people there was no corruption in City Hall and no one had ever done anything wrong. Ever.

Well, “Dad” is staying home with his feet up on his desk while others are on the front lines.

The JLAC report shows issues within the halls of the City Hall – issues that were known and occurring on the Mayor’s watch.

Staying here shows the depth and commitment to stand behind his words and promises which is none at all. Additionally, by not facing the music in Tallahassee, he continues to demonstrate a blind eye as to what was going on under his very nose.

Instead of standing up and taking ownership of what happened, Capote will be hiding.

That’s unacceptable.

Frankly, we believe that staying in the warm confines of City Hall is a political move from Capote. With Capote announcing that he was running against Kristine Isnardi for Seat 5 at the County Commission, Capote doesn’t want anyone to have a picture, a video or even mention he was at that hearing. He doesn’t want anything to remind people that the events in the JLAC initial report took place while he was sitting on the dais as the Mayor of Palm Bay.

To us, that means that he not only threw the staff at City Hall under the bus, but the citizens of Palm Bay under the bus as he is not willing to even be seen taking responsibility for what happened and just as bad, not being there to support the clean up.

Capote’s actions are may be politically sound, but in our opinion, they are the actions of a moral and ethical craven coward who is putting his own ambitions ahead of the people who elected him and pay his salary.

We hope voters don’t forget this betrayal in November, 2020.

3 Responses to “Palm Bay: JLAC Hearing Today.”

  1. Percy says:

    Missed the livestream and couldn’t figure out how to playback the meeting, so hoping someone had a chance to view some/all of the meeting and give us a summary.

  2. Thomas Gaume says:

    An archive of the complete hearing can be seen here. Palm Bay’s part of the hearing starts at around 27 minutes into the video.

  3. […] we reported, the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee (JLAC) held a hearing on the findings of an […]