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Palm Bay: Good Money After Bad?

One of our ninjas sent us a note concerning item number 2 under new business for the Palm Bay City Council meeting tonight.

The Legal Office of the City is seeking raises and additional compensation for several lawyers.

Pages from Agenda_2021_9_16_Meeting(119)

What is interesting to us is that two of the lawyers have rather “interesting” histories.

One of the two attorneys is Rodney Edwards, who represented the City in a personal injury case in May of 2021.

A Palm Bay man was awarded over $400,000 by a Brevard County jury last week after being injured in a crash with a police officer last year, according to court records.

Ricardo Madrigal was driving through a green light at the intersection of Palm Bay Road and Babcock Street on Aug. 8, 2018 when he was T-boned by Palm Bay Police Officer Noe Borjas.

Madrigal’s neck and back were permanently injured and both vehicles involved were severely damaged, according to the lawsuit.

Madrigal — represented by Morgan & Morgan — was awarded $416,182.22 by a jury after a trial presided over by Judge Dave Dugan at the Moore Justice Center in Viera.

[….]

Keely Leggett, spokeswoman for the city of Palm Bay, said the municipality did not incur any additional attorney’s fees and that the case was handled by the city’s salaried assistant attorney, Rodney Edwards. (emphasis ours.)

Why City Attorney Smith is seeking a raise for a lawyer who lost a massive case is beyond our comprehension. In the private sector, winners are awarded pay raises.

One of the other attorneys being recommended for a pay raise is Jill Jacobs.

Jacobs was noted in the JLAC investigation into the inner workings of Palm Bay. Former City Attorney Andrew Lannon gave Jacobs a “bonus” of $18,000 for her work.

That bonus was against Florida Statutes.

No one in the City ever repented of that incident. Lannon, who always touted his knowledge of laws and government regulations, left the City and was replaced by City Attorney Smith.

For her part, Jacobs did not return the money as far as we are aware.

If that is the case – if Jacobs kept the illegal bonus – as far as we are concerned, she got her “raise,” it is utter hubris that the City Attorney is asking for more money in salary.

We suspect that the City Council will approve this as they have approved every pay increase brought to them.

People of Palm Bay continue to struggle and the City is dealing out money for employees like candy.

After all, it is not their money that the Council is handing out, so why should they care?



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