Councilman Tres Holton: “We are in violation of our joint planning agreement.”
“On that note,” said Palm Bay Mayor William Capote, “I want our attorney to speak because she has asked to address certain issues.”
Mrs. Smith: “Our City Attorney’s office is among the most distinguished law offices in the State of Florida. …we do caution you about making decisions as far as what should be enforced when you all (City Counselors) have not actually been briefed upon these issues.
Having these discussions out in the open when you have not been briefed and are not well versed in what the law is a detriment to our legal interests…we implore you not to have this conversation in public.
I would also caution you as far as making statements…”
Then Deputy Attorney Patricia Denise Smith
At this point, according to the minutes of the January 17, 2018 City Council meeting:
Deputy Mayor Holton cited Section 183.01 Comprehensive Plan Vested Rights, and asked if the language would give vested rights to someone who had a preliminary PUD.
Mrs. Smith said she would not provide legal advice on that question at the dais.
Deputy Mayor Holton said his question did not apply to a specific application and was concerned that she could not answer the question.
He asked why the City Attorney’s Office did not reach out to Council if there were concerns about deliberating on the issue at the dais.
Mrs Smith advised that Mr. Lannon (City Attorney) had been handling of this issue from its inception and that he was out of town on pre-approved travel and was unaware that these conversations would occur prior to the scheduling of his travel.
Mayor Capote asked Deputy Mayor Holton if he had received a legal opinion after he had drafted his memorandum. Deputy Mayor Holton said that he had provided his agenda item to the City Clerk for distribution, but he did not contact the City Attorney’s office directly.
As the meeting ensued Deputy Mayor Holton continued to ask “if the language would give vested rights to someone who had a preliminary PUD”.
Mrs. Smith: “I am quite capable of answering these questions but this is not the appropriate time and under direction of the City Attorney I will not issue any legal opinions at this time.”
Then again, why she couldn’t answer the question that “concerned” Deputy Mayor Holton?
“Deputy Mayor, as I stated before, it is our position that we will not spontaneously on the dais make any legal conclusions.”
Mayor Capote: “Now you (Deputy Mayor Holton) are putting the Assistant Attorney on the spot questioning her and her leadership. I’m not going to allow you to do that here. You are attacking a professional on the dais. That’s ridiculous.”
Councilman Jeff Bailey: “Miss Smith, by the way I just wanted to say I know your ethics and credibility is above anyone sitting here and no-one here is more prepared to do your job.
We had the Deputy Mayor (Tres Holton) push through a civility clause last year and to see him get so heated with the response from Miss Smith and her boss, Mr. Lannon in regard to how they want to handle this item in the best interests of the city and the Board. I think you (Mr. Holton) need to be careful with your lips; that’s all I’ve got to say.”
Councilman Jeff Bailey
~ A Civility Clause? ~
July 20, 2017 Regular City Council Meeting
- Consideration of executing the Civility Pledge to aid in restoring and promoting a proper decorum that facilitates free expression and health public debate.
Mr. Holton presented the item to Council later making a motion, seconded by Deputy Mayor Santiago to execute the 2017 Civility Pledge. Motion carried three to two, with Mayor Capote and Councilor Bailey dissenting.
It was during discussion of this topic that a Mr. Foster submitted an ethics complaint against Deputy Mayor Holton for leaving in the middle of a motion at a recent City Council meeting and not returning. He missed the remaining nine agenda items before the council.
And then, on February 4, following the Council meeting where Deputy Mayor Holton disparaged Mrs. Smith, Thomas Gaume, who is opposing Tres Holton for his City Council seat, posted a video showing the Palm Bay Deputy Mayor’s behavior toward the (then Deputy) City Attorney. As Mr. Guame stated at the time he stood “behind my admiration of the way that Patricia Smith handled the situation with poise, professionalism, and treated the Deputy Mayor with the respect of the office.”
According to Mr. Guame, “after I posted the video in February 4th, after almost 3 weeks I received the following email from then City Attorney Andrew Lannon on February 22nd:
“Mr. Gaume: My colleague, Patricia Smith, whom you met, is a very private person and would never ask anyone to take anything down from their social media site. However, because I care about her, I need to ask you a personal favor. Would you please remove the post on February 4th wherein you play the video of that portion of Council Meeting on January 17th? I know it is a public record, and you are not required to do so. In exchange for this favor, I would gladly buy you lunch at a restaurant of your choosing.”
To which Mr. Gaume replied:
“Not a problem at all, it has been deleted from my personal site where it originated and was shared from. I would be honored to meet you for lunch anytime at your convenience. However being a Candidate (and given your position) I would have to insist on seperate checks as I don’t think it would be appropriate for either of us to subject ourselves to any situation that could possibly be taken advantage of, no matter how small or genuine the intent.
“Then I (Thomas Gaume) received a call on April 26th from then former City Attorney Andrew Lannon confessing that he had told me a lie and it was in fact the Deputy Mayor (Holton) who had came to him wanting him to make efforts (I’m being polite here as I don’t know the context of the conversation between the Deputy Mayor and Mr. Lannon that led to the email) to have me remove the video.”