Does being TODD DAVID NEVILLE mean never having to say you're sorry? At tonight's City Commission meeting, Commissioner NEVILLE dropped his surly September 14, 2015 demand to have the City pay for his fantasy libel lawsuit, but never apologized for misusing City staff.
No Commissioner spoke out in favor of the First Amendment.
But ex-Mayor JOE BOLES' ex-speechwriter, two-faced NANCY SIKES-KLINE, urged adoption of a "civility code" to cabin free speech rights (but not Commissioner hatefulness toward public participation). Pitiful. Sinful. Criminal. Tortious Behavior.
Watch here (Agenda item 11).
Read Record article, here:
St. Augustine Commissioner drops lawsuit plans
Posted: September 28, 2015 - 11:48pm
By SHELDON GARDNER
Commissioner Todd Neville formally scrapped plans on Monday to seek a defamation lawsuit through the city of St. Augustine over an article on a local news site.
Neville cited a memo from City Attorney Isabelle Lopez that indicated public money couldn’t be used for the suit.
“Isabelle and I went through this today. There are two statements in ... expenditure of city funds that cause a problem with moving forward with this. Basically the issue is the city could not be tied as a co-plaintiff in it, which basically ties our hands to not being able to legally move forward with it.”
Neville said later he has not considered pursuing the lawsuit on his own.
The idea came after Michael Gold, editor of Historic City News, wrote that Neville had a “direct, undisclosed financial conflict of interest” related to a hearing for The Cordova Inn rezoning. The City Commission voted to rezone the former Dow Museum of Historic Houses to allow for development of The Cordova Inn.
The article focused on Neville and how he had received campaign contributions from the developer and others during his 2014 commission run but did not disclose the information at the commission meeting when the Dow vote was taken.
Neville said that was not required because the information is on the Supervisor of Elections website. Neville, through the city, got a Florida Commission on Ethics opinion that supported him and unsuccessfully sought a retraction from Gold.
When Gold refused, Neville pursued the lawsuit.
At a previous commission meeting, Neville asked the commissioners to consider filing the suit, saying the article suggested he broke the law. Commissioners asked Lopez to get more information on defamation. She provided the details in a memo along with information about spending public money for the suit, which would have been a lawsuit with Neville as the plaintiff.
According to a memo she prepared, “Pursuant to section 4.19 of the City Charter, the city attorney shall act as legal advisor to the municipality and all of its officers in matters relating to their official duties; however, the city attorney can only prosecute and defend lawsuits ‘in which the city is a party.’ Also public funds must be used for some public purpose.
The memo also estimated outside attorneys fees would be about $55,000 for taking the case “through to jury trial.”
The commission’s discussion lasted about 10 minutes and included whether commissioners should give broader disclosure at public hearings.
Mayor Nancy Shaver asked if commissioners wanted to pursue higher standards when they publicly disclose whom they have spoken with on certain issues before voting on them. Overall, commissioners supported the idea.
Commissioner Leanna Freeman asked whether commissioners so far had been living up to disclosure requirements.
“I would prefer a little more disclosure,” Lopez said, adding that she understands sometimes commissioners aren’t always able to remember, or write down, all the details of private conversations.
Lopez said the point of the disclosure is to give applicants due process. For instance, an applicant might want to question information a commissioner was given from someone before the meeting.
City commissioners unanimously approved a more than $58 million dollar budget at a special meeting on Monday night.
The budget total includes transfers within city funds. Without transfers, the budget is more than $48 million, said Meredith Breidenstein, deputy director of the city’s finance department. The millage rate is still 7.5 mills, which equals $7.50 per $1,000 of taxable property value.
Commissioners also approved a series of other measures that will reduce residential garbage service to once per week in November and provide city customers with 65-gallon recycling cartons. Commissioners also voted to increase the electric utility service tax from 8 to 10 percent and adopt a new utility rate structure.
City Manager John Regan also kicked off discussion about developing a mobility master plan for the city. Part of the discussion included alternatives for the intersections around May Street and San Marco Avenue.
The Florida Department of Transportation has presented several ideas to the public, two of which are being considered as viable options: Adding a westbound left turn lane on San Carlos Avenue at U.S. 1, and making San Carlos Avenue and Dismukes Street both one-way roads.
Regan recommended the city support the one-way pairing option. The Florida Department of Transportation wants a formal recommendation from the city in October to move forward with the project.
The city plans to host public meetings to get feedback.
PearlOfWisdom 09/29/15 - 10:11 am 10Utter nonsense!
Neville is an idiot! So glad he does not represent me. He had no problems spending County dollars on a frivolous case...but dropped the idea like a hot potato when he had to pay out f his own pocket.
He needs to be voted out office next election. If he isn't willing to treat taxpayer dollars with the same consideration as his own money, he needs to find other work.