Summer may be winding down, but the city council meetings are heating up! The biggest news out of August was International City Hall Selfie Day. You can check your social media for the thousands of images generated on the holiest of high holidays or you can peruse my Top 10 list instead. I also invited a top selfie expert on the podcast to pick an ultimate winner.
Of course, we saw our fair share of drama in city council meetings, including two mayors who raised their voices at council members and an entire council meeting that very quickly turned into a bonfire. If you missed that Jerry Springer plotline, go scan the August Month in Review.
And if you don’t know why this man is pointing at heaven…it’s because he’s pointing at heaven. But the reason will blow your heathen mind:
Mayor Thomas Price was all smiles as he kicked off the meeting.
“Can I have the Friends of the Children of Brevard come up?” he announced, glancing coyly at the audience. Surrounded by a clique of three women, he reached underneath the podium.
“You’re gonna get the proceeds from our golf tournament. It’s my pleasure to present you with”–he hoisted a giant novelty check–“a $21,000 check!”
The women’s jaws dropped as the council clapped and hollered. After the ceremonial picture, Mayor Price turned toward them. “Are any of you Rockledge residents?”
“I am,” one of them volunteered.
The mayor instantly produced a smaller gift (my sources tell me either an energy bar or a piece of candy) and handed it to her as the room erupted in laughter. I can only assume that this is the mayor’s calling card and it’s not the first time he’s passed out snacks here.
Taking his seat on the dais, Mayor Price steered the council through a series of permit fees and zoning ordinances that were heavy on words and light on drama. He paused.
“Folks, we’re not always this boring. We just gotta get through all these ordinances first,” he winked, causing another round of chuckles from the crowd.
Suddenly, the infamous Rockledge Environmental Enforcement Board had a handful of open spots–and controversy flared.
“How many vacancies do we have?” the mayor quizzed the council. “Two. How many people do we have applied? Two.”
He waved his hand. “This is going to be easy.”
“If I may,” interrupted Vice Mayor T. Patrick O’Neill, “my recommendation would be that we only fill one of these vacancies tonight rather than throwing new meat into too many boards at one time.”
“New meat?” It’s an advisory board, not Army boot camp. I think everyone will survive. Nevertheless, under the New Meat Doctrine, the council dutifully filled one seat and left the other languishing.
It was at this point the city manager announced another vacancy: hers.
“Tomorrow night, I will be flying out of town. I’ll return Monday morning,” she said. “In my absence, Matthew Trine, our finance director, will be the acting city manager.”
“Are beards allowed for our acting city managers?” teased Mayor Price, shooting a look of feigned skepticism to Trine.
“I’ll have to check the dress code, mayor!” quipped the city manager as the council guffawed.
But one man who wasn’t in a lighthearted mood was Council Member Frank Forester, who gave a pained soliloquy on the deterioration of public protests.
“I’ve been watching the news again. You know how THAT can cause problems these days,” he frowned. “I saw a lot of this back in the day when I was in college. The thing I didn’t see then that I’m seeing now is people wearing masks.”
He leaned back in his chair and searched for words. “I kind of feel like, if you’ve got something to say, let people see who’s saying it. Otherwise, who cares? I might care what a man or a woman has to say, but I don’t care what a mask has to say.”
The city attorney joined the grievance bandwagon as council members listened silently. “Those people who dress like that have nothing to say. They really don’t. What they wanna do is cause a scene.”
Beards, masks…the city manager better take a hard look at the fashion guidelines on her flight out of Rockledge.