State Representative Randy Fine (Rep-Melbourne Beach) has held no less than 7 special events located at his State funded office, from food drives and other give-aways.
The events have been very popular in the City, with according to Fine, around 500 cars showing up to each event to receive the handouts.
Fine’s office is located at the East end of Palm Bay Rd next to Harris. Because of the high volume of cars on the one lane portion of the road, Fine has used on-duty Palm Bay police officers for traffic control for his personal events.
Several problems were identified and explained to Fine by City Officials. The first being that because the event disrupts normal traffic flow and even needs additional traffic control, a special events permits is required by the City of Palm Bay according to City Ordinances.
According to public records, Fine has never applied for or received the required permit to hold such an event.
Secondly, as required by any other citizen hosting such an event and using city resources such as law enforcement or the fire department, and Extra Duty Application must be submitted to cover the cost of utilizing the manpower to cover the event. Fine has never filled out the application or paid for the services for any of his previous events, costing tax payers no less than $3,780, and taking away on-duty officers from providing other services in the City.
In a phone conversation today with the City Manager, Fine informed her that he had no way to pay for the services, and if he had to pay (which the law states) he would likely cancel the event.
The City Manager offered him two alternatives to alleviate his funding issues. She offered him to seek co-sponsorship consideration from the City Council (much like the Christmas Extravaganza) or utilize one of the City Parks or City Hall as a location for the event instead of his State office.
Fine stated he was wiling to consider those things to her, however immediately following the conversation, he took to Facebook and told another story. To be frank, he outright lied to the people stating that the Mayor and Deputy Mayor “cancelled his event.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. Mostly because they are his own personal events, and no one can cancel them but himself should he choose to do so.
Fine was simply informed that he was holding special events without a permit and utilizing city resources without going through the proper channels or funding. It is the city law and would be enforced just as any other citizen seeking to do the same thing. Instead of complying with the law, Fine is trying to find a way around it and still use tax dollars for his own event.
Fine stated that his event is not a political event, however he advertises it exclusively on what he calls his “campaign Facebook page” and he frequently wears his “Elect Randy Fine” campaign clothing and hats at the events. Some argue that these food drives are indeed campaign events, used to promote himself and his re-election efforts in the name of charity. This would be illegal on several counts; using his state funded office to do so, and using a non-profit 501c3 like Farm Share for political activities.
Fine has stated in his Facebook post that he reached out to the Sheriff and he has agreed to provide the traffic control for the event. However, Fine still has not applied for the required Special Events permit from the City.
There is an enforcement mechanism to the ordinance for those who violate it which can include Fine’s and even jail time. Fine has 3 more events “scheduled” and it is yet to be seen if he will decide to comply with the law or continue to do what he wants at the tax payer’s expense.
Fine attempted to have a similar campaign event with the City of Melbourne for 4th of July and wanted the city to cover part of the expenses. He also wanted the event named after him much like he names these food drives after himself even though they are provided by a charity. Melbourne didn’t approve his event, and the council received the same treatment on Facebook as Palm Bay’s council is today.