Palm Bay Mayor Calls for City Manager’s Resignation Over Mishandling of COVID-19 Response

Palm Bay City’s Mayor, William Capote issued a letter of no confidence today to Palm Bay’s City Manager Lisa Morrell.

All Cities in Brevard County are run by their individual City Manager’s except for the Town of Palm Shores which has the County’s only “Strong Mayor.” All other cities have a council-manager form of government where the Mayor’s serve in a ceremonial capacity and lead the council meetings. The City Managers are responsible for “running” the city.

In his letter, Capote states, “I have become increasingly concerned about your communication with the City Council and the public in general and during this pandemic in particular.”

“I have found the dissemination of information to the public to be atrocious,” Capote wrote. He believes that Morrell has failed to be proactive in communicating with the media and the press to ensure that important information is getting out to he public.

He cited an example of her providing information of the closing of City Hall to the public while simultaneously providing policies to staff for visitors during the same time period.

Today, residents were observed entering and exiting City Hall as business as usual. There were no signs of sanitizing, hand washing, or other recommended protective measures being adhered to.

Residents on social media have been demanding answers. Comments on Facebook under State Representative Randy Fine’s account echo “where’s the Mayor” or “why hasn’t there been a press conference from the County?” Fine has been providing informative updates on his page from other State websites. Even the County’s head medical professional decided to take a cruise during this outbreak and has been in self-quarantine since returning. Fine called that action “nuts.”

Most residents assume it is the Mayor’s duty to make these calls without understanding that they are just one of the several Council Members that make up the City Council. The responsibility of the City’s management falls on the shoulders of the City Manager.

Palm Bay Councilmen Jeff Bailey, Brian Anderson, and Deputy Mayor Kenny Johnson have been sharing information on their Facebook pages as they can so that at least those who follow such accounts would have some information

Each day however, the City Managers receive several update from the County’s Emergency Operations Center. None of the City Mayor’s besides Palm Shores are included in these informative updates from the County.

Information from the County themselves has left much to be desired to the citizens. The only form of a statement to the public came from County Commissioner Chair Bryan Lober in a privately owned online magazine’s Facebook page. In fact, that information was delayed to be released through the County’s official pages and press release until AFTER the video on Space Coast Daily. Many believe that Lober, who often promotes the private company during County Commission meetings is using this pandemic in an attempt to allow them to profit from it by excluding all other media outlets.

Since the initial announcement of the first positive case in Brevard, there has been little to no updates provided from the County. Other counties are holding daily press conferences on live television. Commissioner Lober who is also the chair of the Policy Board, has bot been heard from in days.

The only known information that has been released from the Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey is the announcement of the closures of the beach parking lots. Ivey was criticized heavily 6 months ago during the last hurricane for putting out information independently and conflicting of the Brevard EOC.

Online outrage is continuing to grow from the lack of communication County wide over this historic pandemic. It appears that now measures are being taken to hold those responsible accountable.

Capote also called for the previous City Manager Greg Lynk’s resignation which sparked the infamous JLAC Audit called for by Randy Fine with the charge that the mayor was acting as a “strong mayor.” Capote was criticized by Council for acting on his own in calling for the resignation. Lynk was eventually fired being replaced my Morrell, and the audit revealed that Capote’s concerns were justified. In the over 30 findings found in the audit, Lynk was directly responsible for nearly all of them.

Morrell had to go to Tallahassee last December, to address the JLAC and present her plan to address and correct the findings of the audit.

Letter-of-No-Confidence-Lisa-Morrell

10 COMMENTS

  1. What a dick none of them threw that smiling sleaze bag under the bus for taking a car allowance and taking a city owned new car home more then likely City paid gas and repairs on which was not voted on for him to do. Nobody threw him under the bus for not going to Tallahassee for the results of the audit.. matter of fact the city manager showed up. Nobody threw him under the bus for his thrifty store stunt..
    Why hasn’t he been helping her. She should of been giving updates.. so should he of. I bet talking to her months ago would of went a long way. Point finger Mr. Not so innocent Mayor .. geeze months pass and he does nothing. He dont talk to her and help let her know what she needs to be doing.. she had no experience and took less pay.. and no city car, which he voted for non experience. Take some responsibility Tallahassee Pro man. Mayor.

  2. He had time to type this letter but not speak to The citizens of Palm Bay. Sheriff Ivey thinks things are going great in palm Bay, yet we have many families and teenagers out at the compound having a good ole time partying in close proximity, people out hanging on the shore line of the rivers partying in close proximity to each other most are old enough to know better,it is a free for all party going on in many places because we have no direction from our city leaders.

  3. Given the horrendous storm that Lisa inherited, she seems to have taken the mantle very well. I, in no way, shape or form agree with Mayor Capote.
    Given his proximity to the corruption, years of “skimming” the taxpayer’s money for travel, and vehicle gratuity, not approved by charter amongst the obvious claims.
    As a ceremonial face of city government in Palm Bay, it should be the Mayor, not Manager to publically keep up with the disseminating of information in a tragedy. I have witnessed Capote many times at a microphone after a hurricane, or a rapper building a pool.
    I have witnessed many other Mayors close by, be great leaders and step up, not Capote.
    In my experience, this is a lame claim by Capote.
    No way should he be a consideration for County Commission. Way above his capabilities.

    • Not really disagreeing with anything posted here, but I stand with the city manager. She’s a leader. If Palm Bay is in trouble, the County must be a sh*t show. Lober, Isnardi, and ESPECIALLY RANDY FINE are terrible leaders. Devisive, perjorative, and maliciously quick to lash out against any perceived slight. Lober is a coward, to put it simply- so I wouldn’t expect ANYTHING there, and if you get your information from Randy Fine’s facebook comments [ not a public forum BTW ] then you have nothing to fear- because you’re immune to the virus due to your vociferous consumption of the Trump-ade.
      A pox on your houses.
      May God’s will be done.

  4. You are the mayor and as a tax payer. I ask you to resign for not doing your job and keeping us informed like every mayor in the country

  5. Truth is all these Mayors are overstepping their authority all over Brevard County and are so hungry to be out in front of cameras they are literally interfering with City Managers doing their jobs.

    Hell Cocoa Mayor by fraud continues to violate City Charter, Florida Sunshine Laws and has city staff scared of losing their jobs if they report him. He thinks he has the right to do these things and does because no one will stop him. “By fraud” because he didn’t and still doesn’t live in the city of Cocoa and those saying he does are lying and they all know it.

    Not sure why anyone would think residents want more press conferences to deal with in this mess.

    No Mayors or council members need to be involved or include in EOC meetings or briefings it only confuses people more.

    Some of these Mayors are using this situation for political posturing and that needs to stop.

  6. Please y’all… has anyone come up against anything like this before??? How would you react? If you’re gonna slam someone… pick something that u knew you would handle better! Shut up! U got something else? Express it.

  7. Talk about passing the buck. They Mayor is the elected official. He’s the one that should be out front of this instead of trying to lay blame at the feet of somebody else.

    Shirking his responsibilities, just as he did by not making the trip to Tallahassee for the JLAC audit.

  8. Attacking a City Manager who has been trying to clean up the mess made by the Mayor and City Council has to be daunting. We know there are many issues attached to this virus, after listening to the task force yesterday, it appears that most individuals that contract this virus will be ok, it’s those (especially the elderly) that have multiple predicting conditions, that are in jeopardy. From the audit, the poorly managed I95 exchange, to wondering how well managed the road repair bond is being done, makes me quite concerned. That along with trying to figure what has been planned for repairs to the infrastructure, replacement of equipment, vehicles etc. needs to be addressed. It is hard to believe if there are any candidates for mayor or City Council who understand these issues, let alone what must be the low moral of the city’s employees.

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