INDIAN ROCKS BEACH -- The Indian Rocks Beach City Commission meetings have reached this level of dignity:
"Those guys are scam artists, they suck. You can quote me on that."
So pronounceth Commissioner Jeremiah Carmody. Not only abusive in his language, but offering to be quoted.
And the target of his ire was not quite clear. Perhaps a build up of resentments over who knows what.
What used to be an efficient, orderly, seemingly dedicated commission has turned into a wrangling tangle of bickering, confusion, cross purposes and general lack of decorum.
The offender is all the more glaring because of the rectitude of others on the commission.
Bill Okkunzi is the very quintessence of quiet reasonableness, comity and objectivity. R.B. Johnson is steadily polite, quietly making his points without rancor.
Jim Palamara seems petulant at times, putting his old friend, Mayor Bob DiNicola (always the Virginia gentleman) hard put to act as the patient schoolmaster.
The July 27 meeting was a case in point and offered a pointed example. The simple question of what should be the procedure in calling a special meeting, turned into a prolonged and rowdy discussion that was all over the lot, featuring bickering and fighting.
A past incident where a special meeting was needed triggered the idea of the discussion and Andy Salzman, the city attorney, went to great lengths and pain to point out that he was acting in a protective manner, in the best interest of the city.
Near the end of the meeting, when it came time for commissioners' reports, DiNicola needled Palamara and said, "You can leave now, Jim."
This was occasioned because Palamara is angry about the comments being switched from the beginning to the end of the meeting ("By the time we do our comments, there is no one here to listen to us," he has said.).
There was some back and forth on that as Palamara headed for the door with DiNicola urging Okkunzi to give his report. This was interrupted by Carmody going on a rampage with all kinds of vituperation and references that were obscure.
Later, he said, "I apologize for my outburst," acknowledging very clearly his misbehavior.
The nub of it all is how long will Indian Rocks Beach residents countenance the craziness. Over the years they have become used to a sedate and business-like commission.
Deanne O'Reilly, the city clerk who is efficient, smart and knowledgable, recommended that commissioners look in on an ethics program for elected officials scheduled next month.
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