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Monday, 24 June 2019 15:32

SCPA Calls For Resignation Of Commissioner Bryan Lober Featured

Written by  Team SCPA

June 24, 2019

Mr. Bryan Lober

2575 North Courtenay Parkway, Suite 200

Merritt Island, FL 32953

Dear Mr. Lober:

On behalf of the Board and membership of the Space Coast Progressive Alliance (SCPA), I ask that you step down from the Brevard County Commission immediately. We strongly respect the will of Brevard’s voters, and you were fairly elected by your District, yet we also believe that you have demonstrated extraordinarily poor judgment in your actions and words in recent months. You have violated the trust placed in you by the voters. Your decision to provide legal services to the spouse of a fellow County Commissioner raises questions of a potential conflict of interest, as well as the appearance of violations of Florida State Statutes. I spoke directly to your staff on May 20th and again publicly at the County Commission meeting on May 21st to raise the valid concerns of the SCPA.

Your behavior during the last portion of that May 21st meeting was bizarre and shockingly unprofessional. In response to a constituent’s complaints during the public comment period, you interrupted the meeting to present a slide show that detailed your personal legal representation of a third individual, which included a reference to his history of mental illness. That was mentioned repeatedly – not accidentally, or off the cuff – but as a pre-meditated personal attack on a private individual, in a public meeting, by a public official.

That is not O.K.

Commissioner’s Pritchett and Smith seemed to anticipate what you were about to do when they each spoke about the importance of civility at County Commission meetings, first before your slide show, and again after it. I personally agree with Mr. Smith’s contention that: “Particularly those up here must be above the fray.” He added: “We have to be concerned about turning this into the Jerry Springer Show!” The citizens do justifiably hold you to the highest standards in both your public and private conduct. As an elected official, you represent all of us.

At the meeting, you then made another outrageous, and brutally counterproductive statement:

     “We have folks coming up here, essentially to stir the pot, that are professional agitators, that are able to come here at nine in the morning because they’re not doing something – or even attempting to do something – that’s productive, and it’s a shame, because we’re trying to do good work here on the Commission!”

That statement reflects your disrespect for your constituents, especially those of us who participate in local government by attending Brevard County Commission meetings and workshops. By mocking the participating citizens, you have lost your moral authority to lead. Once again, Commissioner Smith spoke on the importance of civility (I believe that he was speaking directly to you) by stressing: “We don’t gain respect by counter-attacking!” Ms. Pritchett and Mr. Tobia agreed, and frankly, I do too. Your actions, and your public statements on social media have decreased confidence in our local government and the credibility of the Brevard County Commission.

Recently, we learned of a very personal and insulting attack that you made against Ms. Stacey Patel on your Facebook page. Your statement supporting the abortion of her children was unbecoming of any gentleman -- especially an elected public official. You also publicly engaged in a discussion that promoted the killing of protestors with automobiles and snowplows. This is completely unacceptable, on so many levels.

Media reports indicate that you believe that you were only joking, and that these statements were not made while you were at work, and are therefore allowable. As an attorney, and public employee, you understand that your behavior – both in and out of the office, must be above reproach.

Yes, you do have a First Amendment right to free speech, but that has limits. You are accountable for your actions and your words, whether on duty or not. Although your speech is certainly protected by the First Amendment, as an elected official you have an ethical and moral obligation to use this right in a manner that maintains the dignity of your office and shows respect for the people you were elected to represent. Democracies only work if we observe democratic norms of conduct, not only the letter of the law.

In our opinion, you have intentionally, and publicly said and written, hurtful, outrageous, and threatening things that are slanderous and unworthy of a public official. Your ongoing lack of restraint has violated the public trust. You have conducted sensitive, private legal business with the spouse of another Brevard County Commissioner in a way that casts the pall of corruption over the Commission. We have lost confidence in your judgment and professionalism.

Mr. Lober, we thank you for stepping forward to serve the citizens of Brevard County. We applaud your support for the clean up of the Indian River Lagoon. We recognize that you are an intelligent young man, but we also believe that you do not yet possess the maturity, discipline, vision and judgment to continue in public office.

To my knowledge, the Space Coast Progressive Alliance has never before felt it necessary to formally call for the resignation of a local public official. We do not take this action lightly, and writing this letter may have been as painful to me personally, as it is for you to read. We may not be friends, but we are certainly not enemies.

This is not political. I would be writing the same letter, no matter what political party you represented. Please also forgive the frankness of our criticism. We advocate for the protection of our community and the public’s trust. A trust, once it is broken, is not easily mended. Please step down now.

Sincerely,

Philip E. Stasik

President, Space Coast Progressive Alliance

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