PB Guest Post by David Singer: Attorney Gets The Boutsis
At Tuesday night’s Village of Palmetto Bay Council meeting a vote was held to terminate the Village Attorney’s services within the next 30 days. The vote was 3 – 2 in favor of dismissing Village Attorney Eve Boutsis and hiring law firm Gray Robinson to serve as acting Village Attorney until a new Request For Proposal is released for a permanent replacement. Vice Mayor John DuBois, Councilman Tim Schaffer and Councilman Patrick Fiore voted for termination while Mayor Shelley Stanczyk and Councilwoman Joan Lindsay voted to retain Ms. Boutsis’ services.
Interestingly, it was not DuBois, Schaffer or Fiore who caused the Boutsis termination; rather, Stanczyk and Lindsay and Boutsis herself that bear ultimate responsibility for the end of a ten-year engagement. In fact, the seeds of her termination were planted back on May 4th, 2010 when, at Lindsay’s urging, Stanczyk moved to cap Palmer Trinity’s at 900 students when Village Staff recommended 1150. Staff correctly made this recommendation based on a prior agreement with Palmer, but no one heard a peep from the Village Attorney.
It is also interesting to note that during the process on Tuesday night neither Mayor Stanczyk nor Joan Lindsay had the leadership qualities to stand up in defense of Ms. Boutsis to say that the Village Attorney had given them the correct legal guidance but they choose to ignore her advice. When the Palmer Trinity shade sessions are eventually released I suspect that we will find that the Mayor and Councilwoman basically used Ms. Boutsis as a sacrificial lamb for they own political agenda. Councilwoman Joan Lindsay basically admitted as much at Tuesday’s Council meeting.
Ms. Boutsis’ dismissal was preordained by her relationship with Mayor Stanczyk and Councilwoman Joan Lindsay. Some may say it was politics that caused her dismissal. Some may say she got too comfortable in her position with the Village. Some may say she was the contributing factor as to why the Village’s litigation with Palmer Trinity has continued endlessly for the past five to seven years. I personally like Boutsis, but having attended Council Meetings for the past year-and-a–half, I never saw her have the strength or sense of professional duty to speak up when the Mayor was wrong. Boutsis didn’t even attempt to have the Mayor obey Roberts Rules which is required in the charter.
[SDM Note: Boutsis attempted to hold Robert's Rules training sessions, but the Mayor and Council balked. However, Stanczyk's failure to run a meeting makes everyone on the dais look foolish.]
I can assure you that the Council members who voted for the Village Attorney’s termination take no pleasure and are not celebrating the fact that the Village attorney who served the Village since incorporation has been fired. They said this process was required and necessary to move the Village forward.
The residents of Palmetto Bay are tired of the political agenda of Mayor Stanczyk, Councilwoman Joan Lindsay and the approximately 20 misguided residents that they represent to the detriment of the rest of us. The residents I’ve spoken to are drained by the constant and costly litigation, the divisive Neighborhood Protection Ordinance (which it is not) and the negative tone with which the Village has been run for the last three years.
This termination should be a warning to Village Manager Ron Williams if he’s paying attention. Mr. Williams take note: everyone is replaceable. This termination should also be a warning to the Mayor and Councilwoman Lindsay that the clock is ticking until they too are terminated in next November’s election. In the meantime there is lots of work to do to keep the Mayor and Councilwoman in check so that we can live in the Village of Parks and not in the Village of Insanity.