Published Thurs., Oct. 16, 2014
BY THEO KARANTSALIS
SPECIAL TO THE MIAMI HERALD
The Miami-Dade ethics commission has dismissed a complaint brought by a Miami Springs resident against Mayor Zavier Garcia.
Residents and city leaders traded barbs Sept. 8 at Miami Springs City Hall regarding the approval of a controversial $5 million pool.
Afterward, resident James Llewellyn was so ticked off he lodged an ethics complaint against Garcia.
“Mayor Garcia used his elected position as a bully pulpit to abuse, slander and besmirch the character of at least one of the citizens that had earlier spoken out against the plans for a new pool,” wrote Llewellyn, in his complaint to the ethics board dated Sept. 16.
Llewellyn referred to the mayor’s behavior as “despicable and disgraceful” and asserted it violated the county’s citizen’s bill of rights.
However, the board found the complaint was “not legally sufficient,” according to an Oct. 8 memo to the ethics commission from Michael Murawski, a lawyer with the agency.
“Even if Mayor Garcia had made discourteous remarks, they would not constitute an ethics violation,” Murawski wrote. “Elected officials enjoy a right to free speech as any other citizen.”
The ethics board reviewed a recording of Garcia’s remarks at the Sept. 8 meeting and concluded that “no abusive or disgraceful attacks are discernable,” according to the memo.
The board concluded Llewellyn’s complaint should be dismissed since it “does not identify any violations of any ordinance within the jurisdiction” of the ethics commission.