The City of Sebastian Turns to Mediator in Mayoral Election Dispute
The city of Sebastian is hoping mediation will resolve the ongoing dispute concerning an alleged take-over of the city government. According to residents of the city, three council members attempted to remove the mayor of Sebastian and fire all of the staff. Following a meeting held by the three council members, there were two press conferences, both of which included a different person declaring themselves mayor of the city.
In response, Mayor Ed Dodd, Sebastian City Manager Paul Carlisle, and City Attorney Manny Anon filed an injunction against the three council members. Three days later, one of the council members, Damien Gilliams, filed a countersuit against Carlisle, Anon, and Dodd. Williams had been one of the two persons to declare himself mayor, but later in the evening on the day the countersuit was filed, Gilliams withdrew his declaration and the two sides agreed the coup was void.
As a result, attorneys from both sides began a mediation attempt, which was then postponed at the request of the attorneys for Dodd, Carlisle, and Anon. The request to postpone came after an emergency motion was filed on behalf of Florida Sunshine Law attorneys citing a need for any upcoming mediation sessions to be open to the public.
According to court documents, “Justice requires that the counsel and parties have more time to review whether there is a way to accomplish a meaningful negotiation of the subject matter involved in the lawsuits without violating responsibility to public transparency and adherence to the law.” Williams also stated he believes the meeting should be open to the public and that taxpayers deserve full transparency.