VIERA, Florida -- A heated exchange took place between Brevard County Clerk of Court Scott Ellis and the Brevard County Commission last Tuesday over whether Brevard County Animal Services is being effectively managed.
At issue was the form of the dialogue between animal activists and the Commission because, at the prior December 17, 2013 meeting, Brevard County Commissioner Chuck Nelson recommended that animal services issues be moved from public comments to an Agenda item that would be heard near the end of every Commission meeting. Nelson's motion to move animal services issues to an Agenda item was then passed 4 to 1 with Commissioner Trudie Infantini voting no.
The January 7th meeting was the first of the Agenda-itemed animal services dialogue. During that meeting, Ellis complained of the 5 minute time constraint imposed by newly-elected Commission Chair Mary Bolin-Lewis. Ellis stated that it was his understanding that there would be discussion between the animal activists and the Board and that if that wasn't the intended format, that animal activists should go back to public comments rather than wait until the end of the Commission meeting .
"Because for public comments I can be out of here by 10 o'clock and get the same thing done I can get done right now which is 'shut up, sit down, and we're [meaning the Commission] will talk about what you said, and we will not get a chance for any interaction at all," Ellis said.
Bolin-Lewis then repeatedly told Ellis that he may sit down. At which point, Infanitni motioned that she had a question to which Ellis pointed to Infantini. Bolin-Lewis then erupted, "No. You do not direct to another Commissioner!" Bolin-Lewis then summoned the Brevard County Deputies to have Ellis sit down. Nelson then suggested to Bolin-Lewis to take a 10-minute break to diffuse the situation.
After the break, Commissioner Trudie Infantini suggested that a workshop take place to exchange ideas between animal volunteers and County staff. But Commissioner Fisher said that he was not interested in having a workshop unless Ellis was willing to work with current Brevard County Animal Services staff.
Ellis was recently named Brevard County's "Person of the Year" for 2013 in a FLORIDA TODAY online viewer poll.