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Develop an analysis of the case provided. Guided by the questions listed at the end of the case, the analysis should reflect a sophisticated understanding of the relevant concepts and theories related to ethical leadership in global organizations. The analysis should be supported by information from at least five credible sources: research based publications, such as textbooks, peer-reviewed journal articles, or other sources providing relevant guidance on the topic. Your analysis should clearly explain how the research informs your analysis. Summarize the case, explain the problems, and then suggest recommendations to address the problems. Remember that you are a management scientist, not a casual observer. Scientists not only report what they know; they also report how they know what they know. Your analysis should reflect your ability to apply logic, critical thinking, and theoretical reasoning as you construct point-by-point, evidence based arguments to support your conclusions and recommendations.  
 Formatting Guidelines Your analysis should be typed and submitted in APA format by the due date assigned. The analysis should consist of in-text citations and a reference list. All of the sources mentioned in-text should be on the reference list. There should be no sources on the reference list, which have not been mentioned in-text. Format the analysis using MSWord, 1” margins, double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 font. There is a 4page minimum length. The analysis should address the questions at the end of the case, and it should consist of the following elements: 
 A cover page and abstract 
 An introduction which engages the reader, sets the tone for the analysis, and describes the problem or topic the analysis will explore 
 A clear thesis statement which states the purpose and focus of the analysis
 A brief description of the case
  References to at least five sources other than the course textbook 
 Headings to organize the flow of the analysis
 A conclusion that summarizes and contextualizes the analysis

This case was written by Terry Anderson. The case is intended solely as a vehicle for classroom discussion, and is not
intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of the situation described.

The Electronic Hallway is administered by the University of Washington’s Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs.
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Copyright 2014 The Electronic Hallway


Crestview: An Overview

Located in the Florida panhandle about 40 miles inland from the pristine white beaches of
the Gulf shore, Crestview is the fastest-growing municipality in Okaloosa County. In the
summer months, Crestview, like the surrounding areas, enjoys the economic benefits of a
vibrant tourist trade. During the winter months, when tourists return to their homes, a
sense of normalcy returns to the local residents as their lives and the traffic slow down.

According to the city’s official website, Crestview was chartered by the Florida
Legislature and officially incorporated in 1916. The name was chosen because of its
location on the peak of a long woodland range between two rivers that flow almost
parallel on the east and west side of the city. Crestview became the County Seat in 1917
and remains so today. Crestview is strategically located at the junction of three major
highways—U.S. 90, State Road 85, and Interstate Highway 10—gaining it the
designation as the “Hub City” of northwest Florida (

In the last 20 years, Crestview has undertaken several initiatives aimed at making it a
truly up and coming community in the area. In 1995, with the leadership of city officials,
Crestview formally adopted the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) concept in
order to engage in development and redevelopment within a defined community
redevelopment area, specifically the area that encompassed all of the downtown area.
The CRA Board adopted a Community Redevelopment Plan, which was sanctioned by
the Florida Department of Community Affairs (

In 1997, Crestview applied for a Main Street Program designation by the Secretary of
State, which was approved. In 1998, the City moved the project forward, hiring a full
time Main Street Program Director and assisting in the establishment of the Main Street
Crestview Association, Inc. Membership in the Association consists of business owners,
citizens and other interested parties whose goals include revitalizing the downtown area.
Between 1996 and 2003, the City launched a three-phase development effort to construct
a major streetscape project in the CRA area. All three phases, at a cost of $3.7 million,
were earmarked for the restoration of Main Street. Funding sources included Tax
Increment Financing (TIF) revenues, state grants and general revenue funds

The Day the Sunshine Left Crestview


Today Crestview takes pride in its availability of comfortable homes, churches, schools,
recreational facilities, businesses, and industries all working together to support a
modern, growing, and progressive city.

Where Did the Sunshine Go?

But not all is well in Crestview, as recent events involving the City Council members
have cast a shadow over the city government, exposing possible violations of Florida’s
Sunshine Law. Crestview has a Council-City Administrator form of government. The
current mayor is David Cadle, who was elected to the position in April of 2007 after a 38-
year career as a high school band director. After serving at several schools for short
periods early in his career, Cadle accepted the position of director of Crestview High
School’s Big Red Machine band in 1978. Under his leadership, the band program grew
from 100 members to 280 and gained recognition as one of Florida’s outstanding bands.
He led his band members in representing Crestview in events in cities across the United
States. Mayor Cadle served on the executive board of the Florida Bandmasters
Association (FBA), a governing body for middle school and high school instrumental
programs for the state. He also served as district chairman of District 1 FBA and was
responsible for the school programs in Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa counties and
was selected as Crestview High School’s Teacher of the Year in 1998 and 2006.

In Crestview, the City Council is the lawmaking body. Members are expected to exercise
their legislative authority to serve and advance the general welfare, health, happiness, and
safety of citizens. Three council members are elected from Crestview’s three precincts
with the remaining two being elected “at large.” Terms are for four years, with members
assuming office on the first Monday in April in the year of their election. Every year
they elect a President and Vice-President to lead meetings and perform certain duties.

The council is charged with determining the budget, policies, programs, and plans for the
future, and for considering major problems and issues which periodically arise. Due to
their intimate involvement in city governance, the council is clearly postured to evaluate
the effectiveness of the city operations and delivery of public services. The council
prepares and reviews proposed bills; if adopted they become laws in the form of
ordinances. Other policies on many different matters are established as resolutions and
written procedures.

Within Crestview, growth and development are directed by the state’s Comprehensive
Plan and Land Development Regulations. That being said, arguably the most important
task facing the City Council is guiding Crestview’s future. The Comprehensive Plan
documents address land use, public facilities, zoning and how development and growth
within the city is supposed to occur. Essential to achieving a successful outcome is a
public forum process that will allow Crestview citizens to have input into the governance
process. This method works well with a small town population.

Current council members include City Council member Charles E. Baugh, Jr., known
locally as Crestview’s “Walking Councilman.” Councilman Baugh was elected from

The Day the Sunshine Left Crestview


Precinct 3 to a four year term on March 10th, 2009. He is the council’s President for the
year 2012-13. Mr. Baugh holds degrees from the Community College of the Air Force
and has 96 semester hours from the University of Florida. He and his family moved to
Crestview in 2002 during his 28-year career with the USAF. He has been very active
since then on various city boards as well as with civic and service organizations
throughout the county.

Councilmember Tim Grandberry, Sr. was elected from Precinct 2 to the position in
March and sworn into office in early April of 2009. After high school, he entered the
United States Air Force where he had an outstanding military career that took him all
around the world. In 1991, he was promoted to the highest enlisted grade of Chief
Master Sergeant. Councilman Grandberry moved to Crestview in 1993, while assigned
to the 46th Test Wing at Eglin Air Force Base as the Wing Superintendent and principle
advisor to the Wing Commander. He retired after a distinguished 30-year career in 2003.
Currently he serves on the Crestview Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the
Eglin Federal Credit Union Appeals Board. In addition, he serves with a number of civic
service organizations throughout the county, many of which target at risk youth.
Councilman Grandberry holds a bachelor’s degree from Saint Leo College and is one
class short of a Master’s Degree with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

Councilmember Benjamin J. Iannucci, III, is the newest member of the Crestview City
Council. He was appointed on April 7, 2010 from Precinct 1 to fill an unexpired term.
Mr. Iannucci is originally from Stratford, Connecticut. He attended Clarkson University
where he obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree in Aeronautical Engineering. In 2003,
he joined the Air Force and was commissioned after graduating from Officer Training
School in March of 2004. Councilmember Iannucci’s first service assignment was the Air
Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Eglin AFB located in northwest Florida.
Councilman Iannucci moved to Crestview in December 2006 and finished his active duty
military career in September 2007, serving today as a Reservist. He serves on a number
of local boards and councils and is active in youth sports programs in the local area.
Councilman Iannucci is currently working on his Master of Aeronautical Science Degree
from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is expected to complete that effort by
the end of the year 2009.

Councilwoman Robyn Helt was elected to the council on March 8, 2011 and sworn in on
April 4, 2011. She is a professional business woman and former bank vice president with
an extensive background in banking and finance. In addition to serving the Crestview
City Council, Councilwoman Helt is a full time real estate agent with a local office.
Currently she is civically active, serving as a member of the Northwest Florida league of
cities, council representative for the Okaloosa Walton Transportation Planning
Organization, and member of North Okaloosa Medical Center Women’s Advisory
Committee. Councilmember Helt is the wife of a Navy Veteran and the mother of 5
children. She has served as Honorary Squadron Commander for Eglin AFB 96th LRS,
four terms as a vice President of the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce, Vice
Chairman of the Crestview Charter Review Committee , and Band Parent President for
Davidson Middle School.

The Day the Sunshine Left Crestview


Council member Phillip Berezo was elected to the position from Group 2 At Large on
March 8, 2011 and sworn into office on April 4, 2011. Soon after graduation he enlisted
in the United States Air Force under the delayed entry program and finished his active
duty career after 20 years of service in 2003, retiring as a First Sergeant at the rank of
Master Sergeant. Councilman Berezo and his family relocated to Crestview. He was
Marketing Director for the Gulf States Human Resources Council from 2007-2009. In
addition, he has served on a number of local boards and councils. He is currently
working on Eglin AFB in Civilian Personnel as an Employee Management Relations
Specialist. Councilman Berezo holds an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Human
Resources and Logistics.

Council Office Emails Cast Shadows Over the Sunshine

On September 22, 2011, the Northwest Florida Daily News began to study a series of
troublesome events with the opening line “The Crestview City Council has an email
problem.” According to the article, experts in public records law felt that the Internet
was being used by some council members to discuss more city business than allowed
under Florida’s Sunshine Law. The law is clear on one point—officials cannot use any
form of communication to avoid a public meeting. Copies of several council-generated
emails were obtained by the Daily News, in collaboration with Crestview-based WCVC and WAAZ-FM WJSB-AM, after submitting a public records request for them.
The group delivered their request to Crestview City Hall on August 31, 2011 and by late
September, more than 2,500 emails were received from council members Robyn Helt
(872 emails), Phillip Berezo (608 emails), Ben Iannucci (39 emails) and Tim Grandberry
(927 emails). Council President Charles Baugh was the last member to release his email
correspondence (McLaughlin, September 21, 2011).

It is important to note that often people are included in email traffic that they are not
actually involved in. Similarly, not everyone responds to emails they receive if they have
no personal involvement in the subject of the correspondence. In this case, the names of
all council members appear on emails that are sent to the council in general. Some of the
emails, like one sent by Council President Charles Baugh on April 12, were addressed to
all city department heads (McLaughlin, September 21, 2011).

But what raised awareness in the minds of some who saw the requested emails was one in
particular from Council President Baugh. In the email Baugh discusses “an existing
contract between the City of Crestview and Mr. John R. Bale.” He went on to write, “I
have questions about all areas of this contract and ask your investigation into this matter,”
Baugh said. State Representative Matt Gaetz, an attorney well versed in the state’s
Sunshine law, reviewed several of the emails in question. According to comments from
Gaetz, the email discussions constituted meetings under the Florida Sunshine Law
(286.011) and had to occur in the public. In particular he argued that communications
regarding personnel matters, vehicle purchases, and contracts must be subject to public
scrutiny (McLaughlin, September 21, 2011).

The Day the Sunshine Left Crestview


Sunshine laws make it a public records violation if public officials meet to discuss public
business without notifying the public of their plans to hold discussions. An attorney
representing the plaintiffs in a public records lawsuit against the city of Venice, Florida,
when briefed about the cache of emails from Crestview officials, declared that it was
clearly illegal. As a result of that lawsuit the city was forced to pay more than $1 million
in attorneys’ fees. According to the attorney, a conversation held out of the public
hearing is illegal even if it is about something as simple as a parade. Important to note is
the fact that the courts have ruled that it is not a violation of the law if one council
member discusses an issue via an email and others on the council do not respond
(McLaughlin, September 21, 2011).

But in several cases in the Crestview correspondence members responded to issues
raised, including the specific subjects referenced by Representative Gaetz. One
particularly interesting email exchange took place April 12. The first message was from
city Public Works Director Wayne Steele and originally went to the Mayor Cadle and
Councilman Baugh. The subject of the email was a Pensacola business, CH2MHill,
which wanted to withdraw from a service contract with the city after posting a bill of
$20,000 for services already delivered. According to emails obtained, Baugh forwarded
the information with his own comments to the mayor, city clerk, and all of the council
members (McLaughlin, September 21, 2011).

Later that same day, Mayor Cadle contacted council members to tell then that he has
called a special meeting for two days later so that they could discuss the issue and
possibly vote. Emails show that Councilman Iannucci replied that he would not be able
to attend the meeting, but advised other council members to consult the Florida League of
Cities. The next day, Councilman Grandberry also commented on the CH2MHill issue
from a personal email account, saying that he believed the bill was excessive.
Councilman Iannucci tried to stop the discussion in an email with a caution that members
were “pushing Sunshine limits.” But Councilman Berezo kept the ball in the air when he
replied a short time later to say the deal did not make sense (McLaughlin, September 21,

It was thus after the request for public records on August 31 by the Daily News
and other media outlets made that Councilman Baugh demanded an investigation into
what he referred to as the release of “private” emails from his city account. The city
responded to his demands by releasing an internet technology employee and replacing
him with an IT specialist from the Crestview Police Department. Officials also changed
the access passwords at City Hall. But despite securing legal representation by some of
the council members, coupled with claims of innocence of any public records violations
and support from County Commissioners and other public officials in the area, the issue
refused to go away (McLaughlin, December 20, 2011).

In late February 2012, Assistant State Attorney Greg Marcille believed that his
investigation of alleged Sunshine Law violations by the City Council would be completed
within another week. But on February 29, he said that additional information appeared
that would extend his probe, by then in its fifth month. He would not specify the nature

The Day the Sunshine Left Crestview


of the new information. One thing was certain, however; from the beginning with the
initial 5,000 plus council members’ emails obtained through a public records request that
were turned over to him currently under review, Marcille knew the investigation would
be a long one (McLaughlin, March 1, 2012).

Numerous attorneys with expertise in public records and open meetings laws opined that
clearly there were violations of the Sunshine Law. Further, the originator of the initial
request for copies of the emails expressed concern that as many as 190 emails were
deleted from city servers after copies were requested. If true, this would be an additional
violation of the law, according to Barbara Petersen, president of the Florida First
Amendment Foundation (McLaughlin, March 1, 2012). Assistant State Attorney Greg
Marcille, citing that new information has come to light, determined that the probe into the
emails would be expanded to explore further to what extent they constituted Sunshine
Law violations (McLaughlin, March 2, 2012).

Florida is proud to lead the nation in providing public access to government meetings and
records. State leaders firmly believe in the notion that government must be accountable
to the people. The Florida Constitution, which sets forth the rights of citizens of the state,
ensures that the public has the right to know how government officials spend taxpayer
dollars and make the decisions affecting their lives. The principle of open government is
one that must guide everything done in government for its public. To emphasize this
belief and to assist the public and governmental agencies in understanding the
requirements and exemptions to Florida’s open government laws, the Attorney General’s
Office compiles a comprehensive guide known as the Government-in-the-Sunshine
manual. The manual is published each year at no taxpayer expense by the First
Amendment Foundation in Tallahassee.

Florida began its tradition of openness as far back as 1909 with the passage of Chapter
119 of the Florida Statutes or the “Public Records Law.” This law requires that any
records made or received by any public agency in the course of its official business must
be available for inspection, unless specifically exempted by the Florida Legislature. Over
the years, the definition of what constitutes “public records” has come to include not just
traditional written documents such as papers, maps and books, but also tapes,
photographs, film, sound recordings and records stored in computers.

Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine Law was enacted in 1967. Today, the Sunshine
Law regarding open government can be found in Chapter 286 of the Florida Statutes.
These statutes establish a basic right of access to most meetings of boards, commissions,
and other governing bodies of state and local governmental agencies or authorities.

Throughout Florida’s history of open government, its courts have consistently supported
the public’s right of access to governmental meetings and records. In the process, they
also have defined and redefined what a public record is and who is covered under the
open meetings law. One area of public concern was whether or not the Legislature was
covered under the open meetings requirements. To address that issue, a Constitutional

The Day the Sunshine Left Crestview


amendment was passed overwhelmingly by the voters in 1990 providing for open
meetings in the legislative branch of government.

The Attorney General’s Office has consistently sought to safeguard Florida’s pioneering
Government-in-the-Sunshine laws. That office has worked both in the courtroom and out
to stop public records violations. In 1991, a decision by the Florida Supreme Court raised
questions which made it clear that the best way to ensure the public’s right of access to all
three branches of government was to secure that right through the Florida Constitution.
The Attorney General’s Office then drafted a definitive constitutional amendment, which
guaranteed continued openness in the state’s government and reaffirmed the application
of open government to the legislative branch and expanded it to the judiciary. This
amendment passed in 1992.

In an attempt to try to rectify the present situation and based on the belief of many that
the violation was inadvertent, the state attorney’s investigators discussed the possibility
of a public meeting being held to “cure” any private discussions held by City Council
members. A “cure-all” meeting takes care of any action taken during an improper
meeting, but does not necessarily absolve council members from specific violations of
the Sunshine Law, according to Petersen (McLaughlin, March 1, 2012).

Council Members Charged—Court Appearance Ordered

Finally the situation reached a head when, on March 2, 2012, all five members of the City
Council were charged with violating Florida’s Sunshine Law. To the surprise of many,
based upon the charges, the offenses were considered “non-criminal violations” which,
Councilman Phillip Berezo told the Crestview News Bulletin, amounted to being issued a
“traffic ticket.” All five council members were ordered to appear in court to answer the
charges on March 20, 2012. Each faced a fine of up to $500 on a single count that,
according to the state attorney’s office, stated that four emails they shared were
determined to have violated the law. State Attorney Bill Eddins said the violations, while
considered “a serious matter,” did not rise to the level of representing any corrupt intent
on the part of the council members. He concluded that the situation appeared to be a lack
of education and failure to understand the rules (McLaughlin, March 3, 2012).

Alongside its investigation of the possible violations of Florida’s public meetings law, the
state attorney’s office also investigated allegations that Iannucci had deleted emails from
his city account (Hughes, March 7, 2012). Had this been true, it would certainly have
constituted a violation of law and would have been made a separate violation. But the
state attorney’s office said there was insufficient evidence to support the charge
(McLaughlin, March 3, 2012).

Not everyone was pleased with the outcome. The belief among many citizens was that
when an elected official swears to uphold the Constitution of the State of Florida and the
City of Crestview Charter, they should know that it includes the Sunshine Law and they
should be familiar with its conditions. Many began to question whatever happened to the

The Day the Sunshine Left Crestview


notion that ignorance of the law was no excuse for violating it (McLaughlin, March 3,

The council’s appearance before the court was scheduled for March 20, 2012 at 8:30 a.m.
Having been given pro bono representation by two Crestview attorneys, the members
appeared in court to respond to the charges of violating the Sunshine Law by discussing
the following topics in the emails:

• A Housing and Urban Development purchase
• Banking proposals
• An audit of the city utility department
• The purchase of police cars (McLaughlin, March 20, 2012)

At the court appearance, one by one, Charles Baugh, Robyn Helt, Phillip Berezo,
Benjamin Iannucci and Tim Grandberry stepped forward when called by the judge to
enter a plea of no contest to a single violation of the state’s public meeting statute. Each
was then ordered to pay a $500 fine for violating Florida’s Sunshine Law. In the end,
Okaloosa County Judge Jim Ward administered the maximum fine allowed for the
misdemeanor charge, but withheld adjudications of guilt, saying that he saw no evidence
of malice or intent in the email communications. He was quick to add, however, that
even unintentional violations of the Sunshine Law can undermine the confidence people
put in their elected officials. Inability of citizens to hold their elected officials above
reproach was, to Judge Ward, a serious matter (McLaughlin, March 21, 2012).

Before Ward handed down the fines, Councilman Baugh asked the judge to consider him,
as council president, the most liable of the five accused. As president of the council, he
felt it his responsibility and asked that the judge adjudicate in his case. He insisted that
none of the council members had any intent to violate the law or betray the public’s trust.
Finally, Baugh suggested that classes be implemented to instruct employees, council
members, and incoming council members on the Sunshine Law (McLaughlin, March 21,

The lead prosecutor for the state attorney’s office was in total agreement that training
would be a reasonable remedy against future violations of the Sunshine Law. He clearly
felt that there was no criminal intent on the part of any of the council members and
argued that training would clarify any gray areas in their understanding of the law. The
matter appeared settled at that point with council members glad to put the incident behind
them and begin moving forward to conduct city business. Many citizens felt the same
way, expressing their views that the entire situation was trivial given other weightier
issues facing the city. Others, however, saw it as potentially damaging if the training was
not successful at changing what they perceived to be poor judgment at best, criminal
behavior at the worst (Hughes, March 21, 2012). In an editorial appearing in the
Northwest Daily News on March 23, 2012, one citizen wrote that the citizens of
Crestview would like to believe the council members considered their misdeeds as grave
as the judge and the state attorney did, but had their doubts. His hope was that Mr.

The Day the Sunshine Left Crestview


Baugh meant what he said. Otherwise, he continued, further violations of the Sunshine
Law could very well result in charges that are weightier than a traffic ticket.

Putting the Issues Behind Them or Just Temporarily Distracted?

Once the city council members had their day in court on Sunshine Law violations,
thoughts began to turn to a common theme of “moving forward.” Councilman Baugh
assured First Circuit Court Judge Jim Ward that the council had taken heed of the state
attorney’s recommendations, noting that it still had much work to do for the city of
Crestview and they were anxious to get this matter behind them. Ward refused to believe
that there was ever any real intent to circumvent the meaning of the Sunshine Law, and
that the council was always looking toward doing the business it was charged to do
(Hughes, March 24, 2012).

City leaders immediately began to implement procedures to assure there would be no
repeat of the incident. Working in accordance with a recommendation from State
Attorney Bill Eddins, Crestview Mayor David Cadle encouraged the city to make
education a central activity whenever the city received newly elected officials. Past
orientation seminars were a good first step, but his vision was to put a practice in place to
have an intensive training in the Sunshine Law specifically as new elections take place.
The training would not only be for newcomers who generally prepare to begin their
duties as soon as they are confirmed, but would also be used as reinforcement training for
currently serving officials (Hughes, March 24, 2012).

With the council’s Sunshine Law issue seemingly laid to rest, attention returned to
another serious problem in the city involving the state attorney’s racketeering allegations
against suspended Crestview Police Operations Director Major Joseph Floyd, who was
suspended along with Floyd’s supervisor, Police Chief Brian Mitchell. A grand jury was
to release its findings regarding the Crestview Police Department on Wednesday, March
25, but a press release issued by the State Attorney’s Office revealed that an objection to
the release by an unnamed party had created a delay (Hughes, March 24, 2012).

Interim chief, Kenneth Bundrick assured the city that while the various departmental
investigations continued, the police department was being restructured by temporarily
reassigning some of the lieutenants to avoid any interruption in service. Both the new
chief and the mayor seemed committed to continuing their own investigation in
cooperation with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney’s
Office, based on their review of the grand jury testimony and its recommendations
(Hughes, March 24, 2012).

Current problems at the police department surrounded allegations of excessive force by
the police department’s Street Crimes unit, organized and headed by Floyd that raised
questions about the unit’s integrity, despite its effectiveness in suppressing the city’s
narcotics trade. Mayor Cadle announced that the city had temporarily suspended the
Street Crimes division while reassessing their efforts, assured citizens that the department

The Day the Sunshine Left Crestview


would still keep a close watch on any criminal or drug activity through other methods for
the time being (Hughes, March 24, 2012).

A Crestview native with 25 years of service with the city police department, Chief
Bundrick assured the public that morale remained high among his police officers. He
insisted they were diligently doing their job of protecting the people of Crestview. They,
too, claimed to be putting the past behind them and moving forward to do their job
(Hughes, March 24, 2012).

With the number of examples of what could be described at the least as really bad public
servant behavior exuding such serious negativity, many citizens just wanted to see all of
the city’s issues laid to rest so they would not overshadow the city’s positive attributes.
Local city activists feared that attracting new residents and business opportunities would
be hampered by the bad press and fomenting discontent with the present leadership
(Hughes, March 24, 2012).

Maybe Not in the Past Yet—Tempers Fly as the Situation Escalates

But soon it became clear that the matter of the City Council was not going to rest when,
at a contentious meeting of the Crestview City Council on March 27, long-time city
attorney Ben Holley and city council member Phillip Berezo both spontaneously tendered
their resignations. Berezo had only been a council member for slightly less than a year,
but attorney Holley had served the city for more than 30 years. Another long-time public
servant, Administrative Services Director Mike Wing, was able to avoid defending
himself against unknown charges when council member Robyn Helt moved to discuss his
termination, an agenda item brought by Council President Charles Baugh Jr, to a public
workshop to be set for a future date (Hughes, March 28, 2012).

Holley’s resignation was in response to a discussion of a proposed request for
qualifications (RFQ) for a city attorney, a topic Baugh moved from the second position
on the agenda to the end of the 10-item list of “new business” topics. Berezo’s
resignation came as a surprise ending to a long evening. Baugh’s justification for raising
the issue of qualifications was due to the absence of a contract for the city’s legal
services. Holley stated that if the council wanted a contract with him, he would be glad
to prepare and execute one. He ended by suggesting that after his long years of service,
everyone knew his qualifications (Hughes, March 28, 2012).

Holley argued that the role of the city attorney is clearly defined in the city charter, but
Helt continued with a motion that the council should proceed with the request for
qualifications. When it passed unanimously, Holley requested to address the council, a
request that was immediately denied by Mr. Baugh. His justification was that he felt
Holley would only repeat comments he had made at an earlier meeting on January 9
when the topic first came up and failed to pass with a 2-2 vote. After an emotion-packed
reaction from the overflow audience urging the council to let him speak, Baugh changed
his mind and relinquished the floor to the attorney (Hughes, March 28, 2012).

The Day the Sunshine Left Crestview


Holley opened his comments by tendering his resignation immediately, saying that it was
becoming more and more difficult to do his job. He suggested that the council had
forgotten its defined role as the city’s legislative body and had become too involved with
the day to day operation of the city. He cited that such behavior on the part of the council
had resulted in a morale crisis among city employees who were concerned about the
viability of their jobs. Holley also said he felt one of the reasons he was targeted was
because he was unable to represent the individual council members who were recently
charged with violations of the state Sunshine Laws (Hughes, March 28, 2012).

A number of citizens took advantage of the public comment period by speaking out about
the need to show restraint and cooperation, particularly with city employees such as Wing
and Holley who have a wealth of experience in the workings of the city. Clearly they felt
that the elimination of such a wealth of institutional memory could be detrimental to the
city. After an extended public comment period, council members gave their closing
remarks. Councilman Berezo surprised his colleagues as well as citizens in the audience
with his comments which featured his immediate resignation from the council without
any explanation (Hughes, March 28, 2012).

After Holley left the council chamber, one citizen questioned the council as to what their
backup plan was. He felt that clearly they were not even able to cast simple votes
without some kind of guidance, referring to Holley’s previous January promise to resign
if the RFQ was approved. He went on to add that the council obviously knew what
would happen after the last time. Council member Robyn Helt, who had cast the motion
to proceed with the RFQ, could only offer a weak apology, saying that she did not have a
crystal ball (Hughes, March 31, 2012).

The Crestview City Council planned to quickly appoint an interim city attorney at a
special Monday night meeting on April 2 so that the city would not be without legal
representation any longer than necessary. However, it would take longer to fill a vacant
city council position. The process of appointing a new attorney began with city clerk
Betsy Roy contacting prospective lawyers with experience in municipal government law
from a list provided by the Florida League of Cities. Roy indicated that the city would
advertise both the attorney and the at-large council position, after which there will be a
15-day application period before the council can appoint replacements for both positions.
According to Article I, Section 4 of the city charter, anyone specifically interested in
filling the vacancy for council member had to notify the city of their interest by
submitting a formal application to the city clerk. The application should include, at a
minimum, their name, address, and a statement of desire to serve the unexpired term
under consideration, and any other information deemed appropriate (Hughes, March 31,

As a result of their quest for a council member, Thomas (Tom) Gordon was appointed to
Crestview City Council on April 30, 2012 and subsequently sworn in on May 14, 2012.
As a lifelong resident of Crestview and local businessman, Mr. Gordon worked for a
local company during the summers, beginning in 1979 and became employed there full
time in 1991. He purchased the business in 2007. In addition, he has built several award

The Day the Sunshine Left Crestview


winning homes including one that was awarded the APEX Award for Okaloosa/Walton
County; and the Grand Aurora Award for the Southeast USA, for the home being the
most energy efficient, Earth Cents Homes in Northwest Florida.

An avid martial artist, Mr. Gordon has traveled all over the United States and visited
Mexico, Canada, Australia and South Korea. In 2003 he opened a Martial Arts center,
located in the Historic Downtown area of Crestview. He has been featured in numerous
articles from the local newspapers to worldwide publications. Mr. Gordon has served on
various civic and community-level committees and boards.

Will the Sun Ever Shine in Crestview Again?

Once again, email became an important issue when council member Ben Iannucci sent a
message to Mayor Cadle, citing allegations of corruption within the city. With clear
emotion, he asserted that it was his belief that the city was corrupt to the core and that
eventually all of the corruption and all involved parties would be made public. Iannucci
criticized Cadle for firing Crestview Police Department Major Joseph Floyd, who was
indicted by a grand jury on a charge of racketeering. Cadle had suspended Floyd and
Police Chief Brian Mitchell on March 1 in response to investigations by the Florida
Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney’s Office into possible
misconduct. Mitchell remained suspended with pay pending results of the investigation
(Hughes, April 7, 2012).

In his email, Iannucci said that it was all based just on allegations. In what could be
taken as a minor lesson in American jurisprudence, Iannucci added that it is the role of a
grand jury to indict rather than to hold judgment over, and in America, under the
guidance of the Bill of Rights, all citizens have the constitutional right to due process.
Iannucci did not feel that such a right had been afforded the two law enforcement
officers. He was concerned that the decision had opened the city and the taxpayers up for
some serious litigation and that it had violated the charter and the civil rights of two of
our employees (Hughes, April 7, 2012).

Iannucci specifically charged that Cadle had violated Article III, Section 10 of the city
charter, which states the mayor’s responsibility to report to the council concerning all
violations or neglect of duty committed by any city officer or employee that may he
might have knowledge of. Cadle refused to comment due to privacy restrictions
involving employee personnel records, saying he was precluded from revealing details of
the investigations into such matters Hughes, April 7, 2012).

Iannucci further stated in his email that Cadle had also violated Article III, Section 17 of
the charter by dismissing Floyd following the investigations. Even though the section
clearly gives the mayor the authority to employ and discharge the chief of police, fire
chief and all personnel in the police and fire departments, Iannucci said another provision
in the same section says the council should have the authority by a two-thirds vote to
actually fire public safety employees. However, he did acknowledge that there might be
a question of how to interpret the charter on this point since acting city attorney Jerome

The Day the Sunshine Left Crestview


Miller felt it could be taken to mean that the council could, not should, dismiss
employees (Hughes, April 7, 2012).

The email went on to indicate that Iannucci to have an item added to the agenda for the
council’s next Monday meeting regarding the Mayor and his tenure in that seat. Upon
reflection, Iannucci revealed that he decided to withdraw the item from the next
Monday’s meeting agenda on the advice of interim City Attorney Jerome Miller, who
offered to sit down with the councilman to discuss a better way to address the matter. For
the moment, Iannucci tabled any plans to ask Cadle to step down as mayor. Obviously
taking a lesson from earlier events, Iannucci indicated that he did not want to sound
accusatory, but wanted only to bring the subject out in the open, making sure his
communications were all made public. It was simply a matter of courtesy to provide the
Mayor a heads-up with no intention on his part to be accusatory (Hughes, April 7, 2012).

Without citing the Mayor as being guilty of any wrongdoing, Iannucci felt strongly that
much remained to be uncovered in the city until the city could heal. His ultimate
objective, he said, was to help Crestview move on after several months of tumult within
city government. Iannucci listed several important issues facing the city in the near
future including upcoming budgets, consideration of lowering the millage rate and
bringing economic development to the city. Those things would not have the council’s
full attention until everyone could put all the wounds in the past. Iannucci stated in the
email that the disaster with the police department has placed a dark cloud on the entire
city. The Mayor declined to comment on the other allegations in Iannucci’s email
(Hughes, April 7, 2012).

So Where to From Here?

It is obvious that there are major problems in Crestview that appear to be far-reaching,
affecting the daily operations of government in the city. Deep divisions lie between the
mayor and the council and various department leaders that threaten to compromise the
city’s immediate future. Over the next few months, elected officials and administrators
alike must find a way to heal the wounds and move the city forward. But at this moment,
no one seems to have a plan for doing that and as a result accusations and blame continue
to fly. What are the city’s leaders to do?

The Day the Sunshine Left Crestview



City of Crestview. (n.d.). History. Retrieved from City of Crestview website:

Hughes, B. (2012, March 7). Council members charged with violation. Crestview News

Bulletin, pp. A1, A3.

Hughes, B. (2012, March 21). Council members fined $500 for sunshine law violations.

Crestview News Bulletin, p.

Hughes, B. (2012, March 24). Time to move forward. Crestview News Bulletin, pp. A1,

Hughes, B. (2012, March 28). City attorney, councilman resign. Crestview News
Bulletin, pp. A1, A3.

Hughes, B. (2012, March 31). Council to appoint new member, city attorney. Crestview
News Bulletin, pp. A1, A3.

Hughes, B. & Stewart, M. (2012, April 7). Councilman alleges ‘corruption’. Crestview
News Bulletin, pp. A1, A3.

McLaughlin, T. (2011, September 21). Crestview officials’ emails raise Sunshine law
questions. Northwest Florida Daily News, p. B1.

McLaughlin, T. (2011, September 22). State to investigate Crestview emails. Northwest
Florida Daily News, p. A1.

McLaughlin, T. (2011, December 20). Investigation into Crestview City Council
expands. Northwest Florida Daily News, p. A3.

McLaughlin, T. (2012, March 1). Crestview City Council email probe will be extended,
official says. Northwest Florida Daily News, p. A3.

McLaughlin, T. (2012, March 3). Crestview officials charged with sunshine law
violations. Northwest Florida Daily News, p. A1.

McLaughlin, T. (2012, March 20). Council to appear in court today. Northwest Florida
Daily News, p. A3.

McLaughlin, T. (2012, March 21). City council members fined. Northwest Florida
Daily News, p. A1.

Sunshine comes to Crestview. (2012, March 23). Northwest Florida Daily News, p. A9.

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