Sebastian leaders will have to meet a third time to vote on issues stemming from 'secret meeting' concerns

Sebastian will hold a third special meeting in less than a week.
Posted at 11:47 PM, May 18, 2020

SEBASTIAN, Fla. — After two special meetings and eight hours of public discussion, Sebastian city leaders are still waiting to vote on controversial items a judge has ordered them to vote on publicly.

Despite concerns over the safety of meeting during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sebastian will hold a third special meeting in less than a week.

Council members are ordered to vote on items including whether the Sebastian city manager violated the city charter by postponing a regularly scheduled meeting on April 22. They also are ordered to vote on whether the Sebastian city manager violated Councilman Damien Gilliams’ right to call a special meeting.

Council members could come to a vote on the issues at the third special meeting Tuesday.

Councilman Gilliams also proposed voting on whether to terminate the city attorney.

RELATED: Top Sebastian city leaders take three council members to court over decisions made at 'secret meeting'

The judge’s order followed a public uproar over an alleged secret meeting held on April 22. The city manager postponed the regular meeting scheduled for April 22, saying he had the power to do so under a local emergency declaration.

Council members Charles Mauti, Pamela Parris, and Damien Gilliams still held a meeting that was not advertised to the public.

In that meeting, the three council members voted to fire the city attorney, city manager, city clerk, and remove the mayor.

Gilliams claimed to be the new mayor.

An attorney for Damien Gilliams told a judge Gilliams would void any decisions made at the meeting, but Gilliams claims they did nothing wrong by holding the meeting.

That meeting is still the subject of a criminal investigation.

Gilliams says that the regular meeting was not properly postponed, with the action happening only hours before the meeting was scheduled to happen. He also said he requested to schedule a special meeting with the same agenda as the regular meeting, but that request was denied.

“I was denied the special meeting that I called and they illegally canceled the [regular] meeting,” Gilliams said.

Monday night, members of the public spoke overwhelmingly in support of the city manager’s decision to postpone the April 22 regular meeting. One resident said potentially more than 1,000 emails were sent to the city by residents asking the city to cancel the meeting.

Charles Mauti also apologized during his comments, saying, “At this point, I do want to apologize for the actions I’ve [taken]. And that’s my responsibility."

Gilliams said he wants to fire the city attorney for “loss of trust.”