Home Business Mexico Beach mayor demands ‘declaratory judgment’ in lawsuit against city council

Mexico Beach mayor demands ‘declaratory judgment’ in lawsuit against city council

Mexico Beach mayor demands ‘declaratory judgment’ in lawsuit against city council


MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — There have been more twists recently in the unique lawsuit out of Mexico Beach.

On September 1, Mexico Beach Mayor Michele Miller filed a lawsuit against the city council.

She’s claiming council members have violated the city charter by voting to hire Chris Hubbard as the city administrator, and by allowing Hubbard to be the sole keeper of the city’s financial records. She also is claiming she has been denied financial records since April.

“I don’t have invoices, I don’t have purchase orders, I don’t have credit card spending access as far as what’s been spent on the city credit card, we have an account with Amazon Prime Business, I don’t have that access,” Miller said in September.

The City Council hired an outside law firm to defend them, saying the city attorney would have a conflict of interest. Anticipating legal fees, the city council also voted to set their millage rate higher than they had originally proposed. The original proposed rate was about 5.8 mills, it’s now set at 5.9999 mills.

In October, the council’s law firm responded to the lawsuit, making the argument that Miller’s lawsuit is about power and her winding up on the losing side of the city council’s votes.

City attorneys called the lawsuit a wasteful charade and said it should end because Miller cannot show the facts underlying her claims. They also submitted a separate document, making sure all the city records were filed in the court system. Their full response can be seen here.

Last week, new documents were filed in the case.

Miller’s attorney is once again asking Judge James Goodman to remove Hubbard from his job, force the city to give Miller the records she is demanding along with a “declaratory judgment” that finds Miller is the “chief elected administrative and fiscal official for the City, and this specific authority governs over the general requirement that the powers and duties of the mayor” and a “judgment requiring the Respondent (city commissioners and employees) not to interfere with Petitioner’s duties as administrative and fiscal officer.”

She is also asking that the judge force the city to pay court costs and attorney’s fees.

In his response, City Attorney Michael Spellman wrote that Miller’s attorneys did not follow proper procedure in their follow-up pleading and that the pleading should be thrown out.

“Despite this rather basic principle, and similar to her attempts to ignore the provisions of the City’s Charter (and not simply cherry-pick one sentence within it), Petitioner has, for the second time in this case, disregarded the rules and the City’s due process rights.”

Judge James Goodman has not yet ruled on these issues and a hearing on the matter has not yet been scheduled.


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