Vero Beach Council considering special meeting to discuss vote on City Attorney

VERO BEACH – The Vero Beach City Council could hold a special meeting later this week to revisit its vote to begin the process of removing City Attorney Charles Vitunac.

Mayor Jay Kramer said Monday afternoon that there has been some concerns of legality from members of the City Council on the way the 3-2 vote was handled last Tuesday. A tentative date and time of 4 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 10 has been set aside just in case he decides a special call meeting is necessary.

“It’s kind of a funny thing,” Mayor Kramer said of the predicament the council currently finds itself. He explained that the one person the council would normally ask advice of to handle such procedures is the person some on council have expressed support of firing.

Kramer was on the losing end of the vote last Tuesday.

Immediately following that council meeting, Councilman Brian Heady voiced concern over how the matter was handled procedurally. He said he wondered if City Clerk Tammy Vock should have taken a roll-call vote instead of a simple voice vote on a personnel matter of this magnitude.

Heady also said he was disappointed that Councilwoman Tracy Carroll called the question and that he didn’t have a chance to pose all the questions he wanted to ask Vitunac during what could be the last opportunity while Vitunac was in the city employ.

The Vero Beach City Council approved a “preliminary resolution” for removal. That resolution sets into motion a 10-day period during which Vitunac can either file a written response or request a public hearing to address the council’s concerns.

Vitunac declined to comment on whether he would file a written response or request a public hearing when reached Monday afternoon.

City Clerk Tammy Vock confirmed Monday that the council’s vote was indeed to approve the preliminary resolution, though there had been some confusion as to whether the vote was to call the question – not the resolution itself.

Mayor Kramer said that it was his interpretation – as well as that of some city staff members – that Tuesday’s vote was an “action of finality” – not one that merely set up the groundwork for the city attorney’s removal.

“I’m going to have to review that,” Mayor Kramer said of Tuesday’s motion and the city’s charter.

It is unclear why Kramer, having nearly a week’s notice that the issue was on the agenda, did not review the city’s charter prior to the meeting.

Kramer added that it was his opinion that considering the resolution, brought forth by Vice Mayor Pilar Turner, should have been under the “Resolutions” portion of the council’s agenda, not under “New Business.”

When reached Monday afternoon, Vitunac declined to comment on the apparent confusion at City Hall.

“I really don’t have a comment for you,” he said.

He did confirm that he cleared out his office at City Hall over the weekend.

Mayor Kramer said that, to his knowledge, neither Vitunac nor anyone representing him has addressed the question of a response or public hearing.

“He’s got the ball in his court,” Mayor Kramer said.

Depending on what Vitunac might tell the city, Kramer will make a decision about holding a special meeting.

Should the meeting be needed, the city is required to give a 24-hour notice to the public.

Reporter Lisa Zahner contributed to this report.

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