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Vitunac requests public hearing before Vero Beach City Council

VERO BEACH — Whether or not the Feb. 1 resolution for his ouster is found to be valid, tenuously employed Vero Beach City Attorney Charles Vitunac has met the 10-day deadline to request a public hearing before the Vero Beach City Council.

In a letter from his attorney, Louis B. “Buck” Vocelle Friday afternoon, Vitunac informed the city that he wished to have the matter of his termination aired publicly, as is his right under the Vero Beach City Charter.

The letter does not concede that the Feb. 1 resolution, which passed by a 3-2 vote of the council, was indeed valid, but does acknowledge that the matter has not yet been settled.

Should it be determined that the City Council needs to pass another resolution to ensure that the action item was properly formatted, advertised and voted upon, Vocelle asserted that the clock for the 10-day period for requesting a public hearing would effectively restart on that day.

A date for the hearing has not been set, and most likely will not even be placed on the schedule until after City Clerk Tammy Vock returns to work Tuesday after taking two planned furlough days.

Councilman Brian Heady, who became the swing vote for Vitunac’s ouster on Feb. 1, said he was not surprised that Vitunac has exercised his right to request a public hearing.

“I think that demonstrates that he hunderstands that the Feb. 1 resolution is a valid resolution and we’ll confirm the validity of that resolution at Tuesday’s meeting,” Heady said. “I quite frankly think that he has requested it but has no intentions of going through with it.”

“I think it’s a delay tactic to negotiate a better deal than – you’re fired,” Heady added. “And at this point, I’m not interested in anything other than ‘you’re fired’.”

Vitunac has requested a severance package of $88,000 representing eight months pay in exchange for his resignation.

The Vero Beach City Council next meets at 6 p.m. Feb. 15 in Council Chambers at the Vero Beach City Hall.

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