By HENRY FREDERICK
EDGEWATER, Fla. -- With some of the 300-plus Edgewater citizens having to mill around outside the city hall chambers because every seat had been filled, were not told that David Arcieri, the municipality's director of public safety, was placed on paid administrative leave earlier that day.
That was on Monday where there were certain clues something was not right in the first opportunity citizens had the chance to question the motives of three rogue council members - Gary Conroy, Megan O'Keefe and Amy Vogt - who orchestrated the firing of City Manager two weeks earlier.
Something was amiss. Consider:
* The tone from the dais seemed more controlled.
• Ted Doran, the head of the Doran law firm that serves as Edgewater's City Council, was there.
• Interim City Manager Brenda DeWees said she was not interested in serving long-term in that role during a search for Barlow's replacement and had no desire to be the permanent city manager herself.
Doran had waxed poetic how the Oct. 26 meeting that had a single item on the agenda -- consider restoring benefits for a terminated employee - then resulted in a bashing session of Barlow, leading quickly to his ouster after residents were denied the opportunity to weigh in o the matter by the three rogue council members. Doran said taking up matters in a special meeting not previously noticed to the public and not on the agenda is frowned upon, but not illegal.
That DeWees said she was not interested in the city manager's job despite the increase in pay and prestige was surprising enough, but it was her somber tone that was even more telling as to what was not said by her or anyone else on the dais that the citizens had the right to know about: That DeWees had called Arcieri earlier in the day in a phone call to him in a bed in the intensive care unit at Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach that he was being placed on paid administrative leave immediately pending the outcome of a complaint emanating from within the police department against him.
Arcieri, a 24-year employee of the city's police force and its leader for the past eight years, slipped and fell at the firehouse Monday morning and was transported to the hospital with a knot on his head and a possible concussion. He was called by DeWees around mid-day with her edict delivered, and released from the hospital that night.
"That's pretty cold to have done it in that fashion after 24 years," an elected leader from a nearby city told Headline Surfer, agreeing to comment on the condition of anonymity. "She could have waited until he was at least out of the hospital. Even more troubling is not telling the citizens. After all, the public has the right to know of the decisions made by its government that affect them. It seems as though the citizens were played as fools. Then again, after what happened to the city manager, this is not surprising."
I knew he had taken a fall Monday morning but nothing more. They certainly did keep it hush, hush. I'm not sure what is or isn't happening "inside" our city, but as you know I believe in fairness, equality and transparency and I hope and pray it can be rectified.
Yet further disappointing and disturbing news regarding our highest ranking city officials.
I had heard the 3 were seeking to have Arcieri removed but they were certainly on their best behavior Monday night.