NSB Commissioner Judy Reiker & husband Guy Mariande eat at taxpayer expense after she votes to raise taxes

Making the Grade / Headline SurferHeadline Surfer® photo and graphic / The snapshot of expenses from the City of New Smyrna Beach through a public records request shows $60 for meals for New Smyrna Beach City Commissioner Judy Reiker and her husband, Guy Mariande, at a July 24 Volusia League of Cities dinner were paid for by the municipality's taxpayers. The two are shown above at an unrelated social function at the Brannon Center.
 
By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- Guy Mariande, a municipal government insider and his wife, New Smyrna Beach City Commissioner Judy Reiker, continue to eat at taxpayer expense, even after she voted to raise city taxes last September for the current fiscal year. So they get an "F" in our Making the Grade report card.

It's one thing for the city's taxpayers to foot the bill for public officials to eat on the public dime, but their spouses, too?

In the case of the July 24 Volusia League of Cities dinner at the swanky LPGA Golf Course Clubhouse in Daytona Beach, the freeloader spouse on the spot is none other than Guy Mariande, a regular attendee of such social function chicken dinner freebies, paid for with taxpayer funds.

Two things stand out here:

1. It's bad enough the taxpayers had to pay $210 for the dinners of five elected office holders and two city administrators, but where's the justification for Mariande to stuff his face for another $30 charged to the taxpayers? At least the others didn't bring spouses or dates like Commissioner Judy Reiker did with Guy Mariande;

2. The five elected officials -- Reiker and her colleagues in Mayor Adam Barringer and Commissioners Jack Grasty, Jason McGuirk and Kirk Jones all voted to raise taxes back in September for the current fiscal year. Yet they feel it is appropriate to eat on the taxpayers' dime.

NSB politicians eating off the taxpayers / Headline SurferTwo things stand out here: 

1. It's bad enough the taxpayers had to pay $210 for the dinners of five elected office holders and two city administrators, but where's the justification for Mariande  to stuff his face for another $30 charged to the taxpayers? At least the others didn't bring spouses or dates like Commissioner Judy Reiker did with Guy Mariande; 

2. The five elected officials -- Reiker and her colleagues in Mayor Adam Barringer and Commissioners Jack Grasty, Jason McGuirk and Kirk Jones all voted to raise taxes back in September for the current fiscal year. Yet they feel it is appropriate to eat on the taxpayers' dime.

Officials in Port Orange attend these monthly dinners, but they pay their own way.

So, too, do, officials in Edgewater. But not New Smyrna Beach where Mariande is a polarizing insider known for attending public meetings and taking excessive photos of his wife on the dais.

Mariande also was the executive director and a a boat captain employed with the Marine Discovery Center several years ago for a brief period of time before he was apparently let go.

Mariande also attended the retirement party for Commissioner Jim Hathaway two years ago that led to ethics charges against Mayor Barringer and City Manager Pam Brangaccio because the event was held at the mayor's wine-bar restaurant and a city credit card was used to pay up-front costs, in violation of the city's vown policies.

Mariande told Headline Surfer® the presence of its media representative was not welcomed at what he described as a "private party" and demanded that the internet newspaper leave.  

The ethics charges filed by citizen watchdog Bob Tolley with the Florida Commission on Ethics were dismissed a year later after Barringer, Brangaccio and City Attorney Frank Gummey -- with the help of a Tallahassee lawyer who formerly worked for the ethics commission -- convinced the agency in a hearing closed to the public that the retirement party was actually "public."

"But the fact of the matter is the mayort, the city manager and city attorney attorney outright lied to the ethics commissionetrs with the help of the Tasllahasse attorney with hids insider connections," Tolley insisted.

However, the ethics commission never spoke with Tolley's witnesses, including the reportyer for Headline Surfer®, who showed up at the party. This, despite eyewitness evidence to the contrary.

"They think the rules don't apply to them," Tolley said. "Guy Mariande and Judy Reiker are examples of fat cats who like to eat at the expense of the taxpayers and they get away with it. What a joke! When they get caught, they just lie about it."

Tolley added, "It's this sheer arrogance that reinforces the pervasive corruption, collusion and cronyism that has been rampant in New Smyrna Beach government since the day Barringer and Reiker took office and Brangaccio was hired. And the corruption has continud even to this very day."

NSB citizn watchdog Bob Tolley / Headline Surfer"They think the rules don't apply to them," Tolley said. "Guy Mariande and Judy Reiker are examples of fat cats who like to eat at the expense of the taxpayers and they get away with it. What a joke! When they get caught, they just lie about it." 

Tolley added, "It's this sheer arrogance that reinforces the pervasive corruption, collusion and cronyism that has been rampant in New Smyrna Beach government since the day Barringer and Reiker took office (in November 2009) and Brangaccio. The corruption continues even to this very day."​

Emails for comment by Headline Surfer® sent to Reiker, Mariande and the other city officials about the meals for the July 24 dinner being paid for with taxpayer dollars went unanswered.

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.