Following recent years of federal and state investigations linked to corruption at Palm Bay City Hall, newly elected Mayor Rob Medina wants to prevent future controversy by shining a brighter light on city activities.
In a recent interview, the 59-year-old New York native didn’t cite a specific act of corruption that was the “last straw” for him. Instead, the ordained minister of Palm Bay’s The House said he felt called by the Holy Spirit to run.
Meanwhile, though, he said the way to prevent future corruption, in general, is to let residents know what is going on as soon as possible.
“More transparency will create in residents a sense of trust in the city,” Medina said recently.
In fact, he proposed a change to city policies on Jan. 21 that he said would do that. It was only his second meeting.
Currently, City Council members can put something new on a meeting’s agenda at the last minute, without having to follow the rule for everyone else to have it filed by the previous Friday.
Medina wanted to require such last-minute additions be voted on as emergency items or otherwise delayed until the next meeting so residents could research them and comment.
“Under transparency, we are obligated to hear the community,” he told his colleagues. “We are obligated to be up front.”
Medina didn’t get the approval he sought. His colleagues defeated his proposal in a 3-2 vote.
During the meeting, Medina indicated a willingness to take the matter to a workshop for more discussion.
Medina has never sat on a City Council before, he said earlier in the week, but said that doesn’t prevent him from exercising leadership in his new role.
Since 2010, Medina has been the director of community and military relations for U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge. And from 2000 to 2008, he was the aide to former Brevard County Commissioner Jackie Colon of Palm Bay.
“I’ve seen plenty of (various) city council and County Commission meetings,” he said. “I believe in giving every opportunity to residents to speak on the issues. I take the teamwork approach.”
And in Palm Bay, he said, the team includes fellow council members, city employees and residents. It will take everyone to make a more trusted city government.
Donn Weaver, chairman of the Brevard Veterans Council, said he has worked with Medina for six years and has the utmost respect for him.
“He does amazing work because he has the heart of a vet,” Weaver said.
Medina proudly cites U.S. Marine Corps active duty from 1984 to 1988, with two more years in the Marine Reserves.
But Weaver said what makes Medina great with veterans will make him a great mayor.
“He’s a good man, a great people person,” he said. “And being a veteran, he exhibits leadership, respect and compassion. And those same qualities will make him a great mayor.”