Brevard County Commission meeting heats up

Trudie Infantini cut off midsentence; ethics complaint threatened

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Thursday's Brevard County Commission meeting ended abruptly, with Commissioner Trudie Infantini cut off in midsentence, then threatening to file an ethics complaint against Chairman Andy Anderson after he gaveled the meeting to a close, Local 6 news partner Florida Today reported.

The last item on Thursday night's agenda was a proposal to modify the scope of work on a project to build a walking and running trail in an area starting at the Brevard Zoo in Viera, using money previously approved in 2001 and 2006 county parks referendums.

Infantini said, while she supports the trail project, she also wanted to discuss allocating parks budget money to provide shade covering for county park playground areas, so children can use playground equipment that is not baking in the sun. She said she noticed the problem recently when she took her grandchild to two county parks.

Commission Vice Chair Mary Bolin Lewis —whose district includes the trail area under discussion — insisted that Infantini was not sticking to the topic.

"I move the item, please," Bolin Lewis said.

"You can't. I have the floor right now," Infantini said.

When Infantini tried continued her discussion, and Bolin Lewis sought to cut her off, Infantini asked Anderson to "maintain order at this meeting."

Anderson would not let Infantini continue her comments, and called for a vote. The zoo trail project was approved, 4-1, and Anderson ended the meeting.

"You actually had no way to do that," Infantini told Anderson. "Oh, I am so filing an ethics charge on you."

Anderson: "There's no charges for this."

Infantini: Yes, there is. You are not allowed to do that, chair."

Anderson: "OK, well, you file charges."

Infantini: "I will. No problem."

Anderson said after the meeting what he did was appropriate, based on his interpretation of how the County Commission meetings are supposed to be run. He said if Infantini wanted money in the county budget for playground shade coverings, she should have brought it up as part of the county budget discussions that ended in September, or made it a separate agenda item.

"She was going off-topic," Anderson said. "I don't understand where she was going."