Letter to Mayor and Commissioners / NONFEASANCE AND MALFEASANCE

Dear Mayor and Commissioners,

Nonfeasance is a failure to perform a required act; and malfeasance is a wrong doing, especially by a public official.  Both are serious.

As a hypothetical example, if the people of Key West voted for anti-racism legislation and the Mayor and Commissioners instructed an unelected city employee to draft an ordinance that reflected the election, it wouldn’t be unreasonable if the employee asked the elected officials, his boss, to allow him to retain outside counsel to assist him and protect the city from frivolous law suits.  But it would be unreasonable and unacceptable if the unelected employee (who disagreed with a majority of voters, the election and the commissioners) decided not to hire the recommended and experienced lawyer and decided to put his thumb on the scales, stall the process and avoid doing what he was instructed to do.  That refusal and substitution of the employee’s desires for those of the voters and the elected officials, could be nonfeasance.

If that unelected employee then went further and tried to hire an attorney who happened to be the former grand wizard of the local KKK, that would be malfeasance.

As bizarre as it may sound, the actions of our own City Attorney regarding the vote for Safer Cruise Ships, are not dissimilar to the above hypothetical in many ways.  Counter productive acts and sabotage tactics are inappropriate, unethical and disdainful of both voters and KW’s elected leaders.  

To  avoid this blatant conflict of interest from continuing, a different unelected employee should be appointed to handle the Cruise Ship and lawyer selection issue for the Commissioners.

Respectfully,  Roger Kostmayer

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