BELLEAIR BLUFFS -- Commissioner Dave Shimkus took the equivalent of jaywalking and raised it to the level of treason and capital murder at the Belleair Bluffs City Commission meeting Monday night, reviving an issue that has been apparently burning within him.
Shimkus accused Bob Russo, a fellow commissioner, of the gravest of misdeeds and said that he had launched efforts with the State Attorney, Florida's Attorney General and apparently anyone else he could buttonhole, figuratively or actually, to list his plaints with.
It all goes back to what the commission has already decided what was a matter of confusion and at worst a mistake.
At the beginning of the year a radar gun was bought by the city for sheriff's deputies to use.
In the first instance, as Shimkus strongly proclaimed Monday night, the agreement with the Sheriff's Office for police services stipulates that the PCSO will provide all equipment.
What apparently happened is that Russo signed off on the purchase of the radar gun and later, when it was discussed at a meeting, Russo failed for one reason or another to point out that the purchase had already been made.
At that point, the commission wrote it off to confusion and human error. But Shimkus was not satisfied. He continued to pursue the issue to the obvious unhappiness of Mayor Chris Arbutine and his fellow commissioners.
Shimkus referred to a "lie" in connection with the incident.
He brought up the subject again at last week's workshop meeting which drew the response from Russo that he had apologized for his role in the mistake and was sick of hearing about it. At the end of that meeting, Shimkus brought it up again, triggering an angry response from Russo.
Shimkus reviewed all of that last night in an otherwise brief meeting that produced only the approval of a routine resolution.
He described the history of the subject, said he had contacted the State Attorney, the Attorney General and was endeavoring to have Russo removed from office.
One informed source who preferred not to be identified opined that whatever action Russo took did not rise to the level of criminal activity, and saw no grounds for removal.
Mayor Chris Arbutine interrupted Shimkus's tirade to "clarify" some points and did his best to put a lid on it, advising Shimkus to pursue whatever avenues he thought he had to, but that "we are not going to hold a trial here."
One citizen, Judy Skinner of Southwind Drive, said after the meeting that she had hoped to speak about the subject but that the meeting ended suddenly and she didn't have an opportunity.
Instead she offered a written statement that described Shimkus's activities when her neighborhood, in which Shimkus lives, wanted speed bumps which Shimkus opposed.
"He came to my house and basically called me a liar," she said.
She also recalled how Shimkus had received a speeding ticket from Largo police and in when apprehended told the officer he was a Belleair Bluffs commissioner and even went to the lengths of going to Largo police headquarters pursuing his defense.
"It appears as if Commissioner Shimkus does not much care for law enforcement or at least about enforcing the laws," Skinner said.
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