Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
December 5, 2018 3:07 p.m.
Roy G. Smith completed his service on the Fernandina Beach City Commission at the FBCC’s December 4, 2018 Regular Meeting. But not before delivering a thinly veiled barb at one of his fellow commissioners.
In delivering his final remarks, Smith said that it had always been his ambition to get involved with local government but his heavy work schedule precluded doing so earlier in life. In retirement in Fernandina Beach, he began attending city meetings and became involved in matters concerning the Port. “It’s been wonderful working with the city people, they’re good people,” he said. “Things do go more slow, it’s not like private business. But I’ve adjusted to that. And I’m going to say something ‘like it is:’ I’ve enjoyed working with all the commissioners here except one horse’s ass that’s a narcissist. No names given. I thank you for letting me do that.”
Smith’s remarks followed a glowing message of thanks from City Attorney Tammi Bach who said, among other things, that she hoped other people would get to see Smith’s caring side as he reenters private life. “I want everyone to know,” Bach said, “if you don’t know Roy … a lot of times you come off, you tell it like it is, and I appreciate that. Some of it has been directed at me in a negative way, and that’s okay. I respect you for that. But you are one of the most caring people that I have ever met. I really appreciate your character and the wonderful person you are.”
Smith thanked Bach for her remarks. He said, “I come across as gruff sometimes because I am looking after taxpayers’ money. And that’s what I’ve done.”
City Clerk Caroline Best also thanked Smith for serving the citizens of Fernandina Beach during his three years on the City Commission.
Other commissioners did not comment on Smith’s service or his departure. However, in leaving the chamber at the end of the meeting, Mayor John Miller was overheard asking Commissioner Chip Ross, “Did he mean you or me?” Smith has tangled with both commissioners during the past year.
Smith first became known to local voters in 2014 when he discovered that Kinder Morgan, the former operator of the Port of Fernandina on behalf of the Ocean Highway and Port Authority (OHPA), had applied for a Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) permit that would have allowed the company to build and operate a coal transfer station at the Port. Ultimately Kinder Morgan withdrew its request for the permit in the face of strong local opposition.
Elected to the FBCC in 2015 after defeating 3 rivals, Smith often expressed criticism of city contracting policies and project costs. He was sometimes cantankerous in his dealings with fellow commissioners, city staff and others with whom he disagreed. But he was consistent in standing up for the rights of property owners and seeking the best deal for the city in dealing with contractors.
Smith lost his re-election bid in the November 6, 2018 General Election when he placed third in the contest for his Group 4 seat. Because no candidate received a majority of the votes cast in that race, there will be a run-off election on December 11, 2018 between the top two vote getters: Bradley M. Bean and Mike Lednovich. The winner of this contest will take his seat at the next FBCC meeting on December 18, 2018.
Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.