Jacksonville city inspector suspended after citing business owner for flying military flags
An inspector for the city of Jacksonville, Florida has been suspended for her behavior after citing the owner of Jaguar Power Sports for flying military flags on a rooftop display.
The flags were apparently in violation of code. But it was the behavior of the inspector, Melinda Power, that got her in hot water with the mayor's office and led to her suspension.
A customer, a wounded warrior, overheard her citing the owner and objected. Her response was that he "did nothing for this country."
He told her he took three bullets in the leg while serving in the military.
"You don't have to listen. You don't have to hear anything. If you watch the same video, her body language says it all," sales manager Marcy Moyer said. "There is nothing polite. There is nothing unassertive about her behavior."
According to a statement from Curry, it was the confrontation that put Power in hot water with the city:
"Employees of the city of Jacksonville are the servants of taxpayers who have a duty to enforce our laws and regulations. I expect every one of them to do that job in a manner that is respectful and reflects the privilege we all have to serve this great city. What I saw reported is 100 percent inconsistent with how I expect every city employee to interact with our citizens.
"I have ordered a review of the actions of the employee and pending the completion of that review, the employee and her supervisor have been placed on leave. Today I will ask every manager of city departments to review our procedures with each city employee. Once a review of the actions in this matter is complete, appropriate corrective action will be enforced for any wrongdoing.
"As the son and grandson of military veterans, and the mayor of a city with a proud history of commitment to our nation's defense, I will not tolerate disparagement or disrespect of the men and women who serve or served. On behalf of the City of Jacksonville I apologize to veterans and service members who are rightly troubled by the events that have been reported.
"While current ordinance does not address residents or businesses displaying military flags, I will not allow any citation of those who demonstrate their support for the Armed Forces. My team is working with the city's Office of General Counsel to bring clarity to the relevant city laws.
Whether Power objected to a challenge to her authority or whether she really hates the military is unclear. She said in a Facebook post apologizing for her behavior (later deleted) that her father, husband, and son-in-law have all served in the military and that she has "the utmost respect for the military."
This is hardly an example of "respect," and the apology is far too little, too late.
The bureaucratic mindset is one of the only constants in the universe. Most bureaucrats – even at the local level – go about their jobs with adequate competence. But occasionally, you get someone who has power go to his head, and he carves out a little fiefdom that he tries to rule with an iron hand.
Even if there was an ordinance against flying the military flags – and apparently there was one, or an ordinance that could be interpreted as making it illegal to fly the flags – the idea of enforcing such a blue law wouldn't occur to most citizens, or even bureaucrats, for that matter. But Mrs. Power not only saw an opportunity to wield power, but also decided to slap down one of the little people who dared challenge her authority
For that, she should be fired as a lesson to other city government employees in whom they really work for.