MADEIRA BEACH — The City Commission passed a resolution Feb. 6 censuring and reprimanding former Commissioner Nancy Oakley for “behavior unsuitable and unbecoming” a commission member. The action at a special meeting followed Oakley’s resignation the day before.
The State Commission on Ethics determined that Oakley licked the face of former City Manager Shane Crawford and groped him at a city event in November 2012. They imposed a $5,000 fine on Oakley and recommended a public reprimand by the governor. The decision was in response to an ethics complaint filed by Crawford in 2017.
Oakley decided not to seek re-election to her District 3 commission seat, which is up for election this year. Her decision to resign prior to the election had been unexpected.
Commissioners addressed the Oakley situation with a resolution adopted by a 3-0 vote accepting Oakley’s resignation, and “publicly censuring and reprimanding” her.
Commissioners John Douthirt and Nancy Hodges and Vice Mayor Deby Weinstein voted in favor of the resolution. Mayor Maggi Black was not at the meeting, which was chaired by Weinstein.
City Manager Jonathan Evans introduced the resolution, saying city staff recommended its passage. He said Oakley had violated a state law regarding “official misuse of public position.”
Evans said ethics and integrity are at the forefront of the city’s values, and passage of the resolution brings closure by showing “this type of behavior will not be accepted or tolerated.”
While voting for the resolution to censure Oakley, Douthirt said he was appreciative of her contributions and service to the city.
“Thank you, Nancy, for your service to the city,” said Douthirt. “(Oakley) did a nice job and had the city of Madeira Beach at heart in her decisions.”
Douthirt said he joined the commission two years ago because he believed the city was “being taken down the wrong path.” He mentioned former City Manager Shane Crawford’s expulsion from the city managers professional organization for “failing to uphold the ethics principal.”
Douthirt said many people who now want Oakley out have called for Crawford’s return.
Hodges said, “This is a sad time for Madeira Beach.” She said Oakley “tried to do her best while a commissioner, I believe, though we did not see eye to eye on a number of topics.”
“I hope Nancy can move forward and get the help she needs,” Hodges said.
Weinstein said passage of the resolution “provides closure, and it is very important for our city to move on.” She also said an elected official’s first job is to provide the citizens of Madeira Beach with “good, honest government.”
In her resignation letter, Oakley said she is resigning “in an effort to still the controversy” for the residents, commission and herself. Oakley later told the Beacon the decision to resign was not hers.
“The city asked me to resign,” she said.
Oakley said in the letter, “While the Commission on Ethics has made their decision, I maintain my innocence and am pursuing the paths of appeals available.” She continued, “With that being said, it is time for us all to move on.”
Oakley said there was “no hidden agenda” during her eight years on the commission.
Her letter concludes, “I want to thank the residents of Madeira Beach, the Board of Commissioners and the City of Madeira Beach for their support. I want you to know I am proud of the work we have done together. God bless Madeira Beach.”