Robert Bedea Resigns from Sebastian’s Natural Resource Board Amid Controversy

Robert Bedea resigns from Natural Resources Board in Sebastian, Florida.
Robert Bedea resigns from Natural Resources Board in Sebastian, Florida.

Dr. Robert Bedea has resigned from the Natural Resource Board following the controversy that plagued his reinstatement on December 11, 2019.

For whatever reason, there remain a great number of misunderstandings and inaccuracies concerning a very unpleasant experience where I was the only real victim.

I am so very passionate about respecting and protecting our natural resources, that I was willing to endure significant public ridicule and slander just to volunteer my time and service.

I do not wish to be a hindrance to the functions of the board, thus please accept my resignation with a heavy heart…..effective immediately, Dr. Robert Bedea.

When Bedea claimed to be the only victim in his resignation letter, it sparked some outrage.

“Fortunately, Mr. Bedea decided he wasn’t interested in any more public scrutiny for his illegal activities and violence against a police officer, however claiming to be the victim in his resignation letter. The real story is in the fact that Damien Gilliams choose to support this violent criminal and reject an upstanding police officer who wants to serve the community. Truly shows Mr. Gilliams disdain for the men and women who choose to serve and protect our community. Shame,” City councilman Jim Hill told Sebastian Daily.

Bedea was arrested last summer after striking a Sebastian police officer. The previous city council scheduled a hearing for his appointment to the Natural Resources Board.

Robert Bedea
Robert Bedea

When reinstating Bedea to the Natural Resources Board, council members Damien Gilliams and Pamela Parris motioned to bypass the hearing to listen to testimony and go straight to a vote. The vote was 4-1.

“I just don’t want to put someone through a hearing when it’s not necessary,” Gilliams said at the meeting.

Gilliams argued that Bedea was never found guilty, although Bedea entered a plea of no contest to the charges.

Some residents suggest that Gilliams and Parris made matters worse for Bedea by not having the hearing. It was a situation where Bedea never had a fair hearing in the first place.

Gilliams and Parris know Bedea through the Sebastian Property Owners Association (SPOA), where they were all directors. Parris resigned from the SPOA last month. Many residents believe it was a conflict of interest because Gilliams and Parris knew Bedea and should have recused themselves from any discussions, motions, or voting.

“I am extremely disappointed that 4 out of 5 council members reinstated Mr. Bedea to the Natural Resource Board after he was arrested and pled ‘no contest’ to the charges of Battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence. I am disappointed that the message sent was it is ok to batter a law enforcement officer and still be a representative of our city staff. Then to add insult to injury, he was thanked in a show of gratitude for his volunteerism,” Chief Michelle Morris told Sebastian Daily.

Mayor Ed Dodd was set to reconsider the decision involving Bedea during the city council meeting on January 22, 2020.

Bedea pled no contest to his charges and was sentenced to two years probation, plus 50 hours community service.

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About Andy Hodges
Andy Hodges was born in Annapolis, Maryland. When he was age 9, his parents moved to Jupiter, Florida. Andy spent several years at various radio & television stations in Florida such as WLIZ, WFLX-FOX 29, WIRK, WIXI, WKSY, WRMF, and WJNO to name a few. In 1994, Andy made a career change to computer programming and worked for several technology companies (two are Fortune 500) in Atlanta, Georgia. However, Andy returned to Florida and settled in the small town of Sebastian in 2002. In 2005, he returned to the broadcasting news sector and eventually joined our news team in 2016 as editor in chief. Andy's family has lived in Sebastian for more than 45 years.