The Inquisition of PCB City Clerk MJ Bossert
By Burnie Thompson
March 29, 2020
PANAMA CITY BEACH – Like Joan of Arc, City Clerk Mary Jan Bossert was persecuted for heresy by sadistic men masquerading as virtuous leaders.
The PCB City Council considers it heresy to provide public records as required by law.
The Council conducted a virtual Inquisition at the March 26 meeting to terminate Ms. Bossert during a State of Emergency. Citizens were not allowed to attend in person because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ms. Bossert stood her ground against her five accusers, refusing their insulting offer of resigning or taking a lesser job. Instead she chose to confront their vindictive effort at public humiliation by rebuking their behind-the-scenes abuse and oafish threats for all to see.
And the very next night she filed a Whistleblower lawsuit against PCB’s Great Forbidders.
She’s not the first City Clerk to be chastised for doing her job. Diane Floyd filed the first Whistleblower lawsuit in January 2018 after her similar Inquisition for the transgression of providing public records.
People watched in shock Thursday on the Internet as Councilman Hector Solis publicly denounced the City Clerk’s job performance and made a motion to terminate Ms. Bossert.
Mayor Mike Thomas correctly predicted yet another lawsuit and emphatically seconded the motion after none of the other Councilmen did so. The City has acquired a litany of lawsuits resulting from Thomas’ arrogant pomposity and reckless imprudence over the past four years.
This is the first time in PCB history that a City Clerk has ever endured a job performance review during a public meeting.
Three Councilmen had the opportunity to vote no, all of whom were notified that the City received 41 emails requesting the evaluation be tabled until after the State of Emergency.
Instead they all voted yes, siding with Solis, a sadistic bully who has a history of intimidating and demeaning female employees.
Solis is on record telling a woman at a previous job, “I don’t know who you think you are. You’re not shit. You’re not running shit. All you are is a lowly secretary. You’ll never be anything more.”
Unable to burn Ms. Bossert at the stake, the Council instead made her perform her final act as City Clerk: calling for each of their votes on her own termination.
Video of Bossert’s Inquisition has gone viral as hundreds of people express disbelief and anger over the reckless cruelty from the Council.
People watched online as she gathered her things, stood gracefully, and walked out the nearby door only to be met by Police and escorted out of the building.
There are several aspects of the incident that reveal this was more of a sentencing hearing than a job review.
Ms. Bossert had no opportunity to speak during the faux review. Even Joan of Arc was given a chance to respond when the Inquisitors tried to entrap her with a trick question by asking if she knew she was in God’s grace.
Church doctrine held that nobody could be certain of God’s grace, and it would’ve been heresy to answer yes.
Joan of Arc replied, “If I am not, God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me. I should be the saddest creature in the world if I knew I were not in His grace.”
At her final meeting Thursday, Ms. Bossert outsmarted her Inquisitors as well.
It was her job as City Clerk to announce the names of people who wish to give public comments at the beginning of meetings. This time she invoked the right to do so herself.
This caught Mayor Thomas by surprise. She looked at the Council and told them what they already knew but hoped others wouldn’t find out:
She had never been notified about any problems with her performance at work.
“Clearly this evaluation is punishment for my response to what I believed was a legitimate request for public records,” she said, stating that Solis and the majority of the Council were upset that she provided me with a document I requested in November.
Then Ms. Bossert dropped a bombshell on Chief Inquisitor Mike Thomas:
“Evidence that this is retaliatory, Mayor: Do you recall cussing me out for providing this public record? Do you remember yelling at me at the old City Council building, repeatedly saying, “You effed up, Little Girl, you effed up.”
She said the Mayor berated her in the hallway after the TDC meeting on Nov. 12.
“Phil was there. He seen it, I cried to him. I went to HR to put a complaint against you and nothing was done – not a report, she just smirked at me.”
The City Clerk is the Keeper of the Records, an at-will Charter employee that answers directly to the City Council. That makes Councilman Phil Chester her direct supervisor.
Chester consoled her when the incident occurred in November but took absolutely no action.
At the recent public meeting, he ignored her grievance and voted to terminate her along with the rest of her serial abusers.
Supervisors have an obligation to protect subordinates who are berated by fellow supervisors.
Prior to voting, Councilmen Chester, Casto, and McConnell heard Ms. Bossert describe the repugnant hostility exhibited by Mayor Thomas and Councilman Solis.
They also heard that the HR Department refused to document the report. At that point during the meeting, they violated their responsibility to investigate the allegations.
Instead, they summarily voted to terminate her.
By doing so, they turned a job evaluation into an outright Inquisition more befitting a 15th-Century tribunal than a Florida City Council meeting.
The colossal injustice is that the wrong person was condemned.
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Burnie Thompson is a political commentator whose radio show airs in Pensacola weeknights from 5-7 CST on Talk 103.7 FM / Talk 790 AM (WPNN). His Facebook show focuses on the Panama City Beach City Council. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.