Commissioners choose new Brevard County attorney, promote deputy to top position

Tyler Vazquez
Florida Today

Editor's note: Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at FLORIDA TODAY.

Nearly a year after county attorney Eden Bently announced her retirement, Brevard County commissioners voted on her replacement Tuesday, choosing deputy county attorney Abigail Jorandby. 

Jorandby was selected from a pool of 16 applicants before being selected Tuesday.

From that original pool of candidates chosen by human resources, commissioners debated choosing between Jorandby and West Melbourne City Attorney, Morris Richardson at their Tuesday meeting. 

Deputy county attorney Abigail Jorandby was selected to be the new county attorney beginning Nov. 1, 2021.

"I've been here for a couple years, but I look forward to serving you all and serving the residents," Jorandby told commissioners after her selection.

More:Stricter rules limit applicants seeking Brevard arts and cultural grants in coming year

More:Thousands of minnows float up dead in Melbourne's Crane Creek

"This is my dream job and I am all in for you … I love the staff, I love Brevard County and I love the residents," she added. 

Commission Chair Rita Pritchett and District 1 Commissioner vice chair Kristine Zonka both expressed their support for Richardson over Jorandby, but said that either candidate would be a good choice. 

District 2 commissioner Bryan Lober expressed his support for choosing a woman for the job when all other things were equal, which he said was the case in this job search. 

Jorandby has worked at the county attorney's office since January January, first coming into the job as an assistant county attorney before being promoted to deputy county attorney in February of this year. 

Bentley has worked as county attorney since April 2018, when she succeeded Scott Knox, who retired a month earlier after 24½ years in the job. Bentley was assistant county attorney from 1986 to 2005, then became deputy county attorney.

Morris Richardson, who previously served as an assistant county attorney, has worked as the city attorney for West Melbourne for the past five years. 

Bentley is in the Deferred Retirement Option Program, and plans to retire on Nov. 1, 2021, after working in the department for 35 years.

Bentley and commissioners last year agreed that there should be a transition process in order to acclimate a new county attorney to the job to ensure a smooth and efficient hand-off between Bentley and her successor. 

Lober also supported having "a lengthier-than-usual transition time," during which Bentley's successor would be on board during the time Bentley still is on the job. By choosing an internal candidate with direct experience made those concerns largely a moot point. 

Tyler Vazquez is the North Brevard Watchdog Reporter at FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Vazquez at 321-917-7491 or tvazquez@floridatoday.com. Twitter: @tyler_vazquez

Support local journalism. Subscribe today.