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Here’s The Scoop … The September 27, 2010 Regular Commission Meeting … The Line Is Finally Drawn …

September 29, 2010 by Barbara

TIME TO ENVISION THE FUTURE ….

Dear Readers … for this writer the Commission meeting on Sept. 27th was the line drawn in the sand I was anxiously waiting for ….To get past a tough 5 months  (almost to the day, April 26th) from the time John Olinzock was sacked one week after his boss, Esther Colon and Connie Hoffmann came into town offering up her experience and services for the Interim Town Manager position in order to help us through the transition following one tough municipal election ….The vote by the Commission for the new FY 2010/2011 budget and for a new Town Manager in order to move on and be able to focus on the future rather than the past was for me something all of us should take pride in …. I know we will no doubt uncover more left behind from prior Administrations that will require attention….. but, after seeing our new Town Manager and her handpicked Asst. Town Manager, and Finance Director, over the last 5 months …they can deal with and address anything else they uncover…and help this town in its vision for the next decade …..Now is the time for the Commission to deal with the boards/committees and direct them in the roles they will play as well as the role the rest of the residents and businesses will play in the larger vision process…It is also opens the door for those who threw up their hands and walked away ….to come back and offer up their knowledge and expertise to sit alongside those of us who did not go through the process five years ago and come up with the plan that is carried out to fruition ….

An overview/excerpts/ Verbatim comments  of the 9/27/10 Commission meeting with the Town Manager Resolution to be posted separately …

The meeting began with the pledge and a moment of silence due to Rev. Hunsaker not being in attendance… There were no additions, deletions etc…so next up was Public Comment…which produced the unfortunate lone commentary from CIC member Tom Carr (prev. post) … Following that was the monthly Public Safety updates (see agenda)..There were no questions for the BSO …but the Mayor/VM Dodd realized that there should have been and asked Chief Llerena to come up before Comm. comments to address the employee of the months and the large cases they broke which were attached to the backup… This writer believes the BSO should take the monthly update time to get the word out on these rather large busts…especially in light of all the increases we hear we face with a new contract next year… The BSO report passed 5-0…The new VFD Chief came up and was asked about the medical call and hi-rise drill from VM Dodd after a resident inquired on fire drills… Chief Paine replied the medical calls would show a decrease after the newly implemented dispatch/ fingerprint sign -in etc…he discussed last month… Fire drills will be done at hi-rises in town and Chief Pained explained how that would work as well as other training  ..He said he had a 5 year agenda …and hi-rise drill would be done every 6 mos-annually with designated hi-rise residents helping in accounting for residents in a real fire…The Mayor asked for this to be on Ch. 78 & on Town website to allow hi-rises the opportunity to partake in the drills… Comm. Clottey  stated the Commissioners all met with Chief Paine and when she met with him he informed her they now had a cap for members of 66 …Chief Paine stated it was to keep costs down for training, supplies and gear..He said there are 66 members now and 2 left for professional fire departments so 2 were coming in… Comm. Clottey asked him to explain the training being done and to make it a practice to keep informing them and the public…Paine spoke about going to the roof of Ocean Colony …going to old & new condos and flash training and a computer generated program that gave the FFs the role of what to do/not to do with an expanding dangerous fire that involved 40 departments and a conclusion in 35 minutes,,Comm. Vincent asked about the Beach Patrol and stated residents had concerns..Paine spoke of all Beach Patrol members getting their lifeguard certification in order to be able to be on patrol and there would always be 2 cert. members on each ATV during rough times and weekends …He did assert they are not lifeguards…The VFD report passed 5-0…AMR Chief Brook Liddle came to discuss the return of the emergency medical review committee …It has been dormant for some time…Readers will remember it arose after some concerns about Hipaa and AMR’s accountability on the job… This program is still not desired by many residents who fear Commissioners will be privy to their private medical information…The VM and Comm. Clottey spoke of how impressed and worthwhile it was and in the end put forth a new member should step into the role (which is revolving)..The Mayor stated she had not been on the committee yet…but encouraged a new member as well…Comm. Sasser made a motion for Comm. Vincent  and Comm. Clottey seconded it…it passed 5-0 s well as 5-0 vote for the AMR report…

The minutes …which again were really well done this time…passed 5-0 separately after the Town Clerk described a few minor changes she made on the 2nd set…

The Consent Agenda had some items the Int. TM wanted pulled…to add they would be approved with the TAtty. approval … those were item A & C… B (auto, prop, liability ins &  wkers comp) & D (50,000  for cost overruns for TAtty.) …passed no discussion 5-0… A. was the tennis program and the newly implemented split of revenue with the tennis pro (prev. posts)… Comm. Clottey asked to explain the free programs…The TM explained the Comm. indicated they wanted some free programs in the agreement…Comm. Sasser asked that it be for Town residents ..After further discussion and a curve ball of sorts concerning relatives of LBTS residents.. it was decided it would be for residents and relatives …VM Dodd wants feedback on the new structured program and was told that would be coming… It passed 5-0..

BC- one question from this writer after hearing the dialog on the dais…Have the rules changed for use?… Will the courts be used by anyone ….even from over the bridge who pays for recreation …allowing for residents to have first choice?… Will this bring out the “group” who use it primarily now to protest?…

Consent item C was about the health ins….(see agenda post )… Finance Dir. Haag reiterated what was in the backup…and the increase…He added because we had a lack of notification time dealing with the increase the FLOC verbally offered that if we go out and are able to secure better rates they will give us 45 days,…. The increase for health ins. for employees who receive 100% for single /primary employee and 50% for dependent…The TM stated in the backup to go out for a broker and see if we can do better..It passed 5-0 for group health ins. with FMIT

BC- This writer still believes the issue of 100% coverage needs to be dealt with…

The Ordinances for 1st reading were the Comprehensive Plan (prev. posts)…no public comment /no Comm. comment passed 5-0… Ord. 2010-14 was to make sure we are eligible for FEMA  reimbursement… after a few questions on the services and who declares the emergency… (It’s done at every level according to the TAtty.)…TM Hoffmann stated the Gov. is the only one who can call for a State of Emergency to get the FEMA reimbursements to kick in… Bud Bentley answered questions about who was contracted for the cleanup…Post Bucklye is the management vendor…as well 2 debris removal companies…and after questions from VM Dodd he will check the pricing of Choice… Comm. Sasser asked who was in charge TM or Mayor…Mayor can step up as the TAtty. believes we have on the books… It passed 5-0….

Resolutions…first one was the dreaded and dreadful Interlocal school board reso…voted down last time 3-2…Still not happy or inclined to pass it was Comms. Vincent/Sasser and VM Dodd …but having no choice …and after VM Dodd reluctantly gave a 2nd to Clottey’s motion it passe 5-0 as the 3 Comms. looked as if they were holding their noses …

Resolution B. was the Town Manager Agreement..as previously posted and in the Sentinel…it was a 5-0 vote for Ms. Hoffmann… A detailed post to come with verbatim commentary…

Resolution c. was dealing with the parking fees…(yep again)…It was decided that there will be no more beach parking permits …only residential for $50 annual/ $40 for seniors 65 & over per Comm. Sasser’s proposal/ pro-rated on July 1st to $30… Comm. Clottey again showing she is being led by the nose down a blunderous path… stated that there had been many who came for beach parking  (3 CIC cronies who live 3-4 blocks away and are able bodied except for one speakers spouse)… She also pulled out this zinger…that had everyone rolling their eyes and shaking their heads… She stated that a long time ago it was only those who lived west of A1A who could get a beach parking permit…HUH?… The Mayor said that was a new one to her…and stated she had purchased one in the past and lives on A1A… Comm Clottey wanted the staff to look into it…The Vice Mayor was quite emphatic that to do so was a waste of staff time…especially since there is no more beach parking…Hardship permits will rise a little to $125 (they had been 200 and then were lowered down again in 2009)…Employment parking was to be moved from $120-$150 or from $10 -$12.50 a month…and Bougainvilla/ Poinciana would go up to $1….The VM stated he was very happy with the recommendations and felt $50 was a bargain… Clottey asked why we were not increasing the El Mar lot and Mr. Bentley went on to discuss making that lot for visitors …He also stated in the code that lot fee was never implemented…Comm. Vincent was pleased with the handicapped spaces being recommended to be moved and asked if we were in compliance with the recommended number…Mr Bentley felt we were since it is a new lot…Comm. Clottey had her 2nd time to respond to the VM and looked a little frazzled…sort of like the girl feeling she was picked on in class…She stated it was her “responsibility to point out what residents have told me.”..it is “My job”…”if you want to make fun of me, so be it” (not what he was doing) …

BC-That must have been some flawed CIC meeting the night before…and this is just the tip of the iceberg…from Comm. Clottey for the evening following that meeting…sad to say…

The Mayor understood the rate and parking lot increases but had concerns about the hardship/ employee rates being increased… Town Manager Hoffmann and Bud Bentley spoke of comparatives to other municipalities and how low we are…as well as calling attention to some actions that take place by employers who usually cover employee parking using the low rate to pay for employees to park elsewhere leaving ..The increase are moving slowly to be increased…The vote was taken on the above consolidation residential-beach permits/ increases and passed 5-0… Comm. Sasser thanked Asst Town Clerk Nikki Smith for the hot pink permits for the next year…

The Commission faced its first Qausi-Judicial Hearing and Mitigation of Recorded Liens decision since they put it in the books… Development Dir. Jeff Bowman was not present and Asst, TM Bud Bentley stood in along with Code Officer Kim Williams …Bentley gave a brief intro to this being the 1st time and dealing with it in other communities he and  the TM had worked in…He explained the criteria and the percentages..In this case the Respondent was asking for a 90% reduction and the Respondent was a bank…who took the property in Bel Air over …it was a foreclosure… The TAtty. stepped in to walk them through the process of the proceeding…and asked the Town Clerk to swear all those who intended to speak…June White not only could not do it …she lost her voice and was replaced on the dais later on by Nikki Smith …TAtty. Trevarthen carried out the swearing in…Comm Sasser asked some questions of the the TAtty. for explanation of equitable consideration and flexibility on the situation… Code Officer Kim Williams walked the Comm. through the long history of the property and a fence problem among other items…and how it progressed from the violation to the Spec. Magistrate and the growing fines… The Respondent was Sue King who was hired by the Well Fargo’s Foreclosure Property dept. to be a liaison stated it was an inherited problem for the bank found after doing a title search…she expanded the cost for repairs for the bank to include a new kitchen AC pool and fence…She spoke of LBTS not having a procedure for mitigation in place when she began the job…and that she contacted Comms. and Town and was told to hold on until after March…She stated her clients have been cooperative with the Town… The TAtty. stated for the record any letters or correspondence must be disclosed …The Mayor stated she had  received an email but did not respond and spoke also to Hank  Overton to bring it back to the Comm./ Comm. Clottey stated she received emails and stated she responded she did not go along with the request/VM Dodd stated he had contact and did say to hang in there and it will be brought up at the next Comm…He added he never spoke about the outcome promised …. Comm. Vincent asked the Respondent to go back through the history and stated the bank complied and “we do appreciate that” stating the bank was not at fault…He asked if it was purchased for a flip and it was acknowledged it was…With that the TAtty. stated there were no more questions…they received the evidence and the Mayor called up Bill Vitoli who made a comment as allowed in these procedures by the public after being sworn in…He spoke of a property by him that was being cared for by the neighbors at their expense..He wanted a high fine for the inconvenience these properties bring to the neighbors…There wasa short recess called…

After the recess the Respondents’ Rep. stated she had been doing this for 2 years…Comm. Vincent had more questions about the certificate of title and the Rep answered those questions adding this property was maintained by the bank…and the Comm. could verify with Kim Williams on that in reference to Mr. Viltoli’s comments… Comm Clottey questioned the woman about her employment …if she was a bank employee…She stated she was not…Comm. Clottey stated she must be getting a percentage then.. Ms. King answered she did not …she makes $500 as liaison plus $250 to travel to these meetings…No more questions…Comm. Vincent made a motion to change the mitigation to 80% …20% of the fines would be charged to end this… The VM seconded for discussion and stated 90% was never what he had in mind when pushing for this and asked if the funds received could go elsewhere than the Gen. Fund for something worthwhile…The TAtty. asked for staff input about code fines and where they can go… Mr. Haag thought it could be designated if the the Comm. directs it to be… and the TM stated how it would be transferred and accounted for …The VM said he wanted it to go on the Roundtable for discussion… Comm. Vincent refined his motion to include the exact amounts of the funds required …and it passed 5-0 with the TAtty. stating it was to be paid in 30 days…

Before Comm. Comments was when Chief Llerna was called up to cover the report that was overlooked… He spoke about the midnight shift as well as the deputy of the month and their big arrests…He stated arrests have increased significantly…A loud applause came from the hall….

Comm. Comments began with Comm. Clottey who stated she would be brief…she was grateful for no increase in the millage…She welcomed the Town Manager stating she had been wonderful (see future post on the TM Reso. Clottey comments)…She stated she was sad about the Reef Project (prev. posts) and that conversations between attorneys were  going on…She stated it is no cost to Dr. Goreau …his attorney is pro bono …but a cost to the Town…and that it will be an asset to the community…

BC- We hear other CIC members took the same stance and want the Town to go ahead on the current breached contract…speaks volumes about the organization…and pet projects…calling for them to turn a blind eye…

Comm. Vincent stated he wanted to stay focused on what had just transpired with the budget and the millage… He stated on a personal level he wanted to thank Doug Haag…Bud Bentley..and Ms. Hoffmann…He said this Commission made the right decision and that there is sincere admiration from the residents and businesses and he looks forward to working with her…

Vice Mayor Dodd…gave his Hillsboro Inlet update…and stated ” It is finally a pleasure to be seated up here and serve the best interests of the town. To many who watch at home on TV and for those who attend the meetings you will have noticed the obvious signs of harmony and civility on the dais , shorter meetings and fewer public comments. What you may not have noticed is the level of professionalism that has permeated throughout the way the town operates. Businesses have given me feedback that they no longer dread coming to town hall because there is an attitude of “How can we help you” as opposed to “ It says in black and white”….. I as the Vice Mayor ( still haven’t got used to that yet) receive the information necessary to make the right decisions to steer the town where it needs to be going. Rome wasn’t built in a day so we have to be patient. Our new Town Manager unfortunately only has two hands and I think there will be enough to keep both of them busy for quite some time. Behind the scenes I am receiving the information that the town manager will be opening every cupboard and closet checking for skeletons and whether the contents is up to snuff. In this back-up you may not have noticed the Health, dental, vision, life and short term disability insurance for town employees will be reviewed in a timely manor this coming year with appropriate recommendations, staff will be consulted and a survey of other local municipalities to ensure we are where we need to be. You are all aware that large cash balances in bank accounts were not earning any interest and finally we have someone in charge who is more concerned about financial matters rather than winning awards. I am aware of many other issues, the purchasing manual, the employment agreements and the salaries of our staff to name three areas where the manager will be making recommendations to this commission. The many parking issues will be the subject of a comprehensive study no more of the “to bag or not to bag”  just how much staff time and effort was spent locking and unlocking all the bags let alone the commission’s time discussing where the bags were located to say nothing of the lost revenue. These are exciting times and I look forward to continuing to serve and work with town staff to keep the town on track for the future.”…

Commissioner Sasser – “I want to thank Mayor Minnet for all the hard and successful work she did negotiating the Town Manager contract. I understand how difficult it can be negotiating knowing that final approval will come back to 4 other decision makers. The original draft came to us with all the key hot buttons addressed and I, for one, am grateful of the professional manner in which this was handled.

I also want to thank the Town Manager for her partnership. I do not use the word “partnership” lightly. I feel she has given on several points that she ordinarily would not have agreed to in order to overcome our concerns from past experience. We are rebounding from a bad relationship and Connie has been very understanding and committed. I also want to thank her for her patience, particularly with me, during this process. Sometimes negotiating can cause friction but her professionalism has constantly shined through. That is, unless she’s mad at me.

The end result is that we have a very experienced Town Manager that is committed to us. That chose us as much as we chose her. We have an arduous road ahead of us with many things to accomplish. This years’ budget is the first step. I thank Connie and staff for meeting the Commission expectation of keeping millage rates the same this year when our revenues are down over a million dollars.

It is now time to look to the future. We must stay committed to getting a clear and concise plan. This starts with direction from this dais. It will take commitment, focus, clear communication and teamwork. I am ready to join the team to my left and right to jump start then jet fuel this endeavor into the future. I personally feel this starts with some minor revisions to our Master Plan and will be adding this to our next Roundtable meeting. I look forward to working with my partners up here and you to ensure the viability of our town for ours and future generations.”…

Mayo Minnet stated she didn’t know if she could follow that…all had done a great job…She said what a difference two years make …and said she may have been the liaison for the Town Manager agreement but it was the TAtty. who recommended all the Commissioners be involved …and she tanked Ms. Trevarthen for that  recommendation…She welcomed Connie officially and she also thanked everyone who participated in the budget during the meetings and everyone who spoke…She said again we are facing a huge sewer increase and what a fete it was to maintain the budget/millage and  being able to go ahead with the FDOT project…to be able to pull that off was something…She was looking now toward the future and sees it as positive…that included the Reef Project and the attorneys involved working together on that…

New Business was a bit disconnected and in need of being returned to the agenda…as we hear Comm. Sasser has done…This was his item and he stated he had spoken to P & Z Vice Chair Yann Brandt who wanted to review any changes in the parking requirement to help the business district… The TM stated the Comm. may recall they hired Walter Keller to look at this and make recommendations for the downtown area…..

BC- #1…please …please …no “you may recall” to the Comm….still brings a shudder to this writer as it was always a red flag that the former TM was not being forthcoming about whatever the item/subject was…

#2…Here is where the disconnect and the confusion began… It was thought that Walter Keller was to update the 2005 parking study dealing with spaces …before going out for RFP… Walter Keller still brings a shudder as well, due to prior to 2008 and his overbearing participation in the MPSC …when this writer witnessed him not allowing the committee to move forward…stating a “study” was needed first… It led to some major discontent as a result…As for P & Z much the same…

The TM  said there should be some discussion because the boards were feeling they were to “rubber stamp” issues and how did the Commission want to deal with this …Should it go the boards for input and then the Commission having that input from them….

The Mayor said she wanted to see it on a Roundtable…

The Vice Mayor stated he felt this went against what they just agreed to and that this was the first example of a sub-committee coming to the Commission to put something before the sub-committee (prev. post)… He said this was one of things he had been campaigning for…and he was 100% for it going to the P & Z and that they be provided the suitable backup… He also wanted to make sure the businesses already paying the req. allocated spaces were addressed and included in the equation…for the impact…and that is where he stood on this …but then he backed off to say if the Mayor wanted it to go the Roundtable first to give the board direction on it he was happy to go either way…

Comm. Sasser agreed with the VM that he was happy for it to go to the Roundtable first if she thought that was important……

The Mayor she did think it was important because it was going to RFP  and this was part of it…She was wrong and asked where she was wrong …Mr. Bentley provided some clarification and stated the parking regulations had been discussed a month or month and a half ago and Walter Keller was hired to do the study prior…to  the RFP for the parking operational study… adding there was some overlap…He stated he spoke to Keller and his element to the parking study should be given to the Town later in the week…

Comm. Clottey wanted to know about the income from 101 who she said is one of the ones that pays a significant amount of money and Bud said 101/Aruba & Benihana…and offered to pull the amount up this evening or email it the next day…The Mayor told him to bring it to the Roundtable..

Comm. Sasser said he would put it on the next Roundtable…but the Mayor said staff would do that…The VM made a motion for it to go the Roundtable but that was not necessary stated the Mayor…Comm. Sasser ended by stating he had heard from many people on this subject and it something were to delay it he would still like it to go the P & Z…

BC- The problem is…the October meetings are set to start with the one Comm. mtg/ one Roundtable a month…meaning the P & Z would not be able to start on this until Nov. since they meet the week prior to the Roundtable..I believe the Comm. Sasser /VM Dodd and the TM got it right…P & Z 1st then to Comm….

The next new business item was for an alternate for P & Z…it is VM Dodd’s pick to replace his appointee who declined…He asked for residents to apply…

The Comm. needed to approve hardship permits for condos…and after Asst. TC spoke about the night time parking applicants come in to address…there was much discussion on allowing overnight parking for hardship permit parking which is not currently allowed in the code per Asst. TM Bentley…

BC- Again, we are faced with falling down on the job… These hardship permits are for owners and renters of these properties and I have to believe that for all these years they have parked overnight with them…otherwise what good are they…I do not believe they were used for visitor parking…Hmmm…

Mr Bentley added this was the same situation they would find themselves in when the Wings hardship permits are enacted….( it’s a ways off Bentley acknowledged for Wings…currently to go to litigation…prev. post)… After more discussion the mayor made them aware they needed to do something and they voted to pass them…5-0

The final NB item was the garbage increase…which Mr.Bentley explained…it’s minor for single residential homes…and after he explained the situation and the numbers….receiving kudos for his calculations and finding the errors…Comm. Sasser asked if Choice would rectify a mailing that had the amount wrong…Bud felt it made more sense to ask them to include the clarification in the next bill to save on mailing cost…It passed 5-0…

The Town Manager stated her report was short due to finishing the budget the evening before…(a followup project list was received later by the Comm. although not in the online backup on the Town’s website as of the meeting)… She added the increase for parking from .50-$1 was for Poinciana as well as Bougainvilla…and she had nothing else to add…

Comm. Sasser asked about the payroll debacle and if the former Auditing firm should have caught this and if there was any liability…The TM said the TAtty. should look at the contract and come back …

BC- A Reader sent me this…on this topic…when I inquired …”I would definitely file a complaint with them to put them on notice. That is acct 101. Not worth trying to sue for reparation. Maybe complain to the partner in charge, ask for all the payroll work papers for the past five years. Ask for their audit plan for the same years; it will tell you if and how they planned to audit payroll. Ask for an explanation and ask who has done their peer review. If they are lame with a response then complain to the state licensing board and their peer review firm. Who knows how they might respond. But these types of questions will scare them I promise. Make sure the documents sent out with requests and complaints are available to for you to post but hold off until they have complete all their responses. You never know what they might offer. An accounting firms reputation is “ALL” they have to bank on and they would be loath to damage it.”…Sounds good to me…

The TAtty Report from Ms. Trevarthen was covering the questions on amendments..such as the Fl. proposition 4 developers vs. environmentalist which will be on the ballot and elected officials and Towns receiving questions on it…She stated Town funds could not be used to take a position for or against …A statute strips cities from the right to campaign…The municipalities can use funds for educational uses…and it’s quite rigorous…She also stated some towns adopt resolutions …but some do not… When asked about elected officials being asked their opinion she stated they still had 1st amendment rights …they cannot be gagged…it is to make sure public funds are not used …

The meeting was adjourned …

Meeting and backup archived on Town website ….link …. http://www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov/

more to come…

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … Want S’More ? …

September 29, 2010 by Barbara

LOOKING FOR S’MORE PLACES TO GO/ GIFTS/ART/ COMMUNITY CALENDAR EVENTS IN LBTS?…

Make sure to check out  …. http://heresthescooponline.com/

Latest info on the Meet & Greet for Lt. Col. Allen West at Athena By The Sea ..(chg. of date )…as well as much more….

Do you have an event or place to go you want seen by hundreds everyday online?… This writer will be happy to post it on “sister” site Heresthescooponline…Just sent the info and a photo to barbarafcole@yahoo.com…

more to come…

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … Lauderdale- By-The-Sea Millage Rate/Final Budget FY 2010/2011 … A Blue Ribbon Winner…

September 28, 2010 by Barbara

BLUE RIBBON BUDGET FY 2010/2011 ….

Dear Readers …another year ..another LBTS budget finalized and put to bed… This one was the launching pad for some on the dais for what we can expect over the next few years ….especially from the new Administration ….It was the beginning of a revamped way of running the town’s finances and allowing us to finally see what’s what …

The meeting began at 6 pm in Jarvis Hall with a small audience in attendance …but definitely larger than the norm of years past …when the concerned citizens could be counted on one hand… The Mayor called attention before addressing the first item of business…the millage rate to an addition that was being asked for to the budget by Acting Finance Director Doug Haag…It was explained by the Int. Town Manager and Mr. Haag… As previously posted we were faced with another glaring example of the Colon-led Administration falling down on the job and not including Sept. 2009 to be accrued in that fiscal year…leaving the new Administration to add it to this one… The amount approximately $80,000….as stated in the Sept. 27, 2010 Town Manager Report for the Comm.mtg. that followed this meeting…Ms. Hoffmann stated Mr. Haag found that each department will be able to cover that extra payroll with the exception of the Commission ….So an amount of $1,998 needed to be approved to add to the budget being finalized as item B. this evening… The Commission voted 5-0 to allow for the additional funds after a motion was made by Vice Mayor Dodd and a second from Comm. Vincent… Comm. Sasser asked if he would still be able to discuss this issue at the Commission meeting after the vote…He was assured it could be discussed…The Mayor said he could discuss it at this meeting but he said it did not impact the budget …

Public Comments were up first and resident and Editor of BTSfuture Mark Brown was the first t come to the podium…He commended the Commission, Town Manager, Asst. Town Manager on how far they were able to come ..He did some approximation of the shortfall as he saw it..$700,000 and another $250,000 for the payout to Colon leaving them with approximately a million give or take … He said with the 1 payroll of approximately $80,000 not paid  for payroll and the lack of interest coming from the multiple non-interest bearing accounts we have our funds in …(prev. posts) …he was concerned something else will arise and and the Commission by trying to retain the 3.9990 millage rate will be “digging a hole” for themselves…He stated “given the circumstances” that “no stigma” would arise for staying at the 4.09 rate …He spoke of other towns that have risen their rates …and it was his personal opinion to go with the 4.09…not seeing “any serious repercussions next year or this”..He said “I would understand , everyone would understand”….

Resident and MPSC Vice-Chair (This writer believes that is his proper title) Edmund Malkoon was up next and also commended the dais given the circumstances…He added that for next year’s CIP with the pads already installed for bus shelter for the A1A project they should include bus shelters…

Diane Boutin from the Windjammer Resort stated “Three’s the magic number”…”Kudos”…and spoke about all that put their heads together for the best balanced budget in a long time…She said we were now looking “3-5 years ahead”…”thinking fiscally responsibilities”…such as “lights on El Mar in turtle season”…She spoke about the future and growth from within…

Resident Ron Piersante had the budget and stated “Connie and Bud did a great job”…He addressed the tennis lighting stating very few use it at night…He spoke of a group who had a lot of influence and how it was not open to those over the bridge..He said to “scrap it”… (prev. post…and an update on the the usage rules? Comm mtg. post)…He stated “Mark Brown said a lot of what I said, why not up it a little. I don’ think most people would object a small increase”…”Shorten the gap”…”You’re not politicians up there, politicians don’t want to raise taxes “…”look at a slight increase”…He went on to state people spend $100- $200 at Aruba on a Friday or Saturday night…He wanted them to give it some thought and while he was not for raising taxes the next year it could be 6.7%… …

The TAtty. read the millage resolution and stated the rate would be 3.9990 …

Commissioner Sasser asked the Interim Town Manager to address the “key question from each one of the speakers ” asking if there were any “serious repercussions for next year keeping the millage rate where it is”…and were they “digging that hole Mr. Brown mentioned?”…

Ms. Hoffmann responded the “one big question”… “the biggest question that faces up is the renewal of the BSO contract and what impact that will have”… She said it “almost a given there will be a significant increase in that contract possibly several hundred thousand dollars”… She said that was the one thing she knows we have to worry about…She went on to state that hopefully as the economy improves some of our revenues dependent on the economy will as well…She made it clear that an improvement in the housing market will not benefit us due to Fl law and because we are staying at the same millage this year…She followed that up with stating “Are we doing anything that is radical or dangerous or foolhardy? No, no not at all.” …She ended by stating “The Town has ample reserves to draw on for the next several years.”…She did add that this Commission or another one may in the future may decide they “have to raise the millage rate but you’re not there right now.”…

Commissioner thanked and yielded… and the Mayor passed it along to the Vice Mayor who stated he had written something…

VM Dodd-”I am extremely pleased the interim town manager – soon to be confirmed as town manager has managed to get the millage rate down to 3.9990 but it does fill me with anticipation as we go forward into next year. There are a lot of cupboards that have yet to be opened and who knows what financial surprises will be lurking within. Who would have thought the town would have over 2 million dollars sitting in accounts that did not give even a dollar return on the money. Who knew that the previous administration’s accounting errors would leave a deficit necessitating this year to contain 27 accounting pay checks rather than 26. Who could predict that the water and sewer charges would be increased but such larger percentages? At every turn the town has been faced with increases. But before I vote for this year’s rate I would like to hear from the town manager, and we just did, that this rate will not leave the town in a very difficult position financially. I would also like to say now that I will not hesitate to raise the millage rate next year should it become necessary to do that. It matters not to me that it will be an election year but that this may well be the only option to be able to operate the town in a prudent manner. I campaigned on fiscal responsibility and I do have concerns that our actions of keeping the millage at 3.9990 may well be a popular move it may not be the best move in the interests of fiscal responsibility” and he yielded …. stating “that is his position and he would not fear or hesitate to raise the millage next year if that’s what it takes to run this town on a financially sound basis, thank you.”

Commissioner Clottey -” Yes, I’m glad we can keep the ah, current millage rate. I would also like to ask a question through the Chair of the Town Manager. Ah, it is my understanding that these type of accounting and I don’t really think they’re really errors about paychecks. Every so many years you wind up with twenty-seven paychecks instead of twenty-six. When you pay every tow weeks. I’ve been in places where this , this does happen. It’s not out of the ordinary. It doesn’t  happen every year but when it comes into a cycle then we have to be in a cycle this year.”

BC- The Int. Town Manager responded…and it was akin to watching O.J. put on the gloves… OOPS!…

Ms. Hoffmann- ” That’s true if you account on a cash basis which large organizations generally do not. We account for our funds on an accrual basis ans when you do that you’re supposed to accrue whatever portion of the final payroll occurs in the proper fiscal year. So for example, last year I think the last payroll ended on October second .” (She asked Mr Haag to confirm and he did confirm she was correct)”So, all of the paydays through September thirtieth should have been accrued.”..She went on to state it was the practice in prior years and appeared it was started last year but not completed.She continued “So, yes it is not accepted practice for a system that operates on an accrual basis and we do.”

Comm. Clottey thanked her “for that one” and went on to talk about the millage going up next year due to BSO…She stated people should know it will be due to BSO and they should “not be sweep it under the rug”…She stated that twice …She ended her comment with “That’s what transparency to me is all about”

BC- Comm. Clottey was just getting started with espousing faulty information on the dais this evening…

Mayor Minnet asked Comm. Vincent if he had any comment and he did not…so she took her turn…

Mayor Minnet-” I want to thank everyone who spoke.”…She said she understood all their comments…She went on to state ” But I think in light of what we are experiencing on the sewer side of thing the residents are going to be experiencing a substantial increase in their sewer rates coming up this year. So I think that I am going to vote to keep the town tax millage rate the way it is because I think that by them getting that increase on the sewer side is going to be enough. And next year we’ll have to analyze it again.” She stated that we all know BSO is coming with a new contract and “residents will understand that next year we will have to look at things a different way.”…She went on to state she was pleased that staff could keep the millage rate without sacrificing services or capital improvements..She also spoke of the visioning plan for the Master Plan and that it will be “exciting “…that it will “bring us forward into seeing what this community truly needs”…She ended by thanking staff, the Commissioners for working so hard and the residents and stating “I’m excited for this new year and we’re getting off to a very good start. Thank you.”

Vice Mayor Dodd made the motion with a second from Commissioner Clottey…passed 5-0…

The TAtty. read item B. the Resolution for adopting the new budget… There were no comments or discussion or questions…

BC- I must admit I was taken aback by this…and it caught me by surprise…. especially since I was well aware of the preparation made by these Commissioners all the way through the budget process right up to this evening’s final adoption of the budget… As previously posted in the agenda for this meeting there were some areas that I felt needed direction given to the Town Manager and staff …Some revisited for clarification as well as changes to be made in the CIP priorities… But, after mulling it over in the last 24 hours I surmise that the lack of doing so was a combination of  burnout after being faced with so, so much over such a short period of time and the Commissioners knowing that with this new Administration and their fellow Commissioners any needed changes that might arise in the new fiscal year will be addressed as well as  “safety nets” of accountability for funds (such as the advertising funding for the Chamber) are in place …and that it will all be transparent to not only the Commissioners but to the taxpayers …So for this year…I’ll give them a pass on keeping mum….until or unless it comes back to bite them…which I am betting will not be in the cards as it would have been in the past…

The Vice Mayor made the motion and Comm. Vincent made the second to approve…it passed 5-0…

Apparently Comm. Vincent either fell asleep at the wheel or was caught off guard as well with no discussion taking place and wanted to make his comments … The Mayor told him to go ahead…

Comm. Vincent -” I apologize for the misunderstanding . I do want to comment if I may on script here. It’s been crunch time for the last few months putting the budget together but it’s been worth all the time and effort not having to raise our millage. Everyone should be seeing a reduction in their taxes at least in the Lauderdale By The Sea portion. Even though property values have decreased at least our taxes are decreasing as well even though we’re working with shortfalls in revenues while other municipalities are increasing theirs to make up the difference. We can thank the hard work of this Commission especially the staff to make sure that our tax dollars are being spent wisely.” …He went on to thank “Connie Hoffmann, Bud Bentley, Doug Haag and all department heads for responding to the Commission’s requests to do everything possible to maintain our 3.99 millage. The cutting costs and spending without having to reduce the level of service in our town. It’s not been easy and hats off to all of you for a job well done. Thank you.”..

With that the Mayor thanked him and Vice Mayor Dodd made the motion to adjourn…

The meeting is archived on the Town website as well the budget backups throughout the process … http://www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov/

more to come….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … The Lauderdale- By- The- Sea September 27, 2010 Commission Meeting …. #1 …. Longtime CIC Member Drawing The Short Straw To Speak At Public Comments? …

September 28, 2010 by Barbara

SHORT STRAW? ….

Dear Readers .. seems to be limited time to post will become more and more the norm as Lilly grows and her world continues to expand  into the outside world …..Fall Baby & Me classes begin this week for ages 0-6 and that takes precedent over posting meetings etc… But, after last night’s approved final budget and 5-0 Commission vote to make Int. Town Manager Connie Hoffmann Town Manager with a 3 year term (see prev. post./Town website for contract/Resolution … .in the backup and to be archived in the minutes online for all to partake in its transparency…link below  )…. and the coming together of the Town under this new Commission and Administration ….the need to post should become less and less ….if we indeed got it right this time!….

The posts of last night’s meetings will be broken up as they used to be from time to time …

Below, as posted after last night’s meeting is the one and only public comment at the Reg. Comm. mtg. from longtime CIC member and Mc-Furth pal Tom Carr in his own words …This writer truly hopes that he was just unlucky enough to draw the short straw from the remaining die-hard stragglers left in the D.O.A.- CIC  circa 2010 at their meeting the night before….rather than doing so out of some sort of misguided attempt to step up to the plate for the group…. which would be even harder to comprehend …

Item 6.Public Comments ..

The Town Clerk called Tom Carr…

“Hi, Good evening Tom Carr Miramar Ave. Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. I had a question, I guess perhaps to be answered best by the ah, Interim Town Manager. The ah, we had an annexation about eight years ago and because a lot of work that had to be done up there sewers and what have you, as I recall all the taxes were going to be going towards the improvements. Have they been ah, completely ah, paid for?”

BC- Mr. Carr stood waiting for an answer obviously not knowing procedurally the dais is not allowed to respond to public comments being made.”

Tom Carr- “Undergound wiring, the ah, sewers?”

BC- The Mayor interjected to try and make him aware of the inability to answer and to assure him that he would be responded to. Mr. Carr still unaware of her point, thinking she meant the Int. TM could not respond to him continued on…

Tom Carr- “Oh, sorry I can ask you I guess.”

BC- The Mayor again tried to inform him of the procedures in place.

Tom Carr- No, I was just wonderin whether the revenues from the town up north were now gonna start coming to the General Fund and takin care of townwide improvements? Second issue was ah, the ah, new contract ah, we’ve talked with a couple of the members here on the board. About a hundred and sixty thousand dollars a year. And I understand that’s the kind of money that was bein paid in this town to other former commissioners. So you may not find that weird. But I handled about thirty- some townships and those fellows were makin thirty-five to forty-five thousand dollars a year and if they got a fifty percent increase since I’ve left there in the range of sixty-seven sixty-eight thousand dollars. A real oddity. Mr Vincent explained to me that because expenses are so high living in Broward County that ah, it just has to be. And the other oddity I found was the forty-five sick day. I remember we ah, all started with six sick days a year and in my latter years of employment we got ah, to bank up to five days if we hadn’t used them. Of course as an exempt employee I got all the sick days I ever needed. But that didn’t come my first year on the job. So I hope you’re gonna explain this when we discuss the contract you are gonna discuss. You are gonna discuss the contract tonight I understand and perhaps get the ah, rest of the story about the ah, taxes from ah, north end, Bel Air and whatever the rest of that is called. It’ll be interesting to see if we’re gonna have a lot of extra money next year. Thank you.”

BC- Could it be this the opening political salvo from the CIC ?… I certainly think so after we witnessed more of the same coming from CIC member, Commissioner “Clueless” Clottey as she made her similar comments during the Town Manager Resolution…Her comments proved to be equally incoherent and just plain wrong on the facts and they too will be posted verbatim… Posting verbatim statements and commentary takes away any and all CIC charges of false/slanted statements being printed on this site…while holding the speakers and organizations responsible and accountable for their words and their actions …

Link to TM Hoffmann’s Resolution/Agreement …http://www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov/town/backup2009.htm …..

more to come…

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … Fast Food ….Nuggets From The Lauderdale-By-The-Sea September 27, 2010 Finalzed FY 2010/2011 Budget & Commission Meeting …

September 27, 2010 by Barbara

THE “SIDES” ARE STILL COMING …..

Dear Readers …no time to supply the extras tonight …but the “nuggets” are these …the Commission voted 5-0 to retain the 3.9990 millage/ voted 5-0 to accept the new FY 2010/2011 budget (prev. post)/ voted 5-0 for Resolution 2010-31, the employment agreement for Connie Hoffmann to become the Town Manager…

Four of the five Commissioners were eloquent in their comments and one was “clueless”… Four of the five Commissioners were well informed and forward thinking and one was “clueless” in her recall …as well as being apparently done a great disservice from whomever is coaching and/or advising her  “clues”…

This writer would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at the CIC meeting held at the Surf and Yacht Club last night…If the CIC or whatever is left of this dying PAC thinks the way to rebuild this organization in time for the next election is to return back to their worn-out, outdated political playbook and pull a page from it using orchestrated calls from a few leftover Colon-istas/2-Hats supporters to Commissioners and have one incoherent speaker ( in the past there would have been double digits of supporters ) show up to speak at  public comments only to start out his comments with divisive north-end v.south-end  swipes (ala Bob Karley) over the decade ago annexation and want answers concerning monies coming from the north to the south for improvements… then this writer…is going to be having a lot of fun posting these ongoing foibles using their own words as they slip even further into the abyss  …if that’s even possible!…

More to come….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … September 27, 2010 Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Commission Meeting Agenda …

September 27, 2010 by Barbara

GOOD EXCUSE? ….

Lilly in her Scottish garb brought home by her mommy …

Dear Readers …this writer fell down on the job!… For some reason…perhaps distance /time away  from LBTS (6 mos.) and double-time baby duty while Lilly’s mom was in Scotland last week ….led me to believe the Commission meeting was tomorrow night…Therefore …I am just looking at the backup now……Add to that …that again, this year the Jewish Holiday tomorrow that is the reason for the change in the Comm. Mtg. schedule…. is as previously stated in past years by this Jewish writer…totally unnecessary ……

TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA

TOWN COMMISSION MEETING

TUESDAY, SEPT. 27, 2010 AT 7 PM

JARVIS HALL

AGENDA BACKUP DOCUMENTS

1. CALL TO ORDER, MAYOR ROSEANN MINNET

2. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG

3. INVOCATION -Reverend George Hunsaker

4. ADDITIONS, DELETIONS, DEFERRALS OF AGENDA ITEMS

5. PRESENTATIONS

6. PUBLIC COMMENTS

7. PUBLIC SAFETY DISCUSSION

a. BSO Police Monthly Report -August 2010 (Chief Oscar Llerena)

BC- The backup states employee of the month is Dep. Louis Kattou & Dep. Gerry Arteaga  for conducting a foot patrol of the El Mar tourism corridor. …During an area check of LBTS Resort & Beach Club they observed a disturbance involving a suspect attempting to flee. They were advised a burglary was just committed and gave chase apprehending the suspect…They found the suspect was a multi-state offender with an extensive criminal history…These Deputies protected residents, businesses and visitors from him…KUDOS!… We hear BSO has had many other such cases they have handled quietly without recognition over the last months…under the leadership of Chief Llerena and Lt. Cedeno as their monthly log can attest to..as well as the summary of noticeable incidents/ arrests on Aug. 3,13 & 18th…YTD crime statistics are up in total 120 FY 2009/131 FY2010

b. VFD Fire Monthly Report -August 2010 (Chief Steve Paine)

BC- The leadership is new…the Aug. many of the medical calls many were cancelled according to the backup…The new dispatch and finger sign in should be implemented by now…The # 0f members are 38 in-town/22 out-of- Town assoc….36 fire/rescue call & 69 1st Responder Training (med calls )…Response time 4.25 avg.

c. AMR EMS Monthly Report -August 2010 (Chief Brooke Liddle)

BC- response time under 6 minutes 98% time avg. 3:37 …

8. APPROVAL OF MINUTES

a. September 13, 2010 Special Public Hearing Minutes

b. September 14, 2010 Regular Commission Meeting Minutes

BC- A look at the minutes is well worth it…They are really good…detailed and from first glance…if they keep up like this…no need for me to continue. doing a follow up in such detail as well ..Kudos!…

9. CONSENT AGENDA

a. Tennis Contract Renewal (Town Clerk June White)

BC- this is  a contract with the Tennis Pro to continue Mr. Petra was paid $12,000 FY2009-10/ The new contract is the revenue sharing brought to the dais by the Int. TM and agreed to by the Comm. He receives a portion of the registration fee depending on the service provided…The contract sets a fee for youth(group) $60 per participant for five wk. session/adult (group) lessons $90 per participant  for 5 wk. session …He plans to provide for adult doubles tournament at time agreed upon plus will conduct 4 free tennis programs which Town will compensate him for and adult doubles tournament… The copy of the draft contract is attached in the backup ….Again…before agreeing the Comm. needs to re-address the use of the Tennis courts for all who pay to use recreational programs offered in LBTS …The tennis courts are the only portion of the program that does not allow for outside use…Give LBTS Tennis players priority for time-cl;asses but open the courts for more revenue…

b. Renewal of auto, property, liability and workers compensation insurance coverages with the Florida Municipal Insurance Trust (EMIT) (Acting Finance Director Doug Haag).

BC- The explanation from Mr. Haag states the Town currently provides a standard package of the above stated policies through the FMIT an arm of FLOC …and LBTS has had worker’s comp with it since 1979…liability/auto since 1986…property since 1988…a comparison was included for FY2010 and FY2011 with a decrease shown of 5,591…workman’s comp decrease is due to Town’s excellent track record for safety and compliance he states…and recommends we renew…

c. Renewal of employee group insurances for health, dental, vision, life and short term disability with Florida Municipal Insurance Trust, Union Security insurance, Vision Care Inc., Reliance Standard, and The Hartford (Acting Finance Director Doug Haag).

BC- The explanation from Mr. Haag states the Town currently provides group health ins. benefits to employees, eligible dependents, retirees, and several former employees who are in COBRA benefits extension period…It has been provided from FLOCities ins. arm- the Fl. Municipal Ins. Trust since Oct. 2008.The FMIT is a pooled risk program that provides coverage to 63 member municipalities including LBTS. It has no broker fees and is organized as a buying consortium under Fl Statute 112.08 …It allows us to not go through a broker and deal directly ..It increase 9% in Oct. 2009 and they recently announced an increase of 17.5% for Oct. 2010 for LBTS ….Haag says the increase is significant but town has a loss ratio of 110% since participating in the program…He contacted Rhodes Ins. a Broward firm specializing in providing group health ins. to local munis…He was advised by Rhode’s rep. they have have seen increases at 65% recently and in S. Fl. 10.5-18% is the trend…with break even losses around 80%..He states FY 2011 the budget has adequate funds to cover the increase …He adds the Town currently pays 100% for premium costs and 50% for eligible dependents…TM has attached some details in memorandum…Total cost to Town FY2010=11 will be $262,000 ,…He recommends the renewal… The attachment which answers some of this writer’s questions…states Ms. Hoffmann had the TClerk check for Comm. approval on the 100%/50% contributions paid by the Town for employees/dependents…but they found no evidence of a vote on the matter going back to the 60s…A former TM indicated they were in place when he came to work in the 1990s (Baldwin)….She adds that with the 17.5% increase she provided a table …it shows the costs which have steadily increased….She recommends the Town renew the policy but go out to bid …and next year evaluate our options…As far as the 100% Ms. Hoffmann ended her input by stating it is generous but we lag in another aspect of compensation …salaries…She states the Town has no progressive pay system …so employees do not move through the pay range as they master their jobs …and perform…

BC- I need more info on who those employees are…especially after seeing the huge increases received by department heads as previously posted …merit increases as well as yearly COLA increases never voted on by the Comm… A public records request new pay grade list and  for salary increase the Int. TM stated she included in the new budget (prev. post) have been made…I still believe employees should pay into the health ins. like the rest of us…to offset the cost…

d. Budget Amendment -Town Attorney Office (Acting Finance Director Doug Haag)

BC- the explanation from Mr. Haag states the TAtty. budget will be overdrawn and recommends a transfer of $50,000 to cover the anticipated overruns… As previously posted…where are we on the negotiations…if we are indeed trying to negotiate a new agreement with Wesis, Serota  at the Mayor’s direction along with that of the dais ?… What are the overruns from…and if we are depleted why the decrease in next year’s TAtty. budget … as it appears it will be?…

10. ORDINANCES -PUBLIC COMMENTS

1. Ordinances 1st Reading

a) Ordinance 2010-06: AN ORDINANCE OF THE TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA, FLORIDA AMENDING THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN BY AMENDING THE FUTURE LAND USE ELEMENT; HOUSING ELEMENT; TRANSPORTATION ELEMENT; CONSERVATION ELEMENT; CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS ELEMENT; INTER-GOVERNMENTAL COORDINATION ELEMENT; ADOPTING THE PUBLIC SCHOOL FACILITIES ELEMENT; AND AMENDING LAND USE IMPLEMENTATION; ACCORDING TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMPREHENSIVE PLANNING AND LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATION ACT; PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN; PROVIDING FOR REPEAL OF CONFLICTS; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.

BC- Comp Olan …explanation is the history of the process from mid-2009…the schools…greenhouse gasses…transportation ..and the P & Z/Comm. votes….The staff and P & Z recommend approval…It will still come back with comments…(see prev. P & Z posts)…Nothing we can do in the grand scheme of things in dealing with Comp. Plans…literally!…

b) Ordinance 2010-14: AN ORDINANCE OF THE TOWN OF LAUDERDALE BY-THE-SEA, FLORIDA, AMENDING CHAPTER 10 “GARBAGE ANDREFUSE”, ARTICLE III “SOLID WASTE”, DIVISION 1 “GENERALLY” BYADDING SECTION 10-46 ENTITLED “DEBRIS COLLECTION ON PRIVATEROADWAYS DURING AN EMERGENCY”, PROVIDING FOR DEBRIS REMOVAL ON PRIVATE COMMUNITY STREETS IN EMERGENCIES FOR PUBLIC SAFETY PURPOSES; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY;
PROVIDING FOR CODIFICATION; PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.

BC-This one is to be eligible for FEMA reimbursement…and an Ord. that opens that door…for allowing removal of debris etc…

a. Ordinances 2nd Reading

11. RESOLUTION – “Public Comments”

a. Resolution 2010-23: A RESOLUTION OF THE TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA, FLORIDA, APPROVING AN AMENDMENT TO THE INTERLOCAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE TOWN AND BROWARD COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD, BROWARD COUNTY, AND NON-EXEMPT MUNICIPALITIES CONCERNING PUBLIC SCHOOL FACILITIES; PROVIDING FOR IMPLEMENTATION, CONFLICTS AND AN EFFECTIVE
DATE.

BC- The dreaded School Board Interlocal Agreement passed and though the majority on the dais were opposed as it does nothing for LBTS…(prev. post)…as we  were advised by the TAtty…we have no choice but to agree…UGH!…Unless some dais members decide to make a statement with a no vote…that is…

b. Resolution 2010-31: A RESOLUTION OF THE TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA, FLORIDA, ADOPTING AN EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT FOR CONSTANCE HOFFMANN AS TOWN MANAGER; PROVIDING FOR CONFLICT; PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.

BC- The Town Manager contract is online on the Town website (link below)… So is this resolution…which was not done for the former TM although it was a requirement…The Commissioners have all met with the TAtty. as Mayor Minnet indicated they would at the last Roundtable ..(prev. Post)… The TM will have a 3 year term/make $160,000 a year/ get  3 months severance if terminated without cause…with cause no additional payout /if she resigns she gives 60 days notice…no additional payout/ She receives one half of pay in 30 days/ 2nd half in 180 days if terminated w/out cause/health ins. is pd. by the Town and other coverages pd by the Manager/COBRA eligibility begins 1 year after termination/ after 5/1/13 (2nd term) 4 mos. severance /No sick days accrued or received when leaving/up to 40 days for vacation leave and reimbursement for outstanding expenses such a mileage,FICA/ Comm. see and approves calculations of payments /Holidays as all employees get/ 20 vacation days per year with a starting grant of 10/any days over 30 left at the end of the yr. will be paid by the Town so only 30 are carried forward into the next year/bank of 45 leave sick days upon execution of contract and 12 regular a year/Insurances group same as other employees/Retirement FRS cost to Town $23,312 annually & Town pays $7,500 to supplemental retirement plan yr 1 and 10,00 annually yr 2 & # and so forth/ If Town disproportionately reduces her pay or suggests she resign Manager can treat that as termination w/ cause/Asst. TM in charge when she is away/ Perf. eval each Oct. 2011& 12 By Nov. 1, 2010-11-12 TM & Comm. mutually agree on goals and objectives etc/Comm. can increase salary or decrease by 2.4% if poor performance and vote of 4 Comms./Wk FTime for Town w/ 7 days notice for any outside teaching/consulting needs 7 days notice to Comm./ Town indemnifies Mgr. but not if Mgr. takes position that is adverse to the Town and in a matter not involving this agreement/ prof. memberships & fees are covered…

No hidden surprises ….this time round…All Comms. did their due diligence …This should be the official start of the new vision for the future of LBTS… HATS OFF!…. to the Comm. and our new Town Manager, Connie Hoffmann!…

c. Resolution 2010-32: A RESOLUTION OF THE TOWN COMMISSION OF THE TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA, FLORIDA, ESTABLISHING PARKING FEES EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 2010 AND PROVIDING FOR AUTOMATIC ANNUAL INCREASES FOR CERTAIN PARKING RATES.

BC- Going back up…Residential $50/ no more Res & Beach…they are one and the same/ prorate residential $30 after July 1st ea. yr/hardship increase 25%  used…2005 study was 350/ Nov. 2009 200 and decreased to 100 way under market/ Included is survey of other munis…and the sad saga of the 2009 sliding down scales for friends of the CIC …and drops for employee permits/hardship..Beach permit signs will be replaces and staff wants to add 2 handicapped places on NE en of El Prado lot…4300 block of S Bougainvilla to be metered taking away beach pkg….Bougainvilla meters .50 per hr 32 hr limit & A1A lot are 1.00 per hr w/ a 4 hr. limit street meters are underutilized due to costs by businesses….Recommend raising Bougainvilla to 1.00 to not draw parkers there vs. Town meters/A1A… Let’s get it right this time…and stick to it…see below NB agenda item 15a…

12. QUASI JUDICIAL PUBLIC HEARINGS

a. Mitigation of Recorded Liens – 1624 SE 21 Ave / Bel-Air Ave (Development Services Director Jeff Bowman).

– Exhibit 1: Case #07-02-00216 /Fines owed $40,600
– Request to reduce to $4,000, 90 percent.

Exhibit 2: Case #07-02-00280 /Fines owed $59,050
– Request to reduce to $5,000, 91.5 percent.

BC- Vice Mayor Dodd will no doubt have much to say about this first case …since he was the proponent for this in LBTS…This writer does not believe his intention was a 90+% reduction …

13. COMMISSIONER COMMENTS

14. OLD BUSINESS

15. NEW BUSINESS

a. Parking Code to be Reviewed by Planning and Zoning Board (Commissioner Scot Sasser)

BC- Comm. Sasser has put this on for P & Z to deal with the parking codes…P & Z V-Chair Yann Brandt appointed by Comm. Sasser wants the P & Z to deal with the codes…content as well as any clean-up…(see prev. P & Z post)…This is the process suggested by the TAtty. to the Comm. (prev. post) and to the P & Z (prev. post) on how the boards can be address such projects…and be assured that they have the support of the Comm. to use staff resources to proceed… Big item of discussion…parking req. for businesses such as restaurants in town….

b. Appointment of Alternate Board Member to the Planning and Zoning Board (to be appointed by Vice Mayor Dodd) (Town Clerk June White)

BC- John Oughten was appointed by VM Dodd and declined…a replacement is needed and the Comm. in their procedures when elected decided any appointee who leaves will be replaced by another appointee made by that Comm. who appointed that spot on the board /committee… rather than an alternate moving into that spot and a new alternate being appointed by the Comm….

c. Commission approval of ten (10) hardship permit applicants (Town Clerk June White)

BC- the list includes Oceantime LLC/Ocean Treasure LLC/ Ocean Terrace/ Gordon Chase/ 4344LLC/4444LLC/ Beachview Apts./ Breakaway Inn/ Coral Key Inn/ Windjammer…Staff recommends approval …rate will be ?….

d. Increase in Solid Waste Collection Fees effective October 1, 2010 (Interim Assistant Town Manager Bud Bentley)

BC-surprise an increase…with the specifics…disposal rate ..the RRB tipping rate is increasing.70 per ton from $98.50 to $99.20 per ton..impact on single family home$0.08 per mo….Worth the cost of postage for notice to customers?…

16. TOWN MANAGER REPORT

BC-Only 2 items…her projects list is done 1x a month…and should be at the ONLY Comm. mtg. in Oct. (2nd wk of ea. mo. )…if that is verified this evening as the start of the 1 Comm. Mtg/1 Rdtable Mtg. ea. month…

Global Coral Reef Alliance…”We have received several emails from Dr. Goreau and his attorney and the Town Attorney and I will be having a conference call with them next week to discuss amendments to the contract. As you have seen from the emails I have forwarded to you, Cry of the Water has advised all of the permitting agencies that the project is on hold.”..

BC- Previously posted were most of the emails we believe…along with the newly included vote in Nov. 2008 for the ongoing maintenance/removal made in a 5-0 vote by the former Comm. but not included in prior backup…How will that change the outcome?…

BC-as previously posted (2x)…

“Current Payroll Budget”

The payroll projections we have been working with in the current year assumed 26 payrolls, as one would expect. But as we’ve been refining our projections in the last few weeks i became clear that payroll in the current fiscal year would exceed the budget. We have discovered that the Town did not accrue the last payroll of FY 2008/2009 and that payroll was accounted for 100% in this fiscal year; none of it was allocated to the appropriate fiscal year. This is NOT generally accepted accounting practice. We are very surprised that the auditors did not note this in their management letter.

We obviously cannot go back and adjust the prior fiscal year to correct this issue. The result is that we will have to account for 27 payrolls in the current fiscal year, an extra cost of approximately $80,000.

We believe we should get this straightened may have to walk on to the September 27th agenda an item to appropriate funds to cover these expenses from fund balances. We are analyzing whether funds can be transferred administratively within budgets to cover these expenses. In some cases there may not be sufficient funds and we will have to have you appropriate funds before the fiscal year ends.”

BC- anymore such items since this went on the agenda?… GULP!…

17. TOWN ATTORNEY REPORT

BC- no backup…

18. ADJOURNMENT

7 pm Comm. meeting after the 6 pm budget hearing will be open to the public…public comment is allowed ….Live on Comcast channel 78/ live-stream on Town website … http://lbts.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=2 … and then archived …

Link to backup …. http://www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov/

More to come…

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop .. September 27, 2010 Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Final Budget Hearing FY 2010/2011 … The End Of The “Trojan Horse” Era In Lauderdale-By-The-Sea …

September 26, 2010 by Barbara

TROJAN HORSES & THE GFOA DISTINGUISHED BUDGET PRESENTATION AWARDS ….IT’S WHAT’S INSIDE THAT MATTERS …

TROJAN HORSE DEFINITION: “Metaphorically a “Trojan Horse” has come to mean any trick or strategem that causes a target to invite a foe into a securely protected bastion or space.”

Dear Readers …… The FY2009/2010 Budget included once again on the page before the July 14, 2009 letter to the Commission from former Town Manager Esther Colon a photocopy of the Government Finance Officers Association Distinguished Budget presentation Award …It is touted still by the small smattering of Colon-istas left in town as a testament to her finance acumen…( perhaps this came up at Sunday night’s CIC meeting?)… As previously posted and below the large GFOA emblem …”In order to receive this award, a governmental unit must publish a budget document that meets program criteria as a policy document, as an operations guide, as a financial plan, and as a communication device.” …Also, as previously posted many other towns have received this award year after year…for meeting the GFOA criteria… Those awards do not cover what comprises the Town/City budget …So, when so many of us stated something was seriously wrong in Town Hall and especially with the Town’s  funds… we were correct…

Commissioner Clottey recently said “Ladies and Gentlemen you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig” when addressing the millage rate at the Sept. 13, 2010 budget workshop …(prev. post)… In this writer’s opinion it goes well beyond that  …The Colon Administration and their Commission pals fit the above stated metaphorical definition of “Trojan Horse” …. We, the taxpayers were told we were getting a gift when the Commission made the former Finance Director the Town Manager in 2007 …. We were told we were getting a gift in 2008 with the CIC majority winning the election and sitting on the dais…and we were told over and over again in 2009 by those who brought us these gifts and now had much to lose if we did not keep them…

That big old horse was toppled in 2010…thanks to 65% of the LBTS voters who elected a new majority on the dais who did as they promised when campaigning when they quickly terminated Colon and Olinzock and were lucky enough to have perfect timing happen on their watch with a highly regarded..highly qualified replacement for Town Manager named Connie Hoffmann who got down to work the minute she was appointed Interim Town Manager in April 2010 ….Once inside Town Hall she and her Interim Asst. Town Manager Bud Bentley along with her Acting Finance Director Doug Haag uncovered so much…with more coming to light everyday…(prev. posts)………

THE AGENDA….

……………..

TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA

TOWN COMMISSION

SPECIAL PUBLIC HEARING

MONDAY, SEPT. 27, 2010
AT 6 PM IN JARVIS HALL

AGENDA BACKUP DOCUMENTS

1. CALL TO ORDER, MAYOR ROSEANN MINNET

2. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG

3. PUBLIC COMMENTS

4. COMMISSIONER COMMENTS

5. RESOLUTIONS -PUBLIC HEARINGS

a. RESOLUTION 2010-29 – Adopting Final Millage: A RESOLUTION OF THE TOWN COMMISSION OF THE TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA, FLORIDA, ADOPTING THE FINAL AD VALOREM TAX MILEAGE RATE AT 3.9990 MILS PER THOUSAND DOLLARS OF TAXABLE ASSESSED VALUE, WHICH IS 8.18% BELOW THE ROLLED BACK RATE COMPUTED PURSUANT TO STATE LAW, FOR THE 2010 TAX YEAR; PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE (Interim Town Manager Connie Hoffmann).

BC- Acting Finance Director Doug Haag was asked for a breakdown of the taxes paid by business and residents …He sent the Commission the following e-mail…

“From: Finance Director
Sent: Thu 9/23/2010 3:17 PM
To: Roseann Minnet; Chris Vincent; Stuart Dodd; Birute Ann Clottey; Scot Sasser
Cc: Connie Hoffmann; Bud Bentley
Subject: Helpful Information re: Tax Distribution
Following is some information that you might find helpful. It’s a breakdown of taxable values and tax revenue by property use code. Please feel free to give me a call if you have any questions.

Classification /Taxable Value /Millage/ Tax Revenues /%
Residential 1,591,539,940/ 3.999/ 6,364,568 /90%
Commercial 170,255,880/ 3.999/ 680,853/ 10%
Industrial 466,380/ 3.999 /1,865 / 0%
Miscellaneous 4,740/ 3.999 /19/ 0%
Total Real Property -Taxable Value 1,762,266,940/ Tax Revenues 7,047,305
Personal Property 10,867,154/ 3.999/ 43,458 / 1%
Total Taxable Value 1,773,134,094/ Tax Revenues 7,090,763

Doug Haag
Acting Finance Director
Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea
4501 Ocean Drive
Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, FL 33308″

………..

BC-The millage should be voted on to retain the 3.999…. as desired by Vice Mayor Dodd,Commissioner Sasser and Commissioner Clottey… The question will be if Commissioner Vincent and the Mayor will join them in voting to retain the rate….

b. RESOLUTION 2010-30 – Adopting the Final Budget: A RESOLUTION OF THE TOWN COMMISSION OF THE TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA, FLORIDA, ADOPTING A FINAL TOWN BUDGET FOR THE 2010/2011 FISCAL YEAR; PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE (Interim Town Manager Connie Hoffmann).

BC- Below you will find an overview along with some points of interest to this writer and commentary … First, let me get out of the way that I was looking forward to revised justification sheets…The justification sheets allow us to see what each dept. asks for and receives to run in the fiscal year… It was where this writer could see in the past what seemed out of whack and would be funds available for the Administration to use as they desired in the last 3 months of the fiscal year as unencumbered funds…(Budgets are to 95%)… I am hopeful the revision will be forthcoming ….and archived online …I have made a PRR for the revised version…

In an opening statement found in the backup on the Town’s website …(link below) the Int. TM states the following …General Fund proposed rate is $10,132,502 and reflects the current millage rate 3.9990..A $1,737,408 or, 15% less than last year’s adopted budget of $11,869,910…Ms. Hoffmann states “The final budget reflects the changes proposed at the last meeting plus some additional changes to correctly allocate group insurance costs, other insurance (auto, property, liability and workers compensation) and adjustments upward and downward in various accounts based on current year income and expenses.” …She went on to state “I had mentioned to the Commission in the budget message in July that I wanted to analyze and correct salary inequities that exist among Town staff and I have provided that in various department’s salary accounts. I was able to address those issues without any impact on the tax rate.”

BC- The goal was for the Int. TM to do what was needed as long as the bottom line did grow in the process… This writer has a 2006/2007 LBTS pay grade that was distributed but no updated paperwork and I have made a PRR for the 2010 version and the salary increases for employees as mentioned above… The reference to proposed changes is an interesting one that I hope was found in one-on-one meetings with the Commission due to the Comm. not returning to the CIP direction to the TM at the last Roundtable …(prev. post)…

The VFD Budget/ FIRE FUND… (the Fire Fund is a new fund)…The TM with the new leadership of the VFD came to terms on lowering its operating budget to $725,580.04 and taking the additional funds of $187,314.28 to be placed in a fire apparatus/equipment reserve held by the Town… The VFD says it needs to replace one of the ATVs (purchased in 2008) for $14,000 and it will be undercoated…Readers may remember when this came up before and VM Dodd inquired the cost difference to undercoat…the warranty…and the difference in the life of the ATV…Fort Lauderdale had purchased theirs with the undercoating…No reply was received on doing that comparison and the results as far as we are aware of……Of course taxpayers also want to know how an ATV not used 7 days a week is a loss in 2+ years time…The TM states she met with VFD officials to draft amendments to the contract including budget , apparatus reserves, purchases from that reserve and other issues…The TAtty. will review the language and the VFD membership will need to vote on it…

TM Hoffmann states under the CIP “We  have incorporated the CIP plan we presented to you last week into the final budget with a few minor changes. Some of the design money for El Mar and A1A projects have already been expended in the current year, so we reduced the budget for those projects by those amounts. And we did not take out the projected $100,000 saving from the A1A project that will result from removing the Sea Ranch Lakes portion, because the original budget never had any funds in for project management and it is safer to see how the bids come in on the project before reducing the budget for the project.”

BC- Previously posted was the reason for the SRLakes removal…it’s their property and they did not want the A1A improvements on the west side in front of their subdivision …and would not pay for any improvements …The Comm. directed the Town to not do that portion..and a savings was to be $103,000 gross …from the project…Now the Administration has found yet another gap in the A1A project with no funds for project management…What does that mean?… Who benefits from “project management” …to the tune of up to $100,000…. Please don’t say PBS&J/ O’Campo/ Chen & Assoc. or Walter Keller …and Please, please …don’t say “Change orders”…GULP!….

Summary…”The total Town budget is $15,187,366 as compared to last years budget of $15,502,557, a decrease of $315,191 or, 2%.

Fund/ FY 2009-20010/FY 2010-2011/ Increase (Decrease)

General /$11,869,910/$10,132,502/ ($1,737,408)

Police/ 151,821/37,000/(114,821)

Sewer 1,224,399/1,370,748/146,349

Fire/ o/1,058,748/146,349

Capital Project/ 1,686,862/1,814,725/127,863

Parking/ 569,565/774,140/204,575

Total/ $15,502,557/ %15,187,366/ ($ 315,191)

Attached were the line by line item for all funds… Excerpts below..full backup on Town website…link below…

VFD Budget Proposal…The leadership positions… 1P/T Admin Chief @ 1,742 per mo. or  per year 20,904.00/1 position yearly Chief Asst. 34,320.00/Fire Admin. yrly pay 36,400/ Incentive pay for Tech hrs. a total yrly $66,330.00/Truck repair total yrly $45,000/ full time fire inspector yrly 54,031.75…Office/Station was “projected per town manager”…yrly total 54,300.00 (the town is now doing the fire inspection billing)…

BC- no mention of the new Chief’s positions…Is he the VFD Chief/ Fire Marshall…or VFD Chief/ Fire Inspector..or all three?…And receiving what salary?.. From looking at the past VFD income/expense reports done quarterly…much of what is MIA is due to the change in leadership as well as oversight from the new Int. TM …the perks that were so apparent are gone and should remain so …..The oversight of the VFD must be ongoing with this new Administration…keep holding them accountable to the taxpayers…

In the Gen Fund Revenues … there is an 8.41% decrease in the ad valorem property taxes…FPL utility tax is up 6.78% /gas utility is down 1.54%/water is up 12.42% (Readers will remember the Town is looking into the water situation)…total utility revenue increase 8.14%… Franchise Taxes …FPL -4.67%/Waste -39.76%/Gas -24.68%/Towing 133.73% Total franchise tax revenues -10.36%… Licenses and permits Occ. licenses 23.58%/building permits -7.70%/ Fire Review Fees -33.86%/ zoning and signs 0% change Total 0.09%…Intergovernmental …BCC-Senior Center Grant 20..33%/BCC-Transportation Grant (Hopper) 0.55%…Charges for services …Tennis -shuffle key 13.73%…Answer to the Tennis question…revenue expected $7,000 up from 6,155 …Is that enough to spend $80,000 on new lights?…For Gen Fund Expenditures…The Commission salaries remain the same…the insurance is 12,486 …an increase of 3.71%…As far as we know only Comm. Clottey takes ins…Mayor Minnet gets hers through the Town but pays it all..the other Comm. do not take it and VM Dodd gets his from Hillsboro….Also there is no cell phone under Comm. expenditures…Did Comm. Clottey forgo hers and join the other Comms. who do not take cellphone allowance?…The Chamber is showing a 8.00% increase…and the final decision needs to be made on the funding and/or the advertising…The Chamber submitted an advertising report to the Town/Commission .. fleshing out its monthly payouts to Google/Facebook/Orbitz-Expedia/Trip Advisor/per month in Europe/Canada/USA…to total the 11,500 they are asking for…Will it fly?… Not sure…This writer believes the Town needs to appoint a committee on business development and have a member from the Chamber at the table…Town Atty….costs have decreased a total of 15.43%… BJHarris is down 60.00%…and gone is the prev. “other-issues” category…What is not yet known is any contractual agreement to be retained at a rate rather than hourly…We were told the TAtty. received a 5% increase last year…HUH?…..Regular salaries have increased by $110,000 due to the Asst. TM being moved into this department and other salary changes stated above… Increases in group ins. 104.36% retirement 298.49%/unemployment compensation 26.92% need to be explained as well…on Mon. evening…(on the agenda for Mon. night Comm. Mtg.) … This writer still thinks it is time for government workers to pay more into health insurance..just like the rest of us…

Development services had a drop in its salaries of 7.72%…as well as Group ins.-29.66%…Looks like a portion of Legal “issues -other” popped up in this department in a $400 hundred dollar increase…The salaries in Public Works and Community Standard (still hate that “catch-all dept.”)….went down as changes were made in relocating positions we presume…same goes for the ins./retirement with costs both increased and decreased….LETF still needs to be discussed…concerning what if any funds will be returned to the BSO…(prev. posts)…Sewer System Revenues ….Appropriated Fund Bal. 416,448/sewer fees 950,000…Expenditures total sanitary 1,320,748 a 10.12% increase …add in emerg. sewer replacement total 1,370,748…Fire Dept…discussed above total 1,058.251…The sewers still need to be addressed big time… and will be no doubt..it’s a hot-button topic in both sides of town…

Cap Projects… Revenues Approp. Fund Bal.53,325/from El Mar Reserve 83,000/A1A Enhancement Grant 505,400/ Misc. Revs 24,000 …Interfund transfers from Gen Fund 1,150,000 Total Revs. 1,814,725…Expenditures…Gen Dept. -Master Plan 50,000/depreciation 237,325/Neighborhood Imp 30,000A1A Streetscape 684,900/Parking System Imp. 25,000/Flamingo Ave  design-permis 36,000 & cap outlay imp. 275,000/Downtown Core design/permit 106,000…no cap outlay imp….BC- Comm. needs to reconsider this one…should be a 2-step process…take care of Lake Colon ASAP!… West Tradewinds design/permit 37,500/cap outlay imp. 215,000 …Harbor Dr. design/permit 26,000 no cap outlay imp/Terra Mar Dr. cap outlay imp 25,000…traffic imp. & calming 15,000….Fish-Reef Habitat cap outlay 27,000….El Mar Streetscape design/permits 25,000 ….The CIP projects need some attention…and as far as this writer is concerned…I do not want the status quo with the contractors we have…O’Campo/Chen etc… RFPs need to go out…Same goes for consultants …we need to be careful on overuse…and going in the wrong direction…

Parking Fund Revenues…572,951 an increase of 35.56%/ fines 165,000 or 32.85% increase….Expenditures…607,066 or 50.29% increase for total parking operations…Funds going into Gen Fund 167,075… Parking is on the Tues. night agenda (Comm. Sasser) to go to P & Z…I believe given the correct direction from the dais…the P & Z could go through the code…work with the businesses and come up with new codes…perhaps even no codes for required number of spaces to open a business in this town…

Lastly… this is the Final Budget meeting…it’s been delayed an hour to 6 pm…after previous years when constituents complained people that worked could not participate when it was held at 5:01 pm…Anyone who does not come and speak up  …or has not contacted a Commissioner(s) with their input or concerns ….in this writer’s opinion….has no right to bitch after all is said and done and the votes are taken.. Simple as that… This Commission/Administration has been the most transparent (sans the revised justification sheets) I have witnessed since I started watching the budgets six  years ago ….with later meeting times….more backup archived online…updates on the budget at workshops and Commission meetings …and always leaving the door in Town Hall open for Commissioners and taxpayers alike to ask for and receive any and all information they require…

Yep, in 2010 there is no “Trojan Horse” inside the LBTS Town limits…

6 pm meeting will be open to the public…public comment is allowed ….Live on Comcast channel 78/ live-stream on Town website … http://lbts.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=2 … and then archived …

Link to backup for all budgets as well…. http://www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov/

more to come…

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … Black Cat Sleeping On The Lauderdale-By-The-Sea FY 2010/2011 Budget … Is It A Sign? …

September 26, 2010 by Barbara

DOLCE WARMING UP TO THE NEW BUDGET ? ….

Dear Readers …Vice Mayor Dodd’s cat Dolce (yes for Dolce and Gabbana… http://www.dolcegabbana.com/ …) decided the Town laptop was the place to nap…Is it a sign of a budget that he’s warming up to?…. Will it be too rich for non-designer aficionados?….

In any event.. while the VM is having at it…with the final budget this Sunday morn…This writer, after taking a quick look-see at what was in the backup on the Town website … (link below) …will heed Dolces’ warning and head off for the last Cubs game of the season …now that Lilly’s mom returned from Scotland last night…with a new scarf for her mom… Perfect timing…

The chill of sitting outside in the less than 60 degree climes in layered clothing will allow me time to clear my head and settle down to the details upon returning afterward….to post late tonight …

MIA though..are the justification sheets that were to be revised we were informed by the PIO and put on as requested…A loss for seeing what each department will receive… This budget was full of twists and turns due to the ongoing mess the new Int. TM & Int. Asst. TM /Acting Finance Director keep uncovering …leaving them with no choice but to revise the budget to give the Commission the 3.999 millage desired…

As previously posted the latest big hit was in the Sept. 28, 2010 TM Report backup ….

“Current Payroll Budget”

The payroll projections we have been working with in the current year assumed 26 payrolls, as one would expect. But as we’ve been refining our projections in the last few weeks i became clear that payroll in the current fiscal year would exceed the budget. We have discovered that the Town did not accrue the last payroll of FY 2008/2009 and that payroll was accounted for 100% in this fiscal year; none of it was allocated to the appropriate fiscal year. This is NOT generally accepted accounting practice. We are very surprised that the auditors did not note this in their management letter.

We obviously cannot go back and adjust the prior fiscal year to correct this issue. The result is that we will have to account for 27 payrolls in the current fiscal year, an extra cost of approximately $80,000.

We believe we should get this straightened may have to walk on to the September 27th agenda an item to appropriate funds to cover these expenses from fund balances. We are analyzing whether funds can be transferred administratively within budgets to cover these expenses. In some cases there may not be sufficient funds and we will have to have you appropriate funds before the fiscal year ends.”

So this will be an interesting dilemma come Mon. evening at the 6 pm final adoption of the millage/budget….The last time we talked about the millage the amount needed to be found was approx. $153,000 ….and now we are $80,000 down due to inept accounting practices….OUCH!…

Backups to all the budgets…on Town website under meetings…link to Town website… http://www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov/

With that….batter up….and of course…

more to come….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … Three “Bags” Waiting To Be Filled …

September 25, 2010 by Barbara

KNOCKIN’ ON OUR DOOR AND LOOKIN’ FOR SOME LOOT …. TRICK….OR …..TREAT ….

Dear Readers … Three former LBTS Town employees have made it known they were not going to leave quietly into the night with or without costumes ….. A “Labor Update”  was sent by TAtty. Trevarthen to inform the Commission of where the Town is at this point in dealing with the three former employees who want LBTS to show them the money that they believe they are entitled to…still….

Former HR Manager Kathy O’Brien who was terminated filed a discrimination claim with the EEOC. It was dismissed by the EEOC, because they found no basis for concluding that any statutes were violated in her dismissal….No word on what the claim states the discrimination was for….

Kaola King, the former Finance Director who abruptly resigned appealed the denial of her unemployment benefits related to her resignation. That appeal was denied. She also filed a charge of discrimination with the Broward County Civil Rights Division, which is pending…..

Ms. King had some back and forth with the Town Manager and the Town Atty. handling these cases, Brett Schneider … Below are some of those exchanges …(all e-mails are public record) …. (When reading the e-mails below start from the bottom and scroll up )…. The crux of her argument is the Town’s Personal Policy Manual (which needs updating asap!) ….. she states it requires her to receive her accrued vacation leave… The Town thinks otherwise due to her leaving NOT in good standing…but, nevertheless offered her the accrued Vacation leave in a Separation Agreement and General Release much like the one her former boss, Town Manager Esther Colon signed not to file further claims against the Town … She chose not to sign and filed claims…

Ms. King stated in a letter to TAtty. Schneider dated Aug. 15, 2010 after citing the Personal Policy Manual pgs. 13 & 14 (prev. post)…

“Upon termination of employment for any reason, the employee shall be paid all accrued vacation due for the year to date. All employees who can qualify may accrue 30 days/240 hours of earned vacation.” …She went on to say therefore she had no need to sign a Severance Agreement …stating it had been done for all past employees … (BC-not sure that she is correct) … She ended with this “And, due to the nature of my constructive dismissal (forced resignation), not paying my vacation in a timely manner and demanding a Severance Agreement to be signed for what is rightly mine, is clearly another factor of discrimination.”… (BC-Again, see the e-mail correspondence for more info below)….

After the Aug. 15th letter there is an August 24, 2010  letter to Kathy Aldridge Agency for Workforce Innovation Unemployment Compensation Appeals in Tallahassee from TAtty. Brett Schneider concerning Kaola King v. Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Docket No. 2010-99830U …He wrote …”Please allow this correspondence to serve as our Notice of Appearance on behalf of Employer.”…He went on to tell her to contact the firm “directly on all future correspondence, notices and other documents regarding this matter.”…He sent her documents “that will be utilized and relied upon by the Employer at the upcoming unemployment compensation telephone hearing scheduled for August 26, 2010 at 9:00 am….”…Those documents were “Memorandum of appreciation to claimant dated June 28,2010 from Connie Hoffmann, Interim Town Manager/Claimant’s resignation letter dated July 6, 2010…

“June 28, 2010

To: Kaola King , Finance Director

From: Connie Hoffmann, Interim Town Manager

Re: Appreciation for Assistance

Kaola,

I want to express my appreciation to you for stepping in and handling the payroll functions since early May and for teaching Marta Isla how to input payroll these past few weeks. I also want to thank you for researching and processing various insurance updates and premiums. I recognize the past two months have been a difficult time and thank you for your willingness to assume responsibility of the duties of the HR Manager during this time of transition.”

……………..

“July 6, 2010

Effective immediately, I, Kaola King, am resigning as the Director of Finance and Budget of Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea for this opportunity.

Sincerely,

Kaola King”

…………..

BC- Again, the letter above from TAtty. Trevarthen states while that appeal was denied …Ms. King also filed a charge of discrimination with the Broward County Civil Rights Division, which is pending….and that is referenced in the e-mail correspondence below from the Town Manager…with an offer to  Ms. King …”If you wish to reconsider the offer we made to you earlier and that you rejected, please advise us. But our position that you are not legally entitled to further compensation is not something that we wish to continue to debate with you.” …That amount is “approximately $5,740 (143.7 hrs @ $39.95)”according to the e-mail from Ms. King below…

We taxpayers of LBTS have been informed of glaring problems found by the new Town Manager and her Acting Finance Director Doug Haag… It seems each week after the termination of former Town Manager Colon (previously the Finance Director)/ Asst. TM-Acting TM John Olinzock/ HR Manager Kathy O’Brien and the resignation of Finance Dir. King something else has come to light…questionable practices..inept practices …non- interest bearing accounts…and accounting practices that we are told are not generally accepted or antiquated … We are tied into a 3 year term with SunTrust Bank …(prev. post) … and now this one… this writer just found in the the Town Manager Report for the Sept. 28, 2010 Comm.Mtg. (backup online Town website)…

“Current Payroll Budget”

The payroll projections we have been working with in the current year assumed 26 payrolls, as one would expect. But as we’ve been refining our projections in the last few weeks i became clear that payroll in the current fiscal year would exceed the budget. We have discovered that the Town did not accrue the last payroll of FY 2008/2009 and that payroll was accounted for 100% in this fiscal year; none of it was allocated to the appropriate fiscal year. This is NOT generally accepted accounting practice. We are very surprised that the auditors did not note this in their management letter.

We obviously cannot go back and adjust the prior fiscal year to correct this issue. The result is that we will have to account for 27 payrolls in the current fiscal year, an extra cost of approximately $80,000.

We believe we should get this straightened may have to walk on to the September 27th agenda an item to appropriate funds to cover these expenses from fund balances. We are analyzing whether funds can be transferred administratively within budgets to cover these expenses. In some cases there may not be sufficient funds and we will have to have you appropriate funds before the fiscal year ends.”

BC- Readers will remember we chose not to stay with the former TM’s long-term auditors …… Good thing… No doubt more bad financial news is coming …next week…the way it’s been going…

……………..

THE E-MAILS …

From: kthk
Sent: Tue 9/21/2010 9:31 PM
To: Connie Hoffmann
Cc: Roseann Minnet; Stuart Dodd; Birute Ann Clottey; Chris Vincent; Scot Sasser
Subject: Re: LBTS — Severance Agreement
Hello Connie,

It is unfortunate that you, the Town and Brett Schneider still stand by your position that I am not entitled to my annual payout by stating I did not resign nor did I leave in good standing. I have attached my “separation” letter and your “appreciation for assistance” letter which these documents dispute you and Brett Schneider’s reasoning to why I am not entitled. Please note, that these are the exact documents Brett Schneider submitted to Unemployment Compensation. It deeply concerns me that Brett Schneider contacted me proposing an annual payout given I sign a Separation Agreement and General Release (not a settlement and release). Why did you and Brett Schneider feel the need to contact me with such a proposal if you strongly believed I was not legally entitled?

Referencing your reply below, It’s unfortunately that what you are stating below is misleading to the Town. As you stated below, you are not disputing my separation but constructive discharge. If you are no longer disputing my separation, I should be expecting my annual payout. You and Brett had no idea about the constructive discharge because it was not filed when Brett Schneider contacted me on July 16, 2010 (a week after my separation) with the ultimatum. This is a direct indication that you and Brett must have known about how I was constructively discharge and wanted to cover it up with a Separation Agreement and General Release before it became an issue. How can you withhold what’s entitled to me (my annual payout) in lieu of signing a Separation Agreement and General Release? Is that legally, ethically, morally and discriminately wrong?

When Brett Schneider contacted me on July 16, 2010, I had no idea there would a problem with my annual payout nor would it come to this. I had no expectation for my sick payout. As stated below, since my separation is no longer the dispute, what is the delay with processing my annual payout?

I am sure you and Brett Schneider are intelligent enough to know that by withholding former employee’s payout, that incurring additional attorney fees would be the choice of the employer and not the former employee as stated. Anytime an employer withhold an employee funds, legal actions are likely to occur.

Regardless of the separation or WHATEVER form of discharge/termination of former employees of the Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, ALL employees received at least their annual payout. It is the policy and procedure and past history practice of the Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea . Why I have to fight for what I am entitled and why are my funds being withheld is a matter of legal concern.

Kaola King

—–Original Message—–
From: Connie Hoffmann
To: kthk
Cc: Brett J. Schneider
Sent: Tue, Sep 21, 2010 5:40 pm
Subject: RE: LBTS — Severance Agreement
Hello, Kaola. I hope you are well.

In response to your inquiry below, it is my understanding that Brett Schneider explained to you in a telephone conversation back in July (and in the July 16, 2010 email to you that is part of this email chain) that it is the Town’s position that you are not legally entitled to any payouts for your sick or vacation leave because you resigned without notice and, therefore, left the Town’s employ not in good standing. Contrary to what you have suggested in your email, we do not dispute that you resigned from your position. What Brett and I have both disputed is that you were constructively discharged from your position as you have alleged in several documents you have filed with other agencies.

As far as incurring attorney’s costs, it was my desire to avoid such costs for the Town and that is why we offered to enter into a settlement and release agreement with you. In that July conversation, Brett indicates he advised you that the Town would be willing to pay you for your accumulated vacation leave if you would sign a settlement and release agreement not to pursue any further claims against the Town. He followed that offer up in writing. But you rejected that offer and your subsequent actions have caused us to incur additional attorney’s fees. It makes little sense for the Town to make a payment to you that we do not think you are legally entitled to and still leave ourselves open to further claims from you and have to expend further time, effort and attorney fees to dispute your claims.

In summary, the Town has already conveyed to you via our attorney that we do not agree with your position that you are owed any further compensation. If you wish to reconsider the offer we made to you earlier and that you rejected, please advise us. But our position that you are not legally entitled to further compensation is not something that we wish to continue to debate with you.

Connie Hoffmann

From: kthk
Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 10:08 AM
To: Marta Isla
Cc: Connie Hoffmann
Subject: Fwd: LBTS — Severance Agreement

Please see below

—–Original Message—–
From: kthk
To: martia@lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov; connieh@lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov
Cc: roseannminnet@lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov; stuartdodd@lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov; biruteannclottey@lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov; scotsasser@lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov; chrisvincent@lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov
Sent: Tue, Sep 21, 2010 10:02 am
Subject: Fwd: LBTS — Severance Agreement
Hello Connie,

Congratulations on your appointment of Town Manager.

I have attached my response letter to Brett Schneider of Weiss, a copy of the personnel manual of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea and the Final Severance Agreement proposed from Brett Schneider of Weiss and the Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea.

To date, I have not received my final annual payout nor have I received a response from you nor Brett Schnieder of Weiss. I am entitled to my annual payout according to the Town policy and I do not need to sign a Severance Agreement. According to Town policies, the Town should have issued my annual payout the following payroll. It is now going on three months. Brett Schneider of Weiss stated below, that I am not entitled since I did not resign, which you and he know I did. Why did you want me to sign a Severance Agreement and then provide me my annual payout if I am not entitled? Would this be a violation to the Town? Would this be a violation of Ethics?
Per stated below in Brett Schneider’s email, my annual payout is approximately $5,740 (143.7 hrs @ $39.95), I am sure the Town has already spent in excess in Attorney fees to fight what is legally entitled to me. Since this is becoming a legal matter, it is going to cost the Town more in legal fees and unnecessary negative publicity than to provide my annual payout without strings attached (Severance Agreement).

I look forward to your prompt response.

Thanks,

Kaola King

—–Original Message—–
From: kthk
To: BSchneider
Sent: Sun, Aug 15, 2010 10:32 pm
Subject: Re: LBTS — Severance Agreement
Brett,

Please see attached my letter responding to the Severance Agreement and Personnel Manual pages 13 and 14.

Thanks,

Kaola King

—–Original Message—–
From: Brett J. Schneider
To: kthk
Cc: Brett J. Schneider
Sent: Fri, Jul 16, 2010 9:59 am
Subject: LBTS — Severance Agreement
Kaola:

As you requested, attached is a draft Severance Agreement and waiver of claims against the Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. As we discussed, although the Town is not obligated to provide you with a payout of your accrued vacation leave because, among other things, you resigned from your Town employment without notice, the Town will provide you with a payout of such leave (minus all appropriate tax withholdings) if you execute the attached Agreement.

Please note that for purposes of your payout under this Agreement, the Town has given you credit for vacation accrual through the current pay period. Thus, this Agreement reflects a payout of 143.7 hours of accrued vacation at the rate of $39.95/hour.

If you have any questions regarding the attached Agreement, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Brett Schneider

Brett J. Schneider, Esq.
Partner

Weiss Serota Helfman Pastoriza Cole & Boniske, P.L.
200 East Broward Blvd., Suite 1900
Fort Lauderdale

………………

BC-John Olinzock …has sent letters (prev. posts) to request the Commission to change their vote for his termination with cause to be without cause in order to receive compensation… The Town Manager has informed him the Commission was advised by the Town’s law firm they could vote to do so in the aftermath of the Esther Colon payout (prev. posts) that ended up with Ms. Colon being overpaid and incurring legal fees to rectify the situation as well as a Settlement Agreement and General Release (prev. post) leaving the Town unable to go after the former Town Manager for any wrongdoing she might have done in her time employed by the Town…One caveat to the Agreement/Release we are told is she could always be brought in to testify on any other wrongdoing by an employee and be held in contempt if she is not forthcoming or worse if she found untruthful… The chances of this coming to fruition are slim to none though in this writer’s opinion… sad to say… Mr Olinzock contends still that the Commissioners “polled” him in each directing him to stop the check from going out for Ms. Colon and states he believes due to Sunshine a special meeting was required… Hmmm… How is direction from 4 or 5 Comms. polling or a Sunshine violation when none knew what the others were doing?… Also, unfortunately for JohnO …in this writer’s opinion was the inclusion of the Town Attys. repeatedly asking for information (prev. posts) and stating the direction from the Commission required them to see the numbers before the payment was made….and the fact that it turned out …Esther Colon was….as the Comm/TAtty’s feared overpaid…OOPS!…Now he has hired an attorney…George Castrataro, who sent the Town a demand letter on behalf of John Olinzock….The letter was sent on Sept. 9, 2010 …It states based on their “preliminary investigation”…”it is their opinion that the Town has violated numerous State and Federal laws, has unlawfully retaliated against Mr. Olinzock, and has terminated his employment in violation of public policy.”…It goes on to address the April 20, 2010 Special Meeting …Colon’s termination… Unfortunately the facts are off  with the following statement “This meeting occurred only one month after the Town voted 5-0; in the affirmative; a vote of confidence regarding the performance of the Town Manager…The vote of confidence was made long before the election ….There would be no way Ms. Colon would receive such a vote in March of 2010…OOPS!…. It goes on to state no resolution was passed for Mr. Olinzock becoming Acting TM…That is because it was known to all he was put in that roll as a “gap stop” to hiring an Int. TM… Then comes the portion where they disagree with the TAtty. on the Comm. being able to terminate him due to his status not changing (Asst. TM?)… It states  the to be expected laundry list of sufferings affecting not only Olinzock but his family as a result …and that they “are confident he should prevail on his claims” and “may be entitled to awards of economic damages, emotional distress damages, punitive damages and attorney’s fees.”… After that it continues with wrongful termination in violation of public policy …Fl. Statute 112.3187 …dealing with suffering adverse employment consequences including but limited to retaliation, lack of promotion, negative reports and documentation against him in his employment file, discrimination, lack of employment benefits and employment opportunities, loss of paid leave, and dismissal; due to his disapproval of the Town’s failure to adhere to adhere to its own rules, regulations and policies….Collateral Tort Claims and an offer to compromise…Mr. Olionzock wants an expedient resolution of this demand… including  “properly document the nature of the separation in his personnel file/ provide severance equal to 8 months of pay , including costs of benefits /provide compensation for annual leave, and sick leave, as has been provided for in the Town Personnel Policy Manual ….”It gave the town until Sept. 18, 2010 to respond…

The Town responded on Sept. 21, 2010 … TAtty.Schneider reiterated the claim concerning Olinzock’s April 26, 2010 termination and stated “As set forth below, the Town categorically denies your allegations and states that the Town’s actions in terminating Mr. Olinzock were not only legal, but were necessary given Mr. Olinzock’s actions as Acting Town Manager…..They reviewed the correspondence and had phone call with Olinzock’s Atty. and our TAtty. Brett Schneider further stated “it is clear that Mr. Olinzock refuses to accept responsibility for the actions that he took with regard to Town Manager Esther Colon’s severance and leave payments, which actions ultimately gave rise to Mr. Olinzock’s for cause termination….He went over the history of the April 16, 2010 workshop to discuss the former TM…the April 20, 2010 special mtg….the April 21, 2010 attempts he (TAtty. Schneider) made to former HR Mgr. O’Brien….and the numerous attempts he , TAtty. Trevarthen and the Comm. made to Mr. Olinzock (prev. posts)…He further added the investigation done by Int. TM Hoffmann concerning the payout …the findings and the Commission’s vote to terminate Olinzock “with cause” based on those findings… Mr. Schneider ended with stating In light of the foregoing, it is abundantly clear that the Town Commission’s decisions to terminate Mr. Olinzock on April 26, 2010 and later to amend the grounds for his termination on June 8, 2010 were entirely appropriate and necessitated by Mr. Olinzock’s own actions or lack thereof. As such, there is simply no credible basis for any claim by Mr. Olinzock against the Town. Please be advised that the Town will vigorously defend itself against any such claim and will seek to recover its attorneys’ fees and costs from Mr. Olinzock personally should he bring such a baseless action against the Town. Please govern yourself accordingly.”

According to the TAtty ….Mr. Olinzock has not filed any claims against the Town to date….

BC- as stated above…as the mess left in the aftermath of the Colon/Olinzock/ King/O’Brien Administration continues to unfold and grow in number….it only strengthens the the Town’s position …in this writer’s opinion….

more to come….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … Tricks Or Treats … Part 1 … New Titles/ New Terms/ New Correspondence For The Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Artificial Reef Project ….

September 24, 2010 by Barbara

FALL IS UPON US  …..

Dear Readers … the BCbythesea daughter is in Scotland doing research this week so baby duty has increased…thus no post yesterday… Here are some Fall updates as much is still happening behind the scenes in Town…and it will be posted as time allows…

First the BTSFuture monthly edition will be out today …look for yours…. A look on the Town website shows this … Town Clerk: June White, CMC…Town Clerk White is now a Certified Municipal Clerk… (This writer’s opinion…she’s still gotta go!) …. Later today the final budget /and hopefully the justification sheets will be posted on the Town website for the final budget meeting Mon. 9/27/10 at 6pm…They will show a 3.999 millage as promised by the this Comm. and kept… Also online will be the backup for the Tues. 9/28/10 7pm Reg. Comm. meeting…

The Commissioners as stated at the Roundtable Mon. night have all gone over the Town Manager’s contract to approve on the 28th and that too will be online …This time around the Comm. can assure their constituents a TM contract that has been seen and discussed…is transparent to all …no surprises …no fibs about the content or knowing /not knowing what is in it … Readers will be pleased…There is a term…3 years/ a salary of $160,000 …less than former TM Colon …less in benefits/pensions …no car/cell allowance… caps on leave accruals ….no sick leave accrual upon leaving …as well as a yearly performance review remaining in place and it will be adhered to… I am told just as we have seen since she walked through the door…Ms. Hoffmann has been a breath of fresh air during this process!…. Change is good!… Kudos to TM Hoffmann ….Mayor Minnet and the Commission for getting it right after we, the taxpayers…constituents had it so wrong with her predecessor… (prev. posts)…

The Int. Finance Director had some more bad news left over from the Colon-led Administration and out funds… At the last Comm. Mtg. he was asked about the term with SunTrust after he discussed the multiple funds that were in non-interest bearing accounts… He stated he though we had a year term… We have 3 years!…

……………
From: Finance Director
Sent: Thu 9/16/2010 1:08 PM
To: Roseann Minnet; Chris Vincent; Stuart Dodd; Birute Ann Clottey; Scot Sasser
Cc: Connie Hoffmann
Subject: SunTrust Bank Agreement
I need to correct my answer to last night’s question about the SunTrust agreement. After checking, it turns out that it is a 3 year agreement, effective September 1, 2009 and terminates 8/31/12. I’ve forwarded a copy to the town attorney to review our options and penalties if we decide to make a change sooner. I apologize for the misinformation. Please call, write or stop by if you have any questions.

Thanks again,

Doug Haag
Acting Finance Director
Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea
4501 Ocean Drive
Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, FL 33308

…………….

The update on the Artificial Reef Project …  The Tatty. sent the letter she was directed by a 3-2 vote (Clottey/Vincent voted no) to sent to Dr. Goreau about the contract and the project …. She sent it on Sept. 17, 2010 and state the following…

“Dear Dr. Goreau:

Please refer to the Town’s letter dated September 1, 2010, formally advising you of your default in the above-defined Agreement and indicating the cure period of 20 days (ending  September 21),. The Town Commission discussed the status of this matter at its meeting on September 15. They indicated their unanimous desire to see this project succeed, developed a plan to sensure that success and directed me to communicate with you.

First, however, it is essential that you not deploy the artificial reef, as those terms are used in paragraph 10 of the Army Corps of Engineers permit, before we have executed an amended Agreement with you. Deployment triggers the 30-day clock on the Town’s obligation to monitor and report to the Corps on the project. The Town is the permit holder on this project but lacks the capacity to carry out that monitoring and reporting with its own staff. If the Town is unable to come to agreement with you, the Town Commission is concerned that it will be unable to comply with the permit requirements within 30 days and will end up in violation permit.

An amended Agreement is necessary to address the above-referenced default and other issues in order to protect the interests of both Global Coral Reef Alliance and the Town. While a drafted amended Agreement has already been shared with you, its terms are negotiable. The Town is of course willing to consider your suggestions, but we need to hear from you to be able to respond to those suggestions.

The Town Commission requests that you respond to this letter within fourteen days, indicating your willingness to proceed with negotiation of an amended Agreement, the Town will work together with you to develop a final draft and execute an amended Agreement within thirty days.

Alternatively, if we do not hear from you within fourteen days, we must insist that all work cease on the project until an amended Agreement is fully executed.

If you wish to pursue an amicable resolution of this matter please communicate with us immediately. Dr Goreau, the Town’s position is clear. We want to work with you to make this project a success. The Town has incurred time, effort, and legal fees in attempting to reach a positive solution, but your response and cooperation is necessary. 1. We look forward to your prompt response.

Sincerely,

Susan L. Trevarthen, Esq.

Town Attorney

1. Last week, we received notice that Cry of the Water intends to proceed with installation on September 24, which is outside of the cure period. In order to protect the Town’s interests, please be aware that applicable law requires both parties to mitigate damages in the event of default. Your performance of the existing Agreement without a revised agreement in place may simply increase your own expenses in this matter, and does not guarantee your receipt of the final payment from the Town.”

………….

Mayor Minnet received a letter from Dr. Goreau’s General Counsel on Sept. 17, 2010 (not sent to the Town Manager) at the Town Hall on the project along with a copy of some limited comments made at the 9/14/10 mtg. underling the portion that they should NOT proceed without the contract being addressed and a “trigger” of the Town’s obligation for monitoring ….

Attached was another big eye-opener …an attachment from 2008 that was not included in previous Town backup on the project for this Commission and never brought forward (to our knowledge) by GCRA or its representatives to this Commission/Administration …It’s part and parcel to this becoming the norm for this new administration to encounter as they figure out our town……They have had an ongoing problem in Town Hall with a lack of files or complete files … This attachment from Dec. 2008 was signed by former Asst. TM Olinzock… The minutes which were on the Town’s website below are also an eye-opener and another reason why newly certified Town Clerk White needs to be replaced asap!… She should have provided this information to the Administration/Commissioners …in their backup when this came on the agenda to deal with this year!…

………

Dear Ms. Minnet :

When cost overruns arose for manufacturing of the 3 solar buoys for the project, we contacted the Town manager who sent us back correspondence stating “I would suggest that you either figure out how to modify the rest of your budget to compensate for the price increase on the buoys and still complete the project as you committed to, or raise additional funding from sources other than the Town to cover the cost overruns.” With the help and generosity of many residents and business owners from Lauderdale-By-The-Sea we raised the necessary additional funds in July of this year, and then built the 2 additional buoys that were needed to complete this project. This was done without any additional cost or overrun to the Town.

6 reef modules and 3 buoys have been completed.

Permit conditions for Pre-Deployment and Cargo Manifests form were submitted by us to FWC and USACOE  on September 7, 2010.

Permit conditions require pre-deployment notification (14 days prior notice) to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA, U.S. Coast Guard, National Marine Fisheries Service and State of Florida FWC. This notice was given by us on September 10, 2010.

The mooring contractor was contacted in August, 2010 with our estimated date to install the project. The mooring contractor advised us that due to the adverse weather conditions and rough seas his schedule was backed up and he would not be able to install the mooring anchors for the project until the last week of September, provided that weather conditions and seas are favorable.

The action that the Commission voted on and approved at the September 14, 2010 Town meeting ( a copy of which is attached hereto) stops us from taking steps to further complete the project, as permits for the project were issued based upon the Town’s representations that it would ensure proper maintenance of the project ( see attached copy of the Town’s December 2, 2008 correspondence). The Town provided assurances through the permitting process that would ensure project maintenance. Since the Town has rescinded and cancelled this commitment by means of  its September 14 actions, we cannot proceed with out plans to place the project in the water at the end of the  month.

We remain committed to placement of the project in the water, but this will require that the Town pass resolutions cancelling its September 14,2010 actions, and that it re-affirm to the permitting agencies its prior commitments.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. My telephone number is (xxx) xxx-xxxx and my email address isxxxxx

Very truly yours,

Global Reef Alliance

Richard C Ruschman, General Counsel”

cc: Thomas Goreau

Dan and Stephanie Clark”

…………….

The portion of the 9/14/ 10 meeting GCRA Counsel included was the portion when Comm. Sasser asked for the letter to be sent concerning a new contract …… Counsel underlined this portion ….”GCRA should not proceed to take the final step that would trigger the Town’s obligation to monitor and maintain this project” …Again. what follows below was not included in the backup …. and never brought forward prior to this in the time (weeks) that Dr. Goreau was out of communication with the Town…(pleading he had no cell phone and was “in the field” in and out of the country )…or his local cadre of associates who were going ahead with the project and donation collections and did communicate with several Commissioners….on what the problems were with the funds…weather and the buoys…(prev. posts)…

……..

02 December 2008

Ms Jocelyn Karazsia

United States Department of Commerce

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

400 North Congress Avenue, Suite 200

West Palm Beach, Fl. 33401

Re: Joint Application for Environmental Resource Permit:

File # 06-0126481-005

Dear Ms Karazsia:

At the 25 November 2008 Town Commission meeting, the Commission approved providing assurance, including financial assurance, for the maintenance and possible removal, of the proposed artificial reef structure, as recommended in the 12 September 2008 correspondence from Miles M. Croom, Habitat Conservative Division.

Please do not hesitate to contact my office should you need additional information or have any questions regarding this project.

Sincerely,

John El Olinzock

Assistant Town Manager

cc: Esther Colon, Town Manager

June White, Town Clerk

Dan Clark, Cry of the Water”

Attachments

Town Commission Agenda Item 15E

12 September 2008 NOAA Correspondence”

…………….

OLD BUS. ITEM 15 E….
“Town Commission Meeting
November 25, 2008

e. Discussion and/or Action regarding
1. Provide assurance including financial assurance that the artificial
reef structure be maintained throughout its design life, and removal
of in a timely manner because of adverse effect on essential fish
habitat to NOAA National Marine Fisheries.

2. Approval of execution of USCG Private Aids to Navigation
application for Artificial Reef Project.( Assistant Manager
OlinzocklColon)
Manager Colon said that the State required assurances including financial
assurance that the reef structure would be maintained throughout its life
and removed in a timely manner if advised to by the National Marine
Fisheries She requested Commission approval for the execution of the
Private Aids application. Manager Colon advised that the cost to maintain
it was at least $80,000 and more if the structure needed to be removed.
Vice Mayor Mclntee and Commissioner Dodd agreed that money spent
would be worth it and it would not be as costly to remove the reef.
Vice Mayor Mclntee made a motion to move forward with the application
Commissioner Dodd seconded the motion.
Mayor Minnet understood that although she agreed that the Artificial Reef
project was a good project and a small project anything could happen and
the Town needed to be fiscally responsible. Commissioner Clottey thought
the reason for the project was very good and felt the Commission should
go ahead with it.
In a roll call vote the motion carried 5- 0″

…………..

No copy of the Sept. 12, 2008 NOAA Correspondence is shown…no online backup at that time kept or archived online….

…………….

A letter sent by GCRA associate ..Dan Clark sent to stop the permit process after the TAtty. letter was received above…A copy was sent to the Town…

……………

From: Cry of the Water [mailto: reefteam2@yahoo.com ]
Sent: Sunday, September 19, 2010 12:44 PM
To: Jose.J.Rivera@usace.army.mil; linda.C.Knoeck@usace.army.mil; keith.mille@fwc.state.fl.us; Hector.L.Schmidt@uscg.mil; Daniel.Moretz@dep.state.fl.us; jocelyn.karazsia@noaa.gov
Cc: Connie Hoffmann; tom goreau; richard Ruschman
Subject: SAJ-2008-3001 (IP-LCK) update Notification of Planned Start Date

Linda

Please see attached letter from GCRA to the Town of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.

At this time we will not be starting the build of the Lauderdale-by-the-Sea
Biorock Artificial Reef project on the planned date of September 24, 2010.

We will inform you of a new planned start date if and when the Town can re-affirm to the permitting agencies its prior commitments.

We will also notify the agencies of any changes that are needed to the Cargo Manifest and Pre-Deployment form.

Thank you
Dan Clark
Cry of the Water
P.O. Box 8143
Coral Springs, FL 33075
954-753-
www.cryofthewater.org

…………

BC- we have been informed that the counsel for GCRA and our LBTS Town Atty. have been in contact since the exchange…and we now will await what comes next… It is this writer’s opinion a great disservice was done due to the lack of communication on the part of GCRA and its associates in providing what they had in their possession ….as well as by Town staff in providing the new Administration and the Commission all of the relevant backup and history on this project…Hopefully that will be addressed and remedied going forward… on this project and any others we are and are not yet aware of …Unfortunately its a “given” there are more especially after finding scores of such gaps of important information MIA over the last 6 months since the former Administration was ousted!….

More to come….

Post Division
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