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Here’s The Scoop … April 27, 2010 LBTS Commission Meeting …#1 …We Knew It Was Going To Be Different ..

AHHHHH……

Dear Readers… Last night’s meeting was like the windows were opened wide …and the fresh air finally came in ….While there were definitely a few bad “whiffs” from something “stale” and at times pretty “putrid”…it passed by rather quickly with the overriding “breezes” of commonsense and professionalism found on and off the dais with the newly hired Interim Town Manager, Connie Hoffman and Interim Asst. Town Manager Bud Bentley…It seemed to have traveled to the table where the Dept. Heads sat and remained at throughout the meeting rather then hightailing it out of there as they did under the former Town Manager… Hmmm….

First let’s get the negative energy out of the way…We were all taking bets on whether Cristie Furth would clickity clack her way to the podium for public comments and she did not disappoint with her scurrilous attacks and  ridiculous remarks…They were old “Hat” to all of us who have heard this speech umpteenth times before…It was of the same ilk that lost the election big time for her candidates and her CIC PAC … The “deed” had been done she spouted as she dove right into the former Town Manager’s demise…It was at the top of the mandate that came with the landslide victory for the new Commission… A look back at what we uncovered during  the Colon Administration as well as a look at what will be uncovered will show that the former Town Manager did not “play fair” and certainly did “play political games”… For Ms. Furth to bring up “Totalitarianism” was sure a hoot especially with her longtime pal McIntee’s record use of stopping public comments and shutting speakers off …along with his “gang”…The Special Meetings recently held did not require public comment a fact the Town Atty. repeated yet again tonight…The Mayor made it clear at the Special Meeting that the opportunity to speak would be available this evening… As for the “deed” itself …Ms. Furth fell short again on her recall…or she was just full her usual hypo-Crissie…along with “galpal” “Clueless ” Clottey….the CIC had plans to remove the former Administration in place in 2007-2008…To try as she did (and later by Clottey ) to say the money the $296,000.00 + dollars was somehow on the heads of this new Commission and it is they who have impacted the Town with the payout…is pure lunacy! …The contract was signed… sealed and delivered by her “Broom Boys” and kept under wraps by Colon until it was no longer possible to keep it that way… The Town Manager as previously posted, first tried for a 5 years severance upon termination!… On what planet do you come from to think that keeping her with no term would save us money down the line?… She made 160,000.00 + and the new Interim and permanent Town Manager will not come anywhere near that …and will not have the same accrued perks…That alone will be a savings to the taxpayers in 2010!…. To say Ms. Colon was left with no transportation home having to leave her car and keys (Town property) was disingenuous at best…How is it possible that the pay-out was in the works as soon as the meeting for her termination ended at 5:45, but none of her trusty employees were jumping all over each other to provide her a ride…(if she had not planned for the action to be taken)…says it all…doesn’t it?….We hear there was no show of support from the audience after she made these comments …No applause….and this time unlike Monday morning ….there were no applause as Ms. Furth walked out of Jarvis Hall…

Sad to say VFD member and longtime resident Bob Karley stood up at the podium and made even less sense in his comments to the Commission …At least he didn’t talk about the annexation this time…He spoke of getting severance right away being a normal thing ($296,000?) …and ruining her character …of possible lawsuits for addressing her in the aftermath…and then he became in more incoherent when he spoke making some sort of insinuation as to why the new commission “quit the Chamber”or “gave up the telephone”…HUH?… It was sad  to say the least…

Neither one could hold a candle to “Clueless” Clottey though in her Commissioner Comments… She had the audacity to say “accusations” were made to Cristie Furth for her comments…saying there was name calling when there was not…”suppression” …Give me a break…Furth had her say and others who spoke said they disagreed and found her remarks unfounded  …Freedom of speech was seen from the dais unlike in the prior 2 years….Not one Commissioner responded negatively or tried to stop her from having her say…Clottey picked up where she left off when asking the Finance Director about the $300,000 …She actually tried to put forth that “if asked” the former TM would have stuck around for the transition and resigned without her severance (previously she wanted 5 yrs!)… She hit another new low in saying “some Commissioners wanted blood, and they got it” …She said they “appointed someone in haste”…”An example of the Peter Principal”…OUCH!…She actually said that about JohnO!… She called for a forensic audit …saying none of us want a cover-up…She did her gloom and doom over the BSO and higher taxes…Both the new Interim Managers have dealt with BSO …and have a better chance of negotiating than Colon…in this writer’s opinion…As for higher taxes…Clottey was talking higher taxes when Colon looked like she was here to stay!…So much for that late night visit to the closed down Town Hall East…

No matter ….for these momentary lapses were no match for what was seen and heard last evening…It was something we knew was possible… There was no “Aks”…No “As you recall”…No smarmy JohnO responses…Nope…There was a well spoken woman who sat at the end of the dais who when she spoke was actually easy on the ears .. without the condescending manner seen often in her predecessor when Colon was on the dais… It was really something when Finance Director Kaola King came forward during reports and when asked by Commission Sasser for additional information in the monthly budget report to see if we are ahead or behind on expenditures and revenues…with Ms. King responding she would do what he was requesting and asking if he would also like an explanation included!… Town Manager Hoffman added it was “traditional” to present the commission with a midyear analysis of the budget…in May!… Clottey made her remarks about the $300,000 and Ms King and the Town Manager said it would not impact the Town’s budget or Town staff  payroll…VM Dodd asked Ms King if she was ready to take on the budget which would fall on her shoulders this year…Ms. King did not miss a beat when she responded she was comfortable and confident!…Comm. Sasser asked Her about West Park Finance Director being the 3rd member of the Audit Committee for the RFQ…(prev. post)… Ms. King stated she could confirm he was…But it was very disturbing when she added that she knows Mr Wallace was sent FedEx packages with the audit RFQs but was not privy to their return!…HUH?…If you were an Audit Committee wouldn’t you talk?… Wouldn’t she be involved with Mr. Wallace’s choices?.. WOW… Later on when the audit was discussed for an RFP (prev. post)…TM Hoffman actually said the auditor works and answers to the commission not administration!… Ms. Hoffman would probably be flabbergasted if she was to hear about the former TM’s actions in 2008 when she informed that Commission she was extending the auditors….without providing them the backup…and sent a letter to the auditor that the commission approved the $200,000.00 3 yr. contract!… As most of the attendees did in their public comment…the Commission welcomed the new Interim Town Manager after she thanked all for her warm welcome during the Town Manager Report…She spoke of her connection to the Town, with her husband living here while they were dating…She remembered fishing from the Pier and spoke of meeting most of the employees in the last day and a half…Ms. Hoffman introduced her new Asst. Interim Town Manager Bud Bentley (resume’ prev. post ) and spoke highly of him …stating he has a “sterling reputation”… We have heard she kept her word from the meeting the day before and contacted all Commissioners before she hired Mr.Bentley who we hear was in the lobby in Town Hall bright and early this morning…We also hear Ms.Hoffman was in Town Hall late…as well as early this morning…Yep!…. When the ordinance came up for the 24 hr. opening of certain businesses…it was the new TM who said she would research what other cities have done and bring the information to the P&Z Board to assist!…WOW!… We actually had a Resolution for the employment of the Interim Town Manager…something that was not done for Esther Colon… It passed 5-0…The warehouse was finally discussed (it had been deferred from the last Commission meeting)…and after Comm. Vincent spoke about the lack of backup he requested being provided by the staff…the new TM said she too looked at the file …and found “the file very scant”…She asked Comm.Vincent who he asked for the information and then said she would bring the information he was requesting back to him in a month!…NICE!…. The Town Manager then spoke about the auditors and said we actually have until the first meeting in Sept. to get them in p;ace and she would get to work on an RFP for the commission… again, this is when she said the auditors report to the Commission not the staff…It’s a whole new world!…. There were 2 contracts to approve …electrical and street lights maint….and the new Asst. Town Manager had met with Municipal Director Don Prince according to Ms.Hoffman…who added the bidding could be “improved”…producing a chuckle from a few of the dais members….Mr. Bentley came to the podium and cautioned that typically the bidders are checked for references …and this had not been done!… He asked for a contingency for this to be done if the commission went ahead…The Commission decided to go for an extension with the current vendor to allow for the new Town Manager to evaluate and return with the answers on May 11th… At the end a gentleman came to speak of a problem that was impeding his ability to move ahead on his El Mar Drive project…the new TM said she would like to take the time to speak to staff and the Town Atty… There was no admonishing the gentleman…just the offer to see what was what…Imagine that!…

If this first meeting is any indication of what is to come as we move forward……it is more than a welcoming breeze…I really do believe in time it will show all the naysayers…the agitators and those who are just too plain stubborn to admit all was not right in the last 3 years……just what they did or didn’t even know they were missing…good Town management…from a Town Manager who encompasses a certain style and a definite flair that can only come from being a seasoned professional who is experienced … organized and transparent in her actions …thus providing this Commission and the taxpayers of LBTS an administration that will be proactive…receptive and accountable… to all!… KUDOS… to the 5 Commissioners who selected new Interim Town Manager Connie Hoffman!…

more to come….

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