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Here’s The Scoop … April 28, 2010 LBTS Commission Round Table … Shoulders Relaxed …

April 29, 2010 by Barbara

FEELING IT….

Dear Readers …  It was more than a “pilot program” for valet parking in LBTS that was validated last night..It was a sense that what this writer… Mayor Minnet…Vice Mayor Dodd…the newly elected Comms. Sasser and Vincent …the By The Sea Future and the UOT supporters along with commonsense folk knew ….that good government administration is possible…and LBTS can attain it!..

In her second meeting as Interim Town Manager Connie Hoffman provided snippets of that each and every time she took the mike to offer up a response … It began right from the start as the Commission sat at the Round Table…and made sure this was a less formal way of addressing the  Town’s business …no jackets and ties…first names were used in their exchanges and the Commissioners were free to get up and stretch, get tea or whatever, without concern …. The Mayor set that up and as she did with the Round Table was sans Colon/Olinzock…shoulders were now visibly seen in a relaxed position!…

The Commission began with the Resolution 2010-07 on the meeting and agenda procedures… The Mayor had her list and wanted to clarify certain items that gave the TM the call for deciding if Dept. Heads should be required at a Commission meeting…She found no response and this writer was sure the Commission would need to rectify the lack of response later…but that was taken care of in a far different way than I could have imagined..The Town Manager after hearing some back and forth and listening to the Town Atty. explain why she did not think her report should be moved up on the agenda (reports elsewhere in other municipalities are last on the agenda Tevarthen said to get the business of the Town done first …which includes TM Report-Dept. Report- Public Comments)…TM Hoffman in concurring with Trevarthen added that Dept. Heads should not even need to do reports  if their reports turned over monthly were done right!.. She said the reports she has seen (from the Tues. night meeting) were not!…She went on to explain that it was her stance that Dept. Heads stay at the meeting just in case they needed to assist the Commission…Imagine that!… She added that she and Steve D’Oliveira (PIO) were going to meet with 1 Dept. Head and streamline the reports  to have more substance .. WOW!…Comm. Clottey asked that the reports be available online still…Hoffman said they would be… Hoffman is for less forms…less memos…and e-mails!….The Mayor and Commissioners concurred their aim was for shorter meetings and getting the Town’s business done…So they were more than receptive with the plan…The agendas will keep Public Comments where they are…and also keep Comm. Comments between old and new business… The Mayor changed the organizational rules back to having to pass the gavel  after looking at other municipalities and deciding it was what she wanted to do…not what was done to her  (as was the case in 2008…rectified by VM Dodd in 2010)….The special meetings were verified as to the 24 hrs and what was included to allow shorter for any emergency such as hurricanes etc…It was reiterated from the evening before that it will be one Comm. or the mayor or the TM having the ability and and in the emergency it will only take 2 not 3 to have the meeting…on such short notice…The Commissioners made a few reference here and there to the new TM to make her understand why they asked for some inclusions and why they operated as they did in the past…lack of communication…lack of providing what they asked for etc…Clottey asked that the “minutia” be kept off the dais and that Commissioners go in to see the TM…as she did …She attempted to lay the blame on VM Dodd for such actions…But it was made clear by the Mayor and VM Dodd that it was not possible to do that under the Colon “Regime” for some.. (Colon  we are told would meet with certain Comms. and sandbag them later on the dais)… It was agreed with the new Manager the meetings are again available to all… They talked of changing the agenda the night of…and the TAtty. talked of the pros and cons…It was decided they could continue to do such…but if Trevarthen thought it was not appropriate due to lack of notification to the public she would advise to defer it…The Mayor did the courtesy to ask Ms. Hoffman if she would like to sit elsewhere on the dais…Minnet explained where Colon had sat prior to asking her to move down  a few months ago…Ms. Hoffman said she did not care where she sat and to leave it as it is…A highlight was right afterward when TM Hoffman asked about the agenda closing dates …did the Comm. want them enforced…You could have heard a pin drop on this long discussed issue…BUT…she quickly added if an item was really wanted on an agenda …”I’ll get it done!”…WOW!.. It’s a new day in LBTS!… Hoffman asked about the background materials required …and again received the explanation …it was due to lack of material (later brought to light once more with the materials asked for by Comm. Vincent)…The TM assured that was not going to be a problem going forth…and after Comm. Sasser reiterated his inclusion of the action wanted and a new form that offered that…it was understood again…It’s a new day on LBTS!… The TM said her way of doing business includes staff recommendations that are on 90% of items !.. The Commission was grinning!… That done…the TAtty. will clean it up to bring to the dais  next meeting…

The next item was the “pilot program” for the valet in Pelican Square …it was an idea brought forth last year and it went down in flames…many though due to some “leaning on” certain former Comms. from certain businesses…Now with a new Commission …it has a green light to try as long as the program holds no liability to the Town and is easy to change if it presents logistical problems for traffic and blocking the existing parking lot by the Ham and Egg restaurant … Comm. Sasser who is at the helm this go- round (last time it was Dodd) asked that a meeting with all businesses be called as the program gets going…Clottey spoke of the impact to El Mar Drive small hotels and the prevention of tourists getting to accommodations …The Mayor added the Town should look into how Las Olas  does it …and again addressed the need for “calming traffic detail officers” for the weekend events…More discussion on the major problem of the traffic signal light at A1A and Commercial Blvd….Everyone knows it needs a big fix on the turn time going east but no traction from FDOT…the valet program was referred to TAtty and staff to move forward with the idea the time was right to try it off season…

Comm. Clottey had speedbumps on to discuss putting them on Seagrape Drive south… VM Dodd jumped in to explain the history of that street and Bougainvilla and the previous traffic studies …that Comm. Clottey either hadn’t looked in to or was not provided to her by the prev. Managers…OUCH!… The Mayor and Comms. Vincent and Sasser were nodding in agreement as Dodd spoke of the situation on both streets …and they added their own observations about the cut through use on Bougainvilla and the A1A light problem affecting this as well…The Town Manager concurred and said they would get BSO to oversee both  as Hoffman added that speedbumps were the least effective remedy…It was referred to staff…

The POA was put on the agenda by the Mayor…It has a new President and it needs some exposure…to remain a viable organization…It was not televised over the last 2 years due to political payback from the outgoing majority toward the past Pres. of the group…The Commission seemed to be agreement..but Clottey wanted other groups to be able to have the same use alluding to the CIC…VM Dodd was against that and thought the only political use should be for a visiting elected official who comes to the hall…His concern was that it not turn into an “infomercial”…The TAtty. will do some looking into requirements and return it to the Round Table…

Vice Mayor Dodd put the Purchasing Manual on to get the RFPs opened and again read aloud…the Town Manager asked if it could be deferred as she prioritizes the items…Dodd and others agreed…it goes to staff…

The Realtor was discussed for the warehouse …Comm. Vincent had some additional information to present and passed it around…The Town Manager said she too was already on it…Hoffman said the rent collected in the past amounted to $448,000!…(TM Colon/Asst. Olinzock had the place empty over at least the last year)…Hoffman also said the way to look for a Realtor to was not done the way she felt was appropriate…Comm. Vincent spoke of going to the off site building and explaining what he saw inside with Municipal Dir. Don Prince…It is not being utilized as it should be if we are to keep it in this type of market …Also the Town Manager will look into the taxes…did we pay $15,000 or were we exempt?… Referred to staff …

Commissioner Sasser’s Code of Conduct was on for discussion… Sasser asked for input from others and the TAtty…Trevarthen did look at his Code of Conduct and stated she looked at it as more of a “pledge” …Sasser agreed that was his intent..It was to add to the Code of Ethics and as Trevarthen stated it was for the Commissioners to aspire to hold themselves to a certain level of conduct on the dais …Comm. Vincent had doine some research into the FLOC and their Sunshine Amendment to make sure the Commission not “re-invent the wheel”..The Atty. said it was a difference between the legal Ethics Code and the “pledge” which was seen as more of a case of disapproval from fellow dais members if the Code of Conduct was not seen in a fellow Commissioner… The Tatty. will fine tooth the Code…One Avid Raeder suggested the Code of Conduct should also be for staff to “pledge” to as well…

Comm. Sasser put forth the change of Board of Adjustment to a night time meeting…It is presently at 11:30 am on the 3rd Wed. of the month…As previously posted the BOA appointees have for the most part been inadequate when it comes to hearing variances that have cost the applicants big bucks and time… The Town Clerk said she looked and the 1st Wed. night of each month was available…Easy and quick …right?.. Except for the snafu of none of the table remembering that P &Z/BOA and MPSC are all televised.. … after a question arose from the Mayor on the cost to have it televised on a different night…Why didn’t Steve D’oliveira come out to verify?…All 3 are indeed televised so BOA costs no matter if in the am or at night…What is really required is for the meetings to be taped for later viewing which they are not at this time!… It should be now at 6:30pm on the 1st Wed. in June…

Approval of Special Events…provided another steller moment for the new Town Manager who heartily agreed with the Mayor and the provided backup showing an easy way to apply for an event that is going to be the same as it was previously…commonsense!… Clottey tried mightily to interject pure garbage …and found no takers…The Town Manger also said she was looking into the Code personnel going each week to the Special Events…and the overtime for doing it!…YEA!… payback to the businesses will be a thing of the past…as this Code Enforcement …with overtime was just that!… Referred to staff… Great news for the Chamber!…

Comm. Clottey brought up the fire fees…and perhaps led to a big red flag for the VFD!… Clottey spoke of the smaller 1 room office type businesses without a kitchen getting charged at the same rate as larger…(Hmmm…former Comm. Silverstone rents a small office)….The Town Manager said she had spoken to the VFD Chief , Danny Chavez (Full Time Administrator) and Fire Inspec-Marshall Paine…While the change in cost would be minimal in revenue loss for the Town per the TM …the TAtty. was not sure it would be legal …..The Mayor pointed out that half way through our budget the Town has only collected 16% of the projected revenue that was to be collected by the VFD… Either the VFD was not turning the revenue over or was lacking in their collections as it was pointed out the annual required inspections were large in number ….Clottey who is forever putting her foot in her mouth (yes, still)…stated that some condos were not paying …perhaps to protest ..but did so after they learned it would go to the Special magistrate…(We have never seen any documentation to support this claim)…Referred to TAtty. and staff …

The search for a Permanent Town Manager was discussed and Ms. Hoffman who it seems will be one of the candidates…assisted in offering up the ways this could be done…This writer appreciates Ms. Hoffman’s style of management …in which she has alternatives to offer that are applicable to out Town by way of services that can be obtained to help the process without the cost of a full blown Recruiter ..a cost in the area of $20,000….She also brought up the use of the range Riders (NO!) as the Mayor brought up a committee to assist…VM Dodd thought a Headhunter was called for …stating you get what you pay for… Comm. Sasser was interested in an approach that used many of the aspects of what was discussed…to be cost effective and successful…The Town Manager explained further of what would be entailed after the resume’s come in…cutting to a short list…meeting with the candidates separately and together as a Commission and having a community gathering with the top 3 as well… Th Town Manager if one of them needs to be separate from the process …In the end it was decided to get the RFP that Pompano Beach used recently  (Hoffman was involved with the last City Mgr. search for Pompano) and Broward County…It is this writer’s opinion that we can use what is applicable to LBTS from the 2 or 3 RFPs contained and add any additions as well…put them out on the FLOC classifieds…websites aimed at Top Administrators and in hard print…Once back have the Commission each appoint one person to sit on a committee to represent them and sift through the resume’s …The task should not be difficult with the criteria being known…to the committee…Then do as the TM described in meeting the top 3-5 and make a decision…Interesting also was Hoffman’s statement that Managers are not getting the same severance they once were …and stating she typically advised 3 month severance and later increasing it to 6 month s…Benefits were brought up by the Mayor as needing much scrutiny ion light of the pay-outs we just went through…Referred to Tatty. …staff and agreed upon liaison Mayor Minnet…

The Atty. Generals LETF Opinion was the last item…VM Dodd brought it to the Round Table to discuss if it should be re-addressed on moral grounds …due to his continued and verified (I agree) belief the LETF was not used in accordance with the state statute…Clottey lamely countered the use complied because it was a new Police Facility not the old one!…The examples used in the opinion canceled out her theory… The TAtty. tired to poo-poo it by speaking of the AGO “hierarchy” and that the response to the Commission was the lowest form in that it was from an asst. and not the A.G…. Hmmm…. The Mayor spoke of making it policy going forth not to make the same call as a Commisison…Comm. Sasser clarified he understood where VM Dodd was coming from and concurred on the moral point…but also clarified the TAtty. stated the Town was not in any trouble…after she stated there was no penalty or enforcement to be made by the state… The Mayor was also concerned about the budget if it was paid back from the General Fund…The Town Manager stated she would break the costs down and return with them…Vice mayor Dodd was looking that as well in order to see if any other Commissioners wanted to join him in separating out what was actually “normal” equipment provided and what could be LETF appropriate uses…Referred to staff…

The meeting was adjourned 2 hrs and 17 minutes after it began at 9:17pm!…What this writer feared a mere few days ago was going to be a “bear’ of a Round Table…became a “cub”…NICE!… We are on a roll folks…A roll of seeing just what we were missing!…KUDOS!…

more to come….

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