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HERE’S THE SCOOP…. A FEW GOOD MEN…..

October 27, 2021 by Barbara

Dear Readers-

Remember the movie A Few Good Men and the famous court scene with Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson when Nicholson throws out excuses waffling until Cruise boxes him in and Nicholson loses it telling him he can’t handle the truth?…..
Well, last night at the LBTS commission’s October 26 meeting we got the excuses… we got the waffling…… but we never even got close to the truth….
Part 2 of Leaving LBTS in the lurch in hiring a new town manager took place at the end of the 2nd commission meeting of the month after it was included as a late addition to the agenda 24 hours before….  in keeping with the down-low process this hiring of Linda Connors has become…
I really thought that Jarvis Hall would be overflowing with those supposed town supporters of her permanent position as Town Manager, especially the 5 men who spoke out to hire her on the 12th with cake and toasts to celebrate since that did not transpire with the 3-2 vote ….But, alas there was no full room….no favorable supporters….including these 5 men…no cake…no toasts….and again….  no speech from Ms. Connors….
In the end….it was only this writer who applauded after the 5-0 vote lit up in green on the voting board ….sealing the deal for a 3-year contract with all the bells and whistles…. Starting with a salary equal to the outgoing former experienced Town Manager in his 2nd year!….Well done Town Manager Connors….she won the LBTS lottery!….
I do not blame Ms. Connors for new position without comment…….nope…..I blame those commissioners up on the dais who once again chose to ignore her record as both Director of Development and Interim Town Manager…. doing twists and turns…and thumbing their noses at even attempting to address …ALL….of the red flags….that were right in front of them the whole time!….
Here is a woman who should have been fired in 2018 when all five of these commissioners were on the dais and present for a massive fail in the noticing of 18 ordinances with one of them that forever impacted the neighbors who live on Tradewinds ….and instead of that…and all the other issues presented in previous posts…3 of the 5 made her our new Town Manager….with all 5 giving her the top range of salary to boot!… if that’s not winning the lottery….it should be….
At the podium during public comments….despite my pleas for discussion …after pointing out to them they had spent more time with more questions and concerns over the restoration of the west Commercial sculptures than Ms. Connors employment …and telling them that with a public records request I made I received in error an email from Ms. Connors ( by way of her Assistant to the Town Manager) to the Town Clerk on October 5, 2021 asking them to ‘ please start working on a summary of accomplishments since I have been Interim?’… This was done with a pdf of agenda minutes ……Why was this not used at the October 12, 2021 meeting?….In doing so it might have led to honest, open dialogue and discussion by the commission…. requiring responses from Ms. Connors on all of the insufficiencies …. and there were many…. contained in those agendas……and…that must be why it too was cast aside….
Commissioner Strauss about to run for his 2nd term was in charge of negotiating the contract for Ms. Connors…as a result of  Commissioner Malkoon insinuating and insulting Mayor Vincent on the 12th ….stating he should not in good faith carry out the role as he and previous mayors have long done…..because he did not vote for Ms. Connors …. Rather than let the Vice Mayor who made the swift motion and did vote for her….Mayor Vincent passed the gavel and made a motion for Commissioner Strauss…who had also voted no….Perhaps…. thinking much as Commissioner Malkoon thought about him not acting in good faith…the Vice Mayor would not do so in the role of negotiator due to his actions that night ….It passed 5-0….
Unfortunately….passing the gavel….made absolutely no difference ….in this writer’s opinion…..Commissioner Strauss essentially did exactly what the Vice Mayor would have done….using the previous contract for Town Manager and conferring with the Town Attorney…. He came up with an amount certainly not commensurate with her experience…and again…. equal to the previous Town Manager who had come to our town with years of administrative experience in his 2nd year of employment…. …When he explained his reasons for doing so…. he actually negated his previous no vote for her hiring on the 12th…. Commissioner Strauss used reasons such as cost of living…and saving money by not going out for a Town Manager search…. The very “process” Commissioner Strauss touted as the reason he voted no….  Furthermore he praised Ms. Connors on her time as a Director of Development and Interim Town Manager…. joining those who did not look at her record….
In his response the Vice Mayor included that he had pre-written comments approving the contract …thanking Commissioner Strauss…. No surprise here for Vice Mayor Oldaker… in fact he could have lauded Commissioner Strauss …for best contract ever…just as he did with his best budget ever comments to Ms. Connors two weeks prior…. Both were merely changing the numbers on the supplied outlines sheets….
The Vice Mayor falsely claimed that Ms. Connors was interim far longer than former Town Manager Bud Bentley …trying to compare a lack of vetting….and was quickly schooled by Mayor Vincent when he made his comments at the end ….
Commissioner Sokolow spoke of his air conditioning company and hiring management from within….as with all of his second term comments.in his final two years …we can only count down to March….enough said…..
Commissioner Malkoon thanked Commissioner Strauss for all the time he spent on the contract…. Again, the outline was there…and it was a last minute addition to the agenda…2 weeks after the hiring on the 12th….How much time could it have taken?…He just gave some awkward comments to justify the higher salary that he would never have made or justified with past town managers….both on and off the dais….as seen in previous years…
Mayor Vincent spoke last…he spent this last bite at the apple to not only correct Vice Mayor Oldaker’s horrible slight on vetting  former Town Manager Bud Bentley …He stated the fact Bentley was #2 in the vote for Town Manager in 2010….He was hired as Assistant Town Manager by Connie Hoffman….and then became our Town Manager when she retired…. The Mayor countered Commissioner Strauss for his cost of living and not going out for the search cost savings reasons for the high salary amount he proposed for Ms. Connors…..
A handing over of the gavel for commission discussion and a motion on the salary amount…. even though it would certainly not have received a second….and of course a no vote…. would have been this writer’s preference…. but…

in the end he voted along with the other 4 to approve the contract for Ms. Connors and to move on…..
So Dear Readers… how do we move on?…. There are two more meetings …One in November and one in December before the time comes for candidates in January to file papers to run for three seats on the dais in March…. The Mayor- at- large….A Commissioner in the south….A Commissioner in the north…..
I, as an actively participating voter am looking at candidates and commissioners who will do better …. commissioners that will return us to the Town Commission- Town Manager form of government our Charter states we are….but have not been for quite a while….. It can only be attained and returned by having a majority who want to do the hard work…request and receive all of the historical backup…..and be actively involved rather than leaving it all to staff agenda items and recommendations…with rubber-stamping votes…….holding the administration and the staff accountable for their actions and to the highest standards we deserve….
I am looking for commissioners that put constituents first….and never…ever ….turn their backs on their needs and plights….no matter their personal feelings of like or dislike….then insisting on the same from their administration and staff….
I am looking for commissioners who are forward thinking….not antiquated….thinking outside the box…. while protecting and preserving our Old Town  south- end rather than imposing urban planning redevelopment thinking they know better…. requiring us to always watch out for the next impactful project we need to fight off… Public Safety Complexes…..Overbuilt hotels….and ….. surface parking lots….redesigned cookie-cutter streetscapes….
I am looking for commissioners who are fiscally responsible with our taxpayer monies….who value our small town ways and values as a priority …..who avoid at all costs… (pun intended)…. constant ordinance revisions……bloated requests for studies and consultants…. any unnecessary resume builders….
I am looking for commissioners who will to the original requirements for Town Manager…. ASAP….
I am looking for a few good men….and now more than ever……a few good women!……
More to come…..
Post Division

HERE’S THE SCOOP….DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT THE 2 LAPDOGS AND THE LAME DUCK THAT LEFT LBTS IN THE LURCH?….

October 13, 2021 by Barbara

lap·dog
/ˈlapˌdôɡ/
noun
  1. a small dog kept as a pet.
    • a person or organization which is influenced or controlled by another.
      “too many boards have become executive lapdogs”
Dear Readers…. Sad to say lauderdale-by-the-Sea was left in the lurch last night …..
Vice Mayor Buz Oldaker, Commissioner Edmund Malkoon and Commissioner Elliot Sokolow made Interim Town Manager Linda Connors the Town Manager while no one was watching!……
In the south- end of town these 3 commissioners have been crowned with their own titles as well … Linda’s lapdogs and the lame duck!….
While their monikers are well deserved Ms. Connors is certainly not!….. ( see previous posts )….
Walking in to Jarvis Hall for the 1st Regular Commission meeting of October was quite something to behold…..
It was like the party where the invitations got lost in the mail…. On purpose!……
The Interim Town Manager was dressed up in a little black dress and prominent pearls ala Breakfast at Tiffanys topped with a cheshire cat smile ….the perfect little combo reeking that the fix was in!……And boy was it!….Finely orchestrated from behind the scenes ……..and in the back room…..no doubt…
Lindas lap dogs and the lame duck ignored their constituents, their due diligence and their oaths  … turning the facts upside down and casting them aside….just like the Conditional Uses requirements, Downtown desired businesses, and a plethora of other well known cast-asides we have witnessed from Ms. Connors in her time as Interim Town Manager…… It was a lie- in-wait plan to slip Linda Connors into her  $200,000 + Town Manager position ….letting her be the Urban Planner she is ……who no longer needs even try to hide her bad cop persona ……now emboldened and armed with a long to- do list to finally pounce and change the south side of town….. settle some scores and carry on with her blunders secure in the knowledge that she has 3 on the dais and an army in the north end to just buy more rugs to sweep them under!……
We haven’t seen this kind of commission maneuver since Oliver Parker locked the VFD out and shucked them aside for the BSO !…….That was vindictive payback and so is this…..We have seen it all firsthand……
Buz Oldaker and Edmund Malkoon finally made it to the inner sanctum of the Town Manager’s office in Town Hall and they like it!……covet it….. like a drug…
Buz Oldaker …..who has always been self- serving from the start with one of the dirtiest campaigns seen in his first term run ….and a mindset that makes him a north- ender at heart who sees this as the first step on the road to being Mayor in 2024 with Linda and a mishmash of north- end army city dwellers who like him favor the town becoming Pompano 2.o with lots if tax increases,  redevelopment projects and an increase in town employees and commissioner perks….. and of course more shirts with the town logo below ‘ Mayor Oldaker’!  …..That’s a bubble worth bursting……with a reality check!…
Edmund Malkoon…. oh, poor Edmund Malkoon…. he found a lap to sit on …and lost his independence, integrity, and his credibility ……all for a brief moment …..as he has a brief 2 years left in his brief 2 terms … (6 years not 8)… with no chance sit in the center seat as a result…. South- side voters have long memories when they’ve been duped and disregarded….  He will have a lot of years to wonder was it worth it?!…..
Elliot Sokolow…..the lame duck….. after burning his bridges in both in the north and the south…since he won a second term and lost his supporters including former commissioners… who regularly text SMH ( shaking my head)… whenever he feebly takes to the microphone to disparage and lecture us all….He leaves termed out most likely the same way he left Sea Ranch Lakes as Mayor … the last Mayoral job he will ever lay claim too…  Finally he will be correct when he says…….”Change is coming”….. Bye, bye….Lame Duck!….
Now what?….….
Will the south wake up today to hear the news …. read the Pompano Pelican and mobilize once more?…..
Will the Cristie Furth and her Green Team put their T-shirts back on to protect and preserve LBTS from the new Town Manager , her 3-2  L/L majority on the dais and Linda’s co-captain for change Town Engineer Jay Flynn?…..
Will newcomers join us “ old loudmouths” as the Connors- Flynn- Sokolow- Oldaker- Malkoon- North-enders who never understood the south call us for wanting to save our south- side from those who smugly say change is coming, change is inevitable and we are here to make those changes?!….
It is time once again to put away any fear of repercussions, code enforcement paybacks, bitching in the background  and 11th hour rescuing from the jaws of those who will never give up their roadmap to build up their resumes at our expense and make yourselves known….This Town is worth it!…..
It starts with calling out the lap dogs and the lame duck… letting them know what they have done!…..
It starts with calling out any and all bad acts are instigated and directed at you by the Town Manager!….
It starts with looking for a new commissioner who takes over Sokolows north seat promising they would never pull what he has and that they will save the south…
It starts with going to the meetings and roundtables and participating… in large numbers that cannot be ignored….
It starts with reminding commissioners and candidates our town is a Commission- Town Manager form of government…and the commission directs the Town Manager not the other way around….
It starts by thanking Mayor Chris Vincent and Commissioner Randy Strauss for doing the right thing….pushing for the process…the Charter….the search….. remembering their duty…. promises…and those they represent!…..
It starts …. Now!!!!…..
Save the south….. Save Our Town!…….
More to come…..
Post Division

HERE’S THE SCOOP…. DO THE RIGHT THING COMMISSIONERS….

October 12, 2021 by Barbara

DOING THE RIGHT THING AS A COMMISSIONER WHEN HIRING A TOWN MANAGER…

Dear Readers…. The Lauderdale -By-The- Sea Commission will make a decision tonight that will make or break our small town as a result!

A little background…. Last January the commission fired former Town Manager Bill Vance in advance of his 2nd year in the position…. Mr. Vance was supposed to be going on a medical leave and the Director of Public Works Ken Rubach was to step up as Acting Town Manager….Mayor Chris Vincent believing the position would be temporary put forth Director of Development Linda Conners due to her length of employment….

Right from the start there were many  in town who questioned even a temporary time as Town Manager for Ms. Connors due to her tenure as Town Planner from 2011-2015 and as the Director of Development from 2015-2021…..The concerns were due to many mistakes, missteps and insufficiencies the Town had to deal with resulting from her actions in both positions …..

After the first few weeks buyer’s remorse kicked in for some over Ms. Connors and the idea was floated to have former Mayor Scot Sasser put his hat in the ring…..A Special Meeting was swiftly set in to motion …..too swiftly for those of us who value the process ….. The former mayor too realized that in an effort to assist the Town as he was urged to do the optics were not as they should be and he respectfully asked for the meeting to be canceled…..He did however state his interest to continue in the process along with others who had responded to the Town advertisement for applications…. That too was discarded when the Town invited former city manager Ken Parker who assists municipalities in searching for managers to their March 23, 2021 commission meeting  …..Mr Parker who had no familiarity with our town opined about never looking for a Town Manager during budget season….which runs counter to LBTS history ….and put forth that the pool of candidates would not be strong if they were made aware that an Interim Town Manager was installed from the town staff position assuming that person was highly qualified…… The commission with the exception of Mayor Chris Vincent who tried to appeal to his fellow commissioners that the process was still important to follow and the budget was not the sole criteria for a Town Manager took Mr. Parker’s advisement as gospel ….The commission voted 5-0 for Ms. Connors to remain Interim Town Manager until October at which time it would be put on the agenda…

The agenda for tonight has under Old Business 12.a to revisit the Town Manager position and to do the following…

  1. Negotiate a contract with Linda Connors to fill the Town Manager position.
  2. Extend the Interim Term for Linda Connors.
  3. Direct Staff to Hire FCCMA or a consultant to conduct a search and assist as necessary in the Town Manager recruitment.

Option 2 is the only option this commission should approve……The commission knows that there are only 4 meetings until the January 2022 candidate filing period for 3 seats on the new 2022 commission….It has long been the practice of outgoing  commissions to not proceed in matters of such high importance this close to a town election that would tie the hands of a new commission…

The Town Charter states the following ….  Ms. Connors and all applicants must meet what is required  in it….. There can be no wiggle room with …’the accepted competencies and practices’ portion which should never have been inserted and should be removed asap….

  • Sec. 5.3. – Town Manager—Appointment, qualifications and compensation.
    The Town Commission shall appoint a Town Manager who shall be the administrative head of the municipal government under the direction and supervision of the Town Commission. The Town Manager shall hold office at the pleasure of the Town Commission. The Town Manager shall receive such compensation as determined by the Town Commission through the adoption of an appropriate resolution. The Town Manager shall be appointed by resolution approving an employment contract between the Town and the Town Manager. The Town Manager shall be appointed solely on the basis of education and experience in the accepted competencies and practices of local public management including, a graduate degree with a concentration in public administration, public affairs, public policy, or public finance and two (2) years’ experience as an appointed city manager or county manager, or four (4) years’ experience as an assistant or deputy city manager or assistant or deputy county manager. Alternatively, the Town Manager shall be appointed on the basis of education and experience in the accepted competencies and practices of local public management that is determined by the Town Commission to be commensurate to those listed in the prior sentence.(Ord. No. 2013-13, § 2, 10-22-2013)

If for some reason a majority of the commission chooses to ignore the protocol of their predecessors and usurp the next commission by negotiating a contract with Ms. Connors their constituents should inquire if they have done their due diligence  in making the decision to go for Option 1…….

The Interim Town Manager has never submitted her resume to the town due to the cancelations of the process last winter….Have they researched her accomplishments and failures?…..Have they evaluated her performance as they would any new candidate or Town Manager by reaching out to residents and businesses for their experiences as well as town employees?….. Or…are they fearful that because they failed with the hiring of Bill Vance they prefer to avoid the process altogether?… All of the above should long be held in voter’s memories if each commissioner does not provide us with their extensive criteria for choosing to make Ms. Connors our Town Manager permanently at this time…

I want to let Readers know that I did my due diligence concerning Linda Connors and what I found along with my conclusions is based on research just as I have done since 2006 concerning past Town Managers and Town Manager Candidates…. My findings are below….. which I intend to speak about and provide to the commission tonight….and enter in to the public record…

‘Mayor, Commissioners-

I will put forth why the Interim Town Manager should not be installed permanently especially at this time.

This commission will find that I have researched previous Town Managers in- depth beginning with former Town Manager Bob Baldwin to Esther Colon to Connie Hoffman and Bud Bentley and the other candidates in 2010 as well as former Town Manager Bill Vance and other candidates for the position. I have written about them as well as coming to this podium.

Therefore, my research into Ms.Connors is a continuation of that to make sure this commission or any future commission and the residents know as much as possible before they make this all important decision for the Town Manager.

All of what is included below is factually based on Town archived records, internet searches, in- person exchanges and public records requests. All can be accessed to verify. I have included my own opinions on the conclusions I found.

I wondered why former Town Managers Hoffman and Bentley did not put forth the Director of Development in 2017 as Bud Bentley retired, especially since she was their hire and has been employed by the town since 2011 as Town Planner and Director of Development since 2015.

I believe that answer can be found from many missteps and mistakes made under her watch in the Development Services Department with the largest most impactful being eighteen ordinances she did not properly notice prior to 2018 which when found during an ongoing 2018 property development hearing culminated with the neighbors of a W. Tradewinds McMansion after nearly a year of fighting both the Town and the property owner to lose their intercostal views when the new owners were allowed to go ahead with their backyard setback increase as a result  of her actions which negated the updated non- noticed ordinance that would have prevented it.

There were 17 other ordinances requiring a re-notice and commission votes as well on March 27, 2018.

The video of that meeting shows this commission were all on the dais to witness this and to hear these outraged neighbors who had their properties forever changed due to Ms. Connors stating she should be fired.

Ms.Connors was involved with the single/ duplex conditional use requirements when it originated in order to protect and preserve our historic hotel district on El Mar Drive as an author and as the Town Planner representing its significance to the 2012 P & Z Board and again with the 2017 P & Z Board.

It was a real shock that on July 7, 2021 as the P & Z Board held the Quasi Judicial Hearing for 4112. El Mar Drive that was delayed from May 2021 were deliberately lacking in staff direction and historical documents from the Acting Director of Development Campbell and Interim Town Manager Connors showing the importance of the single family conditional use application and requirements thus tying their hands as the board members themselves stated when reluctantly approving an 8000 sq. foot contemporary home that ran counter to the 2012 intentions.

Ms.Connors continued to cast aside the significance of the conditional use when the Quasi Judicial Hearing was removed from the July 27, 2021 commission meeting stating in her Town Manager Report it was ” just another level of review.”

The hearing was delayed over the citizen outrage that arose after the July P & Z hearing debacle.

At that meeting the commission directed the Town Attorney to look into removing single family/ duplex homes on El Mar Drive due to the conditional use being cast aside.

That new ordinance came to the P & Z Board as an inclusion with another land use change on September 1, 2021. Several of the P & Z members reiterated their frustration with the July hearing and its outcome and voted against the grandfathering of 4112 El Mar to rectify their votes to approve and despite veiled assertions that the applicants have property rights and can use Bert J. Harris to sue the town.

At the September 13, 2021 commission meeting the commission passed the single- family home ordinance and the grandfathering of 4112 El Mar Drive while still in the dark concerning the facts of this property application process.

A public records request on September 14, 2021 showed that the applicants applied and received a development review on July 28, 2021. This required the Town contracted Architect to do an architectural review. Leo Hansen did 3 reports that mirrored the conditional use requirements, stating the contemporary home did not meet LBTS architectural standards in material, size and being harmonious and non- adversely impacting the adjacent neighbor and neighborhood. He ended his final reports saying the applicants showed no desire to change their home and recommended they study the Town architecture citing the Seaward Hotel as a desired example ( as shown in our Architectural Standards Manual.)

Although the applicants did not want to go back to the architect after the first report and disagreed with the report wanting instead to go ahead with the Quasi Judicial Hearing the Interim Town Manager and staff did not let them proceed as they requested.

A public records request I made for 4112 El Mar Drive showed that in January 2018 Ms. Connors in an email informed Rob Gordon about the conditional use requirement, the process and stated she could not answer the likelihood of approval by the commission. In August 2019 Town Planner Susan Leven informed Chip Falkanger, a broker for the property, that he would need to obtain a conditional use. On October 28, 2019 Linda Conners received an email from the realtor Chip Falkanger asking about conditional use requirements and side setbacks. Ms. Connors replied that the property was ‘exempt’ from conditional use and the side setbacks were 5′ ‘both incorrect responses.

On October 13,2020 the owner of the property Rob Gordon contacted Director Conners to verify the information she provided to Chip Falkanger ‘ in an abundance of caution’ as they were ready to start plans.  At that time they were going to build a duplex townhome with 5′ setbacks and he wanted to re-confirm both the side setbacks and the exemption from conditional use.  Ms.Connors one year later, responded ‘ I  have reviewed the email and the code referenced. Unfortunately, the information provided referencing Section 30-242 is incorrect. The section of the code clearly states that the regulations apply only to those properties that are west of Bougainvilla Drive. As 4112 El Mar Drive is east of Bougainvilla, the provisions would not apply.’Director of Development Connors provided the wrong code and wrong area in 2019.

The owner and attorney for 4112 El Mar Drive were the same owner and attorney that found Ms.Connors lack of notice for the property on N.Tradewinds in 2018.

Finding this information one has to wonder if this was why the Director would cast aside the single- family conditional use as this application proceeded.

The commission is to decide grandfathering 4112 on 2nd Reading on 10/12/2021 after basing their stance on conditional use and architectural review but with the trajectory and background now known to do so is to disregard the Interim Town Manager and Development staff actions to date and to unfairly offer property rights to these applicants while taking away property rights to the adjacent property.

As Interim Town Manager Ms.Connors came to the commission in 2021 to recommend that they dissolve our Historic Preservation Board ordinance to create such a board.

A look at the history shows the ordinance was passed in 2018 which was after the June 2017 meeting of the Broward County Historic Preservation Board convened to discuss the changes for requiring cities to be Certified Local Governments.

Strangely, in 2019 Ms.Connors informed the commission that the Broward County Historic Preservation Board was going to make changes and require municipalities to become certified local governments although Ms. Connors participated in the 2017 meeting and before the ordinance was passed to form a board in our town.
The commission voiced their concerns about home rule and what the new requirements which Ms.Connors was to bring forth at the Broward County meeting dealing with these changes.

Transcripts from that April 2019 meeting show that the board offered to assist the town in reaching the new criteria and that home rule would not be impacted in the process.

Director Connors never came back to the commission that I could find in the archives. There was no attempt made to reach out to our community for qualified residents to join the board as she stated she did not believe we had the caliber required in our town.

Another reason for not pursuing the board was the lack of an historical Architect. I found through my public records request for 4112 El Mar Drive that our Town contracted Architect Leo Hansen is the past president of the Broward County Preservation Board.

Interim Town Manager Connors came at the 11th hour in 2021 stating all the false assertions of our town not being able to form a Historic Preservation Board with the new requirements when she was well aware of the aid offered by Broward County along with contacts to succeed without allowing the commission to direct her from 2019.

From the commission comments made at the 2018 ordinance and the comments the commission made at the 2021 dissolution I believe the outcome would have been quite different if the commission knew the facts.

In 2021 in the Town Manager Report the Interim Town Manager informed the commission a head-shop called Grateful J’s and 2 smoke shops were approved for the west end of our downtown.

Ms.Connors as both Town Planner and Director of Development was well aware of what commissions and constituents did not want in our town. She was also aware of the 2009 ordinance stating the following

‘The Town Manager or designee shall consult with the Town Commission on any proposal to find that a use is similar, prior to authorizing such use in the B-1-A district.’

No matter the designation the Development Department decided these stores fell under the red flags right in front of them to stop these businesses from being approved!

Ms.Connors was involved with all actions put in place over the last decade to improve and redesign the west downtown corridor.

At the October 6,2021 P &Z Board meeting to discuss a new ordinance to update the previously allowed businesses the attorney for Grateful J’s stated if his client was told they were not wanted they would have passed on our town! Instead he stated they were welcomed even receiving a Welcome letter from the Town.

Ms.Connors came and stood at the podium and tried to justify this happening due to the ‘Specialty’ Store designation used for the application. This store stated its name to know what type of store it was  (they have other locations ) in their application but left out any reference to paraphernalia in describing what would be sold.

The P&Z Board as well as members of the audience did not buy the designation explanation and the commission should not either.

The new ordinance takes away the 2009 Town Manager consulting the commission before approval and inserts what Ms.Connors did with this debacle legitimizing the Interim Town Manager’s actions.

From January 2021 to June 2021 the Interim Town Manager never brought to the dais the Florida Legislatures change to Home Based Businesses.

We only found this out in September at the P&Z Board meeting when it was on their agenda for a new ordinance to accommodate the new legislative changes.

A look at the Florida League of Cities website showed that emails were sent out throughout this process urging municipalities to join as 141 others did. Our town did not! Our Interim Town Manager is budgeted to be a FLOC member so she must have received this information but chose not to bring it to the dais and the residents.

When this brought forth outrage from the neighborhoods there was no response from the Interim Town Manager for why we were not informed and participating.

Our lobbyist at the first 2021 Budget Meeting told me that emails were also sent to the town from them throughout 2021. The same lobbyist that Ms.Connors wanted to remove from our 2021-22 budget. The commission directed her to keep our lobbyist in the budget.

A Resolution was voted on after the fact at the Special Meeting on Oct.4, 2021 after our lobbyist told us no change would be coming in the upcoming year.

Ms.Connors chose to subvert the Downtown Sidewalk Expansion Round Tables on three separate occasions.

Round Table discussions have brought great success to prior town projects during her tenure as Town Planner and Director of Development and to change the formula as Interim Town Manager keeps up Ms.Connors choice to turn her back on what we have long found works well.

The October 4, 2021 Special Meeting needlessly riled residents and businesses up by Ms.Connors attempt to tie the expansion to the need for more parking by purchasing a lot being used already by Aruba for $2.5 million for 16-20 spaces on A1A and/or partnering with FDG ( old Holiday Inn) for 200 spaces at the south end of El Mar Drive.

On the 10/12/2021 agenda her insistence to tie increased parking to the expansion continued with the explanation for the Old Business item to update the 2015 parking study. The commission did not receive all relevant backup as has been the case since 2018 and the hiring of former Town Manager Vance.

The Interim Town Manager promoting the Steven Fett design renderings was akin to the El Mar Drive Streetscape Project redesign in scope of change. Mr. Fett to his credit at the meeting asked for the Jarvis Hall attendees to speak after his presentation resulting in some commissioners, restaurateurs and residents to speak out to return to a Round Table Meeting to start over with the “base” of what we have now with the expansion.

After the meeting, Mr. Fett spoke to me and he said too felt this venue was not the right way to begin this project.

A few days later the Interim Town Manager put out a town alert along with yard signs and banners throughout the town for the Oct. 27, 2021 Round Table. She included the Steven Fett presentation PDF and promoted these design plans for the downtown expansion.  Once again Ms. Connors has pushed for her vision of changing our town as she did with the El Mar Drive Streetscape Project.

The Interim Town Manager as Director of Development joined Town Engineer Jay Flynn in an all-out push to redevelop El Mar Drive. She verbally stated her view that the “old loudmouths” who did not want the Jay Flynn/EDSA designs should be disregarded.

Ms.Connors fought against the outcry from the residents until their voices could no longer be ignored. After the decision was made to walk away from it she would not remove it from future projects or the town website and only did so after several directives from the commission.

There are other troubling issues both as Director of Development and as Interim Town Manager that show that the problems in her department such as we saw in 2018 with the massive amount of ordinances that were negated continue.

The Development Department is still under her Interim Town Manager and watching the P & Z meetings since June of this year shows a board that has not been fully supported in any way. Just to watch these meetings it is undeniable and in both September and October Ms.Connors was in attendance and needed to take to the podium to instruct both the staff and the board how to proceed.

In September Ms.Connors sat down next to me after the meeting and her response to my stating the need for his board to receive staff assistance and guidance as the 2012 P & Z Board had with the conditional use ordinance was to state this board was inferior to that board and to then state it shows why we would not be able to get the quality of Historical Preservation Board members.

At the September Code Compliance Meeting Bethany Banyas negated a $200,000.00 lien on a private home due to a code error in filing. This was under Ms.Connors as both Director of Development and Interim Town Manager.

At the same Code Compliance meeting we heard from professional office building tenants that their building was deemed unsafe and they had 2 hours to vacate. The tenants stated they were not allowed back in and the impact of this drastic action to both their businesses and their clients. The building official from CAP was a disgrace and the Town offered no aid or comprehension when the building official stated the building issues were a public safety issue. The Town did not rope off the areas surrounding the building until after this meeting took place. This too falls under Ms. Connors as Interim Town Manager.

The Marina Hotel, another big project that requires residents and businesses to be in town and to be participants was being pushed by Ms.Connors to proceed because as she said “government does not stop.”  At a public meeting held by the developer he was agreeable to postponing until residents returned. The Interim Town Manager and the Development Department still put forth a public meeting with the commission prior to the return and before it went to the P & Z Board. The meeting was finally canceled after pushback but not before riling up the residents, as we have witnessed throughout Ms.Connors tenure in both positions.

Equal treatment has been an ongoing problem for Ms.Connors as both Director of Development and Interim Town Manager with businesses crossing her and staff while other businesses were privy to leeway concerning code violations and permits.

Ms.Connors told me when we walked El Mar Drive right after her appointment as Interim Town Manager that as Director of Development she was the “bad cop” to the Town Manager’s ” good cop” and she could fill the ” good cop” role. Unfortunately, she has proven she cannot.

The opportunity was there for Ms.Connors to immediately revert back to the successful leadership of former Town Managers Connie Hoffman and Bud Bentley but she chose not to.

Ms.Connors on that same walk on El Mar Drive told me she and Ken Ruback were really running the town for former Town Manager Bill Vance. If true and in hindsight she chose to continue the failed leadership of Mr. Vance time here with the same poor results.

As Interim Town Manager Ms.Connors did not get the 2021-22 Budget out until 6:30 PM on the Friday before the first budget meeting on Monday September 13, 2021.

The required Sun-Sentinel published notice for the budget was incorrect stating our proposed property taxes were increased. They were in fact lowered with a 3 to 2 commission vote to rollback the rate. No correction was published after I notified the Town of the error and no response to my email concerning the error was ever responded to.

Our residential permits were delayed resulting in an extension beyond September 30th due to it. The Town finally put the permit application online due to the number of residents inquiring per the Town Senior Office Specialist even as the date for the actual permits were hopefully before the September 30th renewal date.

As Interim Town Manager, Ms.Connors continues to be the planner of changing LBTS vs. preserving LBTS as she was as Director of Development.

I along with the majority of your constituents believe this town deserves a Town Manager who will preserve and protect our town and will honor our Mission and Vision Statements to its full extent.

Thank you,

Barbara Cole

Dear Readers…. I have not witnessed what I am seeing at this time in our town since 2006,2007,2008 and 2009 ….businesses, restauranteurs and residents are reticent to participate and make comments tonight concerning the Interim Town Manager fearing repercussions from her administration and staff in the future….I thought those days were long gone and never….ever….did I think I would encounter them again….sad to say….sad to write….sad for the future of our town….

More to come……

 

 

 

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HERE’S THE SCOOP…..THERE IS NO OTHER OPTION….

October 12, 2021 by Barbara

Commissioners should always put their Town 1st…. Option 2 does that….

 

Dear Readers…. below is a copy of the email I sent to our LBTS Mayor and Commissioners on Saturday as they began looking at their October 12, 2021 Commission Agenda…..

12.a Old Business is on the agenda to decide which option to follow concerning the Town Manager position….

There is no other option that is appropriate or keeps to past commission actions this close to a municipal election than option 2…..

‘Mayor, Commissioners-

The most important, transparent duty you have to represent your constituents and our town is who you hire as our Town Manager in our Commission- Town Manager form of government.
We know this from previous blunders and successes prior to 2010 , 2010 and in 2018 and the impact on our town with these commission elevated or hired Town Managers.
I have always been about the process and the right process has always benefitted this Town.
There were red flags from the start with former Town Manager candidate Bill Vance which you can find and refresh your memories with watching our Town Commission archived videos.
Unfortunately these issues were cast aside even though they were front and center right up to his hiring according to former Town Manager Bud Bentley.
As a result we were severely impacted by his hiring for almost 2 years.
The Commission elevated former Director of Development Linda Conners as Interim Town Manager.
From the start of elevating Linda Conners I was for the process being fair and  fully executed.
I was probably the first resident to email her as she was installed to wish her well in her endeavor.
I was also immediate in voicing my disdain and criticism concerning a special meeting to accommodate and decide if former mayor Scot Sasser should be fast tracked for the Town Manager position because it thwarted the process!
To his credit former Mayor Sasser decided it was not the right way to go and respectfully asked to cancel it.
I walked with Linda Conners on El Mar Drive at the start of her interim position which we all thought was just that knowing she would be a candidate for Town Manager.
Unfortunately due to misinformation cast out as fact you chose to extend her interim position based on Ken Parker’s dictum which was counter to our past process.
With the exception of Mayor Vincent who tried to remind the dais of the importance of the process in the Zoom meeting that delayed it the commission chose to revisit it in October.
The agenda for Oct. 12,2021 under Old Business now has it on to address.
This is again thwarting the process in its placement on a regular agenda with the options it includes-
1. Negotiate a contract with Linda Connors to fill the Town Manager position.
2. Extend the Interim term for Linda Connors.
3. Direct Staff to Hire FCCMA or a consultant to conduct a search and assist as necessary in the Town Manager recruitment.
We are 4 meetings away from January 2022 and candidates filing to run for 3 seats on the dais in March.
It is customary in our town to defer such impacting decisions to the incoming new commission.
By taking Ken Parker’s advice and holding off the search you should not proceed in either hiring or starting a search which will tie the hands of the next commission due to either lack of process or the time the process will take which coincides with our municipal election.
This means keeping the status quo until the new commission is in place which is really the only fair and transparent option.
Sadly, if a majority on this commission choose to disregard our history of deference to a new commission so close to an election, the Town Manager position requires a Special Meeting as well as signs, banners and alerts for public participation as a Round Table or a project that impacts our town!
Those you represent now and in the future will be watching and depending on this commission to adhere to your responsibility to make our next Town Manager a success starting with a fair and transparent process based on history, process and doing the right thing!
Thank you,
Barbara Cole
More to come……
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HERE’S THE SCOOP….. TIMING THE TOWN MANAGER POSITION…. IN 2021-2022

October 9, 2021 by Barbara

 

IT MATTERS WHO OCCUPIES THE TOWN MANAGER OFFICE….

Dear Readers…

Below is a copy of the email sent to our LBTS Commission in advance of the Town Commission October 12,2021 Old Business Agenda item 12.a Town Manager Position….

Please make your comments known to those who represent you before they act on this all- important issue which impacts every resident and business in our town!….

Mayor, Commissioners-

The most important, transparent duty you have to represent your constituents and our town is who you hire as our Town Manager in our Commission- Town Manager form of government.
We know this from previous blunders and successes prior to 2010 , 2010 and in 2018 and the impact on our town with these commission elevated or hired Town Managers.
I have always been about the process and the right process has always benefitted this Town.
There were red flags from the start with former Town Manager candidate Bill Vance which you can find and refresh your memories with watching our Town Commission archived videos.
Unfortunately these issues were cast aside even though they were front and center right up to his hiring according to former Town Manager Bud Bentley.
As a result we were severely impacted by his hiring for almost 2 years.
The Commission elevated former Director of Development Linda Conners as Interim Town Manager.
From the start of elevating Linda Conners I was for the process being fair and  fully executed.
I was probably the first resident to email her as she was installed to wish her well in her endeavor.
I was also immediate in voicing my disdain and criticism concerning a special meeting to accommodate and decide if former mayor Scot Sasser should be fast tracked for the Town Manager position because it thwarted the process!
To his credit former Mayor Sasser decided it was not the right way to go and respectfully asked to cancel it.
I walked with Linda Conners on El Mar Drive at the start of her interim position which we all thought was just that knowing she would be a candidate for Town Manager.
Unfortunately due to misinformation cast out as fact you chose to extend her interim position based on Ken Parker’s dictum which was counter to our past process.
With the exception of Mayor Vincent who tried to remind the dais of the importance of the process in the Zoom meeting that delayed it the commission chose to revisit it in October.
The agenda for Oct. 12,2021 under Old Business now has it on to address.
This is again thwarting the process in its placement on a regular agenda with the options it includes-
1. Negotiate a contract with Linda Connors to fill the Town Manager position.
2. Extend the Interim term for Linda Connors.
3. Direct Staff to Hire FCCMA or a consultant to conduct a search and assist as necessary in the Town Manager recruitment.
We are 4 meetings away from January 2022 and candidates filing to run for 3 seats on the dais in March.
It is customary in our town to defer such impacting decisions to the incoming new commission.
By taking Ken Parker’s advice and holding off the search you should not proceed in either hiring or starting a search which will tie the hands of the next commission due to either lack of process or the time the process will take which coincides with our municipal election.
This means keeping the status quo until the new commission is in place which is really the only fair and transparent option.
Sadly, if a majority on this commission choose to disregard our history of deference to a new commission so close to an election,
the Town Manager position requires a Special Meeting as well as signs, banners and alerts for public participation as a Round Table or a project that impacts our town!
Those you represent now and in the future will be watching and depending on this commission to adhere to your responsibility to make our next Town Manager a success starting with a fair and transparent process based on history, process and doing the right thing!
Thank you,
Barbara Cole
https://legistarweb-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/attachment/pdf/1094428/CoverPage.pdf
Christopher Vincent Mayor 954-612-8606 [email protected]
Buz Oldaker Vice Mayor 954-530-5279 [email protected]
Elliott Sokolow Commissioner 954-599-5800 [email protected]
Edmund Malkoon Commissioner 954-802-3403 [email protected]
Randy Strauss Commissioner 954-566-5297 [email protected]
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