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Here’s The Scoop … April 12, 2009 LBTS Round Table …Not So Fast …

TIME TO HIT EM’….HARD …

Dear Readers … The first Round Table finally met and though it was a little rocky in places…it’s definitely a step in the right direction on the whole… Most impressive was the Attorney Richard Weiss who tried to guide the new commission into this new way of diving up the discussion between a regular commission meeting and this forum.. He gave the commissioners some early pointers on what goes back on the agenda…(anything “ripe”) …and what goes to staff to move on with either to prepare to go forth or for more information…They need some more work on getting it straight …and will as they get more used to the ins and outs ….it should be more of a brainstorming session to bring any and all discussion forth and then see what is accepted by the majority to proceed with or not… that too will come in time…

It was troubling to see some of the old familiar antics taking center stage from the Town Manager..who had too much time allotted to her input without being addressed to do so…Most of what she did put forth was highly charged…condescending …inaccurate and downright wrong. …

Before she got going though this writer found the “Town Planner” quite “smarmy” when he was addressing the commission with a little background…He started out by explaining the service he provides the Town not being “full time”…He charges per hour and budgets 4 hrs…2 hrs research and 2 hrs report…to give the best recommendation in what he is being asked for…He went around the bend whether intentionally or not when he added that he could always add more hours and charge more if we required more information than a “birds eye view report”…Vice Mayor Dodd did score points later on when asking Mr. Barton what he charges for those 4 hrs…and finding out it was $600….The Town Manager piped up about the legalities involved with not using the engineer for the bocce ball courts …but she was actually shot down by Mr. Weiss when he said there was no legal requirements for bocce ball.. TM Colon none too pleased continued down this path of safety …and still she received no traction… The option presented by resident Buster Celestino will move ahead through staff to see the costs etc…and it will be included on the Manager’s progress report as it gets underway…The Town Manager was also off in saying that for the $3000 she and staff could have done it a month ago with no need to come to the commission…HUH?…A month ago it was supposed to cost $200,000 according to her and her staff !…If the monies are not in the recreation budget they  will be moved from the contingency fund…(We should have monies due to no swimming etc…)…

On to the Chamber roof where again the Town Planner was smarmy on his role …another 4 hour stint…He did not meet with contractors …He was told that temporary sealants had not worked to solve the problems…He tried to talk again about the engineering of what was required as he let the cat out of the bag…it was an whole new roof that he was instructed on…Comm.Vincent took off on the subject as he swiftly asked all the pertinent questions and was given a myriad of answers that were more non-answers than answers …The Town Manager was rewriting history about what the previous commission was informed on with the problems from the past…and the Mayor took her and Asst. JohnO to task for not supplying that timeline…Town Manager Colon said we were in for a “rude awakening” structurally with the roof…Again Mr. Barton put in a smarmy full time …more hours …more research if the commission wanted more …In the end the item should have been deferred pending full timeline…and time to sort out conflicting information…especially when Colon tried to rewrite this one as well not acknowledging the 2 roofers who were at the Chamber a few months back and the Town Director that along with the roofing companies who told the Chamber the permits were in progress…Public outrage over a metal roof and removal of the cupola were the reason it was shelved…It’s back to the drawing board… and ultimately input from the Chamber this go round…

The tennis lights were handed over to the Mayor to espouse on after Mr. Barton briefly described his choices and recommendation saying this study was “easier”…This is her area of expertise …and she spoke of a cost effective alternative…recreational lights that will do the trick…and a full estimate for cost and specifications… Funny was when it turned to talk of the light impacting the neighbors and the Mayor said the lights had shields as part of the design…VM Dodd said maybe they could use those for El Prado and Barton said he could assist in that as well..Hmmm…

The ball was dropped briefly in the Capital Improvements item…no discussion…which should have been the one time for the Town Manager to speak up…

On to the minutes and a dazzling display of why Town Clerk White is still not certified as a Town Clerk this late in her employment and the …Town Manager going all out to cover for her inadequacies…..VM Dodd asked about Granicus and the minutes…He received this response from White…”First of all I can let you know Granicus does not do the minutes, I do”…Brilliant…we all know that…It went from bad to worse with ineptness from White on her difficulties in providing a full record of meetings… as she described more detail would mean more time on the minutes!…Yep,…to that I say 2007 and Tina, Tina, Tina!… The Town Manager piped up and said they spent $60-70 thousand on Granicus and spoke of former VM Yanni wanting a webcast for those to watch from Ohio!…Though VM Dodd reminded Colon of the savings of staff Granicus was to provide …(It was Colon who is on record saying the purchase would take the place of an Asst. TM.. With JohnO sitting next to her..we know how well that worked out!…The standard lines of any such improvements being cost prohibitive…coming from both White and Colon…This time out they did not work as Comm. Sasser stood his ground and said cost come down…and he was insistent that  the research White said she was doing with upgrading Granicus continue and not be limited to minutes only…As he won this one…Colon threw in that other companies were being looked into as well… The problem with the minutes is much more than just public comments…and should not be accepted until they are right…

Imperial Lane was up next and the decision on an arm or some deterrent to slow down the traffic coming in from  tourists  and going out from those not wanting to sit for the two and a half minute red light…Choices are a temporary way to one lane the exit…or an arm perhaps bought and maintained by the residents as is done in Terra Mar…Consensus was a temporary fix and more interaction with Broward County to try it…

El Mar Drive was back and this was a huge whitewash on the part of Colon…She completely tried to discount and wiggle out of her huge blunder of not following the Town Purchasing Manual and going out to bid on the job as required by statute…(prev. post)…This was the one I was trying to get to post…but was sidetracked by the happenings of last week with the gas leak… Despite her attempts to first blame lack of following through on the advisory boards and the commission…She has left the Town wide open to lawsuits from competing vendors according to some…Tonight she was very clever in the way she tried to say Chen and Ocampo were only involved in the design concept and no longer were on the job due to the former commission stopping the project due to finally getting the message no one but Cristie Furth and a few of her “Gang” wanted walkways down the center of the medians…(prev. posts)… Not so they were both to be on the project and the Town Manager did not go out for bid…She was questioned by then Comm. Dodd and finally responded on March 11th (prev. post)…What was found by this writer was in the Purchasing Manual…on page 29….

Exceptions To General Purchasing Policies … D.Professional Consultants… “At the discretion of the Town Manager in the use of non-emergency contracts for professional services involving peculiar skill, ability, experience or expertise, which by their very nature are unique and not subject to competitive bidding, are exempt from competitive bidding requirement; however a formal, written contract , approved by the Town Commission, shall be required on all such contracts in excess of fifteen thousand dollars, and applicable state law, such as the auditor selection procedures (Florida statute Section 218.391) and Consultant’s Competitive Negotiation Act (Florida Statute Section 287.055) shall be followed.”…it continued on to page 30 …”….all acquisitions of professional architectural, engineering, landscape architectural, design criteria, surveying or mapping services must be made in compliance with the Consultants’ Competitive Negotiation Act if they are either a construction project costing at least $250,000 or a planning/ study activity where the fee is at least $25,000. Purchases of professional services covered by the Consultant’s Competitive Negotiation Act mus be made from vendors approved by the Town after: “…An RFP/ Advertising for submissions in newspaper of general circulation in Broward County/Selection ranked in order -at least 3 vendors/ fee negotiations or bid openings in ranked order with vendors…. Nothing saying the Town Manager’s “chosen” vendors, the Town Engineers being  used makes this a non- requirement…That was the insinuation made by the Town Manger last night …..

For this writer off base by the statements made by Comm. Clottey on the Stimulus funds we are trying to get…In my opinion she went on record saying we were trying to pull a fast one on the government…..This is not a pedestrian friendly project…and again her job creation scenario does not pass the smell test…This is akin to the Palm Club sewers not being presented as being a private property!….There is no rush on this project as was stated throughout…and the new MPSC should be meeting on their regular night the third Tuesday of the month …

Further discomfort came from the A1A FDOT project from Pine ave. north…We have new numbers being floated …matching funds are now somehow $300,000 for the Town to the State’s $800,000?… We still have no idea what it is we are getting except for some Town Administrators receiving another notch in their belts for acquiring a grant which looks great on a resume’….The landscape/ pedestrian project is a ruse…if it means cutting into the condos front areas up north …and assurances of maybe getting some better signals from JohnO should not make anyone soften up to the whole deal…According to the Manager we won’t know much more before July…

Parking at the Municipal Park was addressed with a call for meters…to make parking available to those that actually use the park…Comm. Vincent was against meters…while VM Dodd was for them…It was the mayor who offered up the solution with making the spaces for residential parking permits only… Looks like next year the price will go up on permits and the permits will again be prorated …If they can find a way the stickers will be able to carry the license plate number to make sure it is properly used by the correct permit owner…

The House/Senate Bill the Mayor wanted a Resolution for to delay the retrofitting of sprinkler systems in condos…(prev. post)… The Manager and the Asst. TM JohnO were for not backing it…but the Commissioners were all in agreement it was a green light to back the resolution…and delay the costly measure….

July 4th…What’s the big deal…It’s a Sunday…have the parade…Ask the businesses if they would like a 3 day event (Mayor’s excellent idea)…The Chamber we hear is ready willing and able to assist….The VFD has always played an important role…Many want more of what they had for Easter By The Sea…from the VFD …after the parade burgers/ hot dogs and firetrucks..bed races in front of the firehouse for the kids in the parade and on the sidelines along with the locals …Let El Prado be left alone…no tent …no big production…and let the businesses provide the entertainment and the food…If there is an overwhelming desire and it’s not too late for getting fireworks…do it..The budget for the 4th is $40,000… Maybe SRLakes wants to go in on a barge again?…The RFP should have gone out Jan-Feb…so we may be out of luck…And as for “Clueless” Clottey…she was wrong…The 4th last year actually cost a little more than the prior year…less donations..less money from food/drinks…They made it up in not having to make the big purchases again made when she and Dodd were in charge…and the smaller fireworks display… (prev. post from PRR for the event)….OOPS!…. Do agree we need a Comm. to chair…That portion will be on the agenda…

Clottey at least had the sense to drop the slogan discussion… finally…

Bus shelters…Say it ain’t so…the Commission at first seemed to want the staff to make the choice…HUH?… JohnO again perpetrated a time frame was in place…according to the prior backup on the agenda..the County had us with no date …The ideas were finally discussed but needed to be brought back again when there was not a consensus…Give it to the MPSC…please!…

The stormwater plan was on just in case the Commission was not going to be privy per the staff’s say so…but now on the agenda ..it was not discussed…

Ocean Energy…Former Comm. Silverstone’s presentation…another feelgood vote…that will most likely get the politically correct vote…to feel good…

Not having a break…there was a little confusion and yep, you guessed it, some rather strange and wrong statements made by TM ( who felt the need to remind the Mayor what this was about…it was not needed)…and JohnO…This was the ordinance with pools in the front yard…and corner lots…It was originally from the D’uva situation correctly stated by VM Dodd and not the Silverstone hot tub…as the TM insisted…It was back due to lack of direction from the staff…and lack of information by staff in their account of the P&Z’s advice…It needs to go back to the P&Z …Atty. Weiss said it was already redone for the board…but discussion was about 2 separate items to include front yard pools and corner yard pools…While Comm.  Clottey and Comm. Vincent were for front yard pools the P&Z was not… It will go back…to a new P &Z…in May….

The meeting adjourned without mention of Round Table meeting #2…that should be addressed tonight at the Reg. Comm. meeting…which should be done at a reasonable hour with a large portion of the items taken care of ….with off the dais discussion…

more to come…

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