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Here’s The Scoop … The September 27, 2010 Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Regular Commission Meeting … Resolution For A New Town Manager … All On Board ….

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN THE CAPTAIN HAS TURNED OFF THE FASTEN SEAT BELT SIGN  ….IT LOOKS LIKE SMOOTH SKIES AHEAD … FINALLY….

Dear Readers … at the Sept. 27,2010 Reg. Comm. Mtg. under Resolutions was Resolution 2010-31  to adopt an employment agreement for Constance Hoffmann as Town Manager…. Ms. Hoffmann has shown this Town over the last 5 months what those of us knew was missing and what those who were completely snookered by false statements…deliberate actions to thwart transparency …and constant fearmongering from those who had much to lose if they were not in power did not realize ….until the last 5 months….. was really happening behind the scenes over the past few years….and what an experienced Town Manager really delivers compared to a former Finance Director who was never right for the job … This resolution and vote which came after a totally transparent agreement process unlike the previous Town Manager’s (prev. posts) … with the input of all 5 Commissioners …It should have been a resolution of pure accolades and appreciation due to the last 5 months of performance… Unfortunately though there was a “clueless” fly in the ointment when Commissioner “Cluelesss” Clottey sadly carried out what had to be the CIC- Colon-ista bunch’s last attempt at life by trying to skew the agreement … As stated before it had to have been an orchestrated endeavor from the very few that showed up for the CIC meeting the evening before (we hear they have called for another meeting to rally the troops… are there any takers left who want to be a part of this troop?)….Comm. Clottey embarrassed herself with her comments …and looked visibly uncomfortable carrying it out…in this writer’s opinion ….but she did it anyway…and was summarily shot down by her fellow dais members… She made a comment about being glad the Int. TM would be negotiating for us…This writer took it as a not too subtle swipe of insinuating Ms. Hoffmann had negotiated a deal for Town Manager that was good for her and not us…Not so!…

Below is an overview of the agenda item with much of the verbatim  commentary… Ms. Hoffmann showed once again the glaring difference between her and her predecessor as she sat up there composed and professional…and had the last remarks that really put poor “Clueless” and her ilk in their place…(see below)…Touche’….

The item Resolution 2010-31 was read by the TAtty. with one addition…a number of sick leave days are currently accrued…14.2 hours…It was left blank until it could be added correctly…The Mayor asked for public comments and two were made…Diane Boutin, Windjammer Resort complimented the dais for their work with the soon to be Town Manager …She stated Ms. Hoffmann had been fully vetted and brings with her enormous experience that the Town has never really benefited of and she said she though we would be light years ahead…ending with a congratulations to the dais … Next was resident Bill Vitoli who stated he wanted to say the same…that a lot of people in town he has talked to have said the last few months have made a big difference and wanted to say thank you to Ms. Hoffmann adding he hoped she would get everything she wanted including sick days and welcomed her …There were no others wishing to speak..

The Vice Mayor had his button pressed but the Mayor asked to speak first …something she usually does not do…

Mayor Minnet stated she “wanted to thank you, the Commission for appointing me to be liaison. I worked closely with the Town Attorney and Ms. Hoffmann to really pull together something that this Town could be very proud of and this Town could take forward so that we can really have something to be happy about and I think Ms. Hoffmann has showed herself. She was sort of thrown into many things that have happened and many of them have come about and she’s done a great job bringing them all together into some sense of understanding and reality or whatever that case may be. I do just want to thank this Commission for giving me the opportunity to be the liaison. I worked hard, we worked hard and together on this. I know that Ms. Hoffmann was very cooperative on anything that we asked her to do. I know sh will be even this evening if there’s any questions of her. So, I’m excited about moving this resolution forward for the Town and with that I’m looking forward to what your recommendations and your comments are.”…She passed it on to Vice Mayor Dodd…

Vice Mayor Dodd- “I want to thank all parties involved in coming to a very fair agreement fair to the Town Manager and fair to the Town. When I compare what went on last time and the subsequent problem it is clear that this dais has learned from the mistakes, moved forwards, handled the issue transparently, benefited from the mayor being the liaison, benefited from each commissioner speaking to the Town Attorney after reading the contract. I’m not sure how much the town attorney enjoyed 5 wan-a-be lawyers discussing a single contract. The commissioners wanted to understand all the changes and additions to the contract that protects the Town and the Manager. I would be honored to make the motion on behalf of the Mayor who was liaison for this when we get that point in the agenda. Thank you”

Mayor Minnet then acknowledged Commissioner Clottey…

Comm. Clottey-” Yes, I think ah, Ms. Hoffmann that you have done a wonderful job and I don’t have any criticism of the job at all. I also want to commend you on your negotiating skills and I’m glad that you, from now on you will be negotiating for the Town. And I do have a few concerns. Ah, there were a lot of people that complained a lot about the salary and the benefits that the last Town Manager got. No one on this dais had anything to do with that contract. I thought the Town Manager was overpaid and when people asked me I told them that. Um, there were benefits that people came up here and complained, but you have a contract and you’re held to that contract. What I had heard from some members on this dais sitting here saying that when we give a contract to a Town Manager we should not be tying the hands of future Commissions and therefor I find it questionable why we are offering a three year contract and tying the hands of the next Commission. We really should be offering a two year contract in response to some of the comments that have been made previously from people on this particular dais. We’re in hard economic times and yet off the top we’re saying here is nine weeks of paid sick leave. Where can, is this the norm? When you start a job to give you nine weeks in the bank paid sick leave, ah, I’m gonna have a very hard time explaining that to the people in this community. As much as I like what Connie is doing, there’s no question I like it, but we have to look the people in the face in this community and say is this reasonable. I personally am not sure. Um, I’m not sure it is. But, these are things that ah, we as a Commission need to think about because the reason some of you are sitting here is because you sat out there and said that the, that was unreasonable to give somebody else. And now that I’m sitting here and have to vote on something I have um, a problem and it’s got nothing to do with job performance because I think the job performance has been very good. But we do owe something to the taxpayers in this Town. With that I yield.”

BC- before the comments made in response to Comm. Clottey ..this writer would like to point out a few problems with Comm. Clottey’s comments…First of all if this contract offered a 2 yr. term vs. a 3 yr term…it would still impact the next Comm. due to the next municipal election being in March 2012 and this contract beginning in Sept. 2010..thus ending after that election… Also it has not only a term..but the serves at the pleasure inclusion…and the payout must be seen and approved by the Comm. prior to distribution which are also stated to be one half 30 days after the TM departs and the second half 180 days after to not have the Town take the hit we did with Olinzock et al disregarding the direction of the TAtty/Comm. and overpaying Colon resulting in a settlement that lets her off the hook for any found past acts…and the hit we took on a single large lump sum being made Colon … Clottey’s comments about the norm…Did she look around to see?…Don’t think so…And if she were so concerned about the 9 weeks sick leave…that Ms. Hoffmann does NOT receive when she departs as Colon did…why did she not make a motion or try to negotiate it with the Int. TM on the dais in front of the taxpayers?… If Clottey was so disturbed by it why did she vote for the agreement along with her fellow Commissioners?… As far as her inaccuracies concerning the two new Comms. and why they are sitting up there… she has show once again she has a problem alright…she has a problem with dealing with the full facts and being led by the nose by her Achilles heel…still besotted by the former Comm. on El Mar Drive …into making statements and comments such as she continues to spout… Note to “Clueless”…for the rest of your term…take A1A and keep away from El Mar Drive…

The Mayor stated after Clottey’s comments that she would address them…The Vice mayor agreed and said he wanted to make a point of information on “that one”…The Mayor agreed and went first…

Mayor Minnet-” There were some comments made about tying the hands of future Commissions and that is a remark that I have said quite a few times and in reference to that it was the large severance that the previous Town Manager received. A one year severance and that quite frankly was holding hostage future Commissioners to have to have such a large monetary amount to have to come up with to ask the Town Manager to go. So thank you Commissioner Clottey for allowing me to define what I meant by that and that is what I meant by that is I don’t want future Commissions to have to be financially held or tied hands, that they can allow a Town Manager to go with a fair amount of severance and have he or she go their way.So, thank you for allowing me to make that consideration. As far as some of your other comments made, I think we need to really take a look at this agreement and what Ms. Hoffmann has agreed to. There aren’t any other added benefits to this. There’s no car allowance. There’s no cell phone. There is quite a few other benefits the previous Town Manager was getting and I think those are things that need to be stated to the residents. It’s not just a dollar figure and I think Ms. Hoffmann is sitting here and understands that and so do most of the residents who are out there.”…Mayor Minnet went on to state she had looked at the Deerfield contract for their TM …the salary was higher and there was a $25,000 addition of benefits including car/cell phone and laptop in …”none of these are on this contract and that does need to be taken into consideration.” As far as the sick time was concerned she said she “could understand where it may need to be worked through.”…The Mayor stated Ms. Hoffmann and she had discussed ti and went on to state that’s why this up before this dais and why it was given to each Commissioner ahead of time to talk through with the TAtty….”before it got to this point and this was what they came up with.”…The Mayor also stated that any concerns from the dais or any changes desired could be addressed right then with Ms. Hoffmann…She followed that by stating “But, what Ms. Hoffmann brings to this dais is a level of expertise that this community has not had in a very long time and I for one am very excited to have this move forward in a positive way for this community and finally look at this community as one…” She espoused further on on past divisiveness stating after it was time to move forward and “with this contract” that could happen…With that she turned it over to the VM to respond to Clottey’s commentary…

Vice Mayor Dodd-” I just wanted also to reiterate there is no paid sick leave if the Town Manager leaves under this contract. There is no paid benefit for sick leave. On the question of vacation days, I want to verify the Town Manager starts with ten vacation days and then the vacation days are then earned.” He went on to explain the calculation of 6.2 hrs. of vacation time for every two weeks of service on the contract…adding it is limited how much can be carried forward so there are no huge payouts as a result of the Town Manager not taking them (as it was for Colon/Baldwin)…”So these are major changes in the way the contract was structured and I am absolutely thrilled the level of experience the ten years that Ms. Hoffmann brings to this dais. The starting salary is less than the previous Town Manager .”

BC- Colon left just shy of 2 yrs…w/ a salary that increase from $146,000+ to 169,000+and again she was a Finance Director who was making 90,000+ and started at the top salary her predecessor left w/ after all his years of service…

VM Dodd-” There are many other major changes in the structure of the contract. I have absolutely no problems. This contract has a three year time limit and I think that’s very fair to both parties. The previous contract had no time limit. Everybody said it was for life. There are so many other changes in this contract and I would be proud as I said earlier to make the motion on behalf of the Mayor to approve it.”

Comm. Sasser-” Yes, first thank you Vice Mayor you hit most of my points so I apologize if some of these are repetitive. But I would like to start off by saying that the Mayor said Connie had experience and was at a level we haven’t had in quite a while. I’m not real sure we’ve ever had someone of Connie’s caliber sitting up here and I’m proud to be part of the team with her. And as I looked at this contract there were a couple of things that I had to consider. One is what the job is actually worth and then what is Connie actually worth. Connie is worth a lot more than what we’re giving her and I appreciate the professionalism she’s shown through this negotiation. As far as the job is concerned she’s getting paid less than the previous Town Manager whom she is head and shoulders above. There is a significant decrease for those of you who are concerned about what the previous Town Manager took with her upon her leaving. To give you an idea that was a years severance. This has been cut down to three months. Connie has agreed to a three month severance. The sick leave. I’m not real sure if we’re really worried about her getting sick or if we’re worried about how many sick dollars she takes with her when she leaves, and as the Vice Mayor just pointed out, that’s zero. She doesn’t take any sick dollars with her. The vacation is capped so that we don’t continue to do that. Another thing that I think is important that you all know is that the Commission evaluation of our Town Manager now means something because based on our evaluation we have the ability to reduce her salary. I’m not real sure that’s in any other Town Manager contract and she’s probably gonna get in trouble for agreeing to that one with her fellow Town Managers. And then again, as the Vice Mayor just pointed out, this is not an endless contract, it is a three year term. So that we all have to come back to the table. This was a negotiation, one that I felt that the Town Manager was very fair on compared to what she’s worth and with that I yield.”

Comm. Vincent-” Thank you, I’m gonna keep this short and probably a little redundant as well. But I do want to point out if there was ever a contract binding any Commission, it was the prior Town Manager’s contract which we discussed earlier, number one no termination and the fact that there’s aone year severance.”…

BC- Comm. Vincent misspoke we opine…for the previous TM’s contract had a termination clause.. what it did not have was a term for employment…Comm. Vincent went on to read section 2.4 of Ms. Hoffmann’s agreement for serving at the pleasure of the Commission…which the prev. TM had as well…and explaining what that meant in a rather disjointed manner..see below…

Comm. Vincent-” What that means is we’re not bind here by a one year severance as it was the prior Town Manager was we’re bind here by an agreed three months which we think is most fair in the event the relationship doesn’t work. So it doesn’t bind this Commission or any future Commission within the three year term of this contract. And with that being said I want to welcome again Ms. Connie Hoffmann and we’re very proud to have you as out Town Manager. Thank you.”

The acknowledged Comm. Clottey to speak again…

Comm. Clottey- ” I will vote for this contract because I think Connie Hoffmann has done a wonderful job. But I also think that it is my responsibility as the Commissioners sitting up here to point out some of the flaws of this contract. There is a clause in there about um, if we’re not happy with the performance that a vote of at least four Commissioners can result in a certain action. That takes us to a new dimension folks! Usually in this Town it’s a majority vote ans I think it’s my responsibility to point that out to you ah, cause all of us will be responsible for this particular contract and will not be able to say to people in the future I had nothing to do with this. We all did and again as I said it’s got nothing to do with performance. It has to do with protecting the rights of the taxpayers and um, again Connie, I’m glad that you’re gonna be negotiating for us in the future. I’ll repeat that again, and um, with that I’ll yield.”

BC- WOW!… Commissioner “Clueless” has done nothing for the taxpayers or taken any responsibility in this writer’s opinion…She has just produced empty claims and carried out her duties as directed…again in this writer’s opinion…If she was really doing her duty…If she was really concerned and taking responsibility…she would have put the Int. TM on the spot as well as the dais and asked Ms. Hoffmann to address and negotiate the bank of sick days and the number of vacation days…Clottey would have called on her fellow Commissioners and Ms. Hoffmann to address and discuss the required 4 Commission votes rather than a majority vote to lower her salary if her performance was found inferior…She did none of that …canceling out any semblance of due diligence as she wanted to portray in the process …What she did do is sound an awful lot like former VM McIntee with her “folks” comment which was quite amusing to this writer… because we all know he was a one term Commissioner ….just as she will be …

Mayor Minnet then spoke to again state she was proud of the contract…again state it was a negotiation that was hard on both sides …and that the results are that we will be able to move forward without the residents and the Commissions hands being tied to having to pay out an exorbitant amount of money as this dais had to pay out for the previous Town Manager…She then acknowledged the Vice Mayor to make his motion….

Vice Mayor Dodd stated “I’d be proud to make a motion on your behalf that we adopt Resolution 2010-31.”…The Mayor asked for a second…which was made by Comm. Sasser…a vote was taken and Resolution 2010-31 passed 5-0…

There was a loud round of applause in Jarvis Hall…The Mayor rose from her seat and went over to Town Manager Hoffmann extending her hand and a kiss on the cheek to congratulate her on her appointment…

Town Manager Hoffmann-” I’d just like to thank everybody  for the really kind comments and I will certainly do everything in my power to live up to them. I’m honored to be the Town Manager of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. In the short time that I’ve worked here I’ve grown to really love it and I hope in time everyone will feel you got a good bargain here and I’m glad I have a job!”…

BC- again loud applause came from the hall and the dais… With this vote and this 3 year term coming after the 2010/2011 budget …we will move forward as the Mayor stated throughout this item’s discussion on the dais…This month the Commission will proceed with the planned one Comm. mtg (2nd Tues ea. mo. 7 pm Jarvis Hall) and one Roundtable mtg. each month (4th Tues. ea. mo. 7 pm Jarvis hall) to see if it will be a model that will be as conducive with our town as it is in Adventura now that we are done with both important decisions made this evening… This Commission should continue to see ongoing improvements within our Town, inside Town Hall as well as throughout the town with ongoing communicative customer service offered now to our residents, businesses and vendors …Continuing on with full transparency …innovative ideas… restructuring of town departments…and of course aiding the Commission and the Town from a vast amount of past experience in carrying out the vision of a municipality’s future to thrive … A look at the Town Manager’s progress report previously posted shows all of that and more is already in the works…

That being said… in LBTS….it should be now be …smooth skies ahead…Taxpayers of LBTS….You are all free to walk around the “cabin”…and not worry about any sudden nosedives!….

more to come…

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