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Here’s The Scoop … The Lauderdale-By-The-Sea June 14, 2011 Commission Round Table … #3 … It Could Have Been A Seinfeld Episode …

LENGTHY DISCUSSION ABOUT LENGTHY DISCUSSIONS …

Dear Readers …item 3b. on the LBTS Commission Roundtable was the Mayor’s “Discussion Regarding the Length of Commission Meetings”…This writer assumed the Mayor had finally realized the error of her ways as the Chair of these Roundtables and how ineffective she had been in that role as well as how this experiment based on Aventura proved to be a bad fit…On top of that I assumed there would be some succinct discussion with direction offered up from the Town Manager on how to not only return to two commission meetings but to get those to run more efficiently as well…No such luck…It became a Seinfeld episode when it stretched out to approximately 25 minutes with most of that time being taken up by the Mayor herself! … ( To decide a date for Rep West took the commission 10 minutes, this item took 25 minutes and when it came to the purchasing manual the Mayor wanted no discussion and to move it on to the commission meeting…talk about priorities) …It also became quite apparent that Comm. Clottey and the Mayor took this opportunity to take aim at Vice Mayor Dodd’s agenda item concerning referendum items on the 2012 ballot which was on for a second time….The Commission spent a lot of time talking about the same things they talked about shortly after they were elected at their procedural meetings and again at multiple meetings that followed since then questioning the roundtables and priorities …

Here’s what I think needs to happen… The priorities that were already made in 2010 need to be put back in place.. Commissioners should receive the backup as it is turned into the Town Clerk for each meeting allowing them a longer amount of time to digest what they will base their decisions on instead of the status quo which is near to or after dinner time on the Friday before the meetings … Commissioners should then have 4 or 5 salient points on each topic to present and move on…For constituent issues that arise all they have to do is address what they have done to address them in their Comm. comments in order to show they have done their due diligence … They also need to have the Town Manager go through her whole report before moving on as it is a vital part of each meeting … Her reports need to include a complete professional services section updated each month ….The Commission needs to allow the Town Manager /Town Attorney to remind them of past actions they have made in order to not waste time reversing decisions due to no retention or recall on previous decisions they made… And as both Comm. Sasser and the Mayor who pointed out they need to see if there is consensus in moving items along and that Administration has the direction required…I am also hopeful that the dais members will discontinue the need to expand on their comments and tell us about their feelings or do any electioneering spin …  just the issue and the policy decision …There is no reason these meetings cannot be finished by 10 pm … After all we have seen this happen in the past from these same Commissioners …

Item 3b. mostly verbatim  … As you read the comments made from the commission remember these commissioners have served together for 15 months…

Mayor Minnet- ” Alright the next item is discussion regarding the length of commission meetings. I actually put this on not so much as the time but the actual agenda items themselves. um, what can we do as a commission to work through these agendas both on our workshop,on our roundtables and on our commission meetings to see what we can do to move these forward? I think it’s important. I know I made a commitment to the residents that I would do that and we seem to being bogged down on certain items coming back multiple times for discussion. Um, is that something that we want to continue to have happen and I just think that’s important to. It plays into where we’re at with our Town Attorney and all of the issues that surround the lengths of these meetings and the substantive issues that we’re discussing within those agenda meetings and are some of those items served best at a staff level or are the items that could be discussed first at the staff level and then brought back to this commission for policy decisions. So that was why I put that out there. We may not get alot of discussion on that tonight but I did want to put that out there um, because there are items in this roundtable that we’ve already discussed. There are items on commission meetings that we’ve already discussed. Um, so I just, again I wanted to bring that forward sort of hear from the rest of us and maybe be our own police at times cause I know there’s been times that I’ve done the same thing so, I’m, I’ll be the first to raise my hand to say that I’ve done it too. Um, but I think we need to be more diligent. The fact is we’re coming into budget time right now. We have alot of meetings that are coming up. There’s alot of things residents may call us and ask us to put on the agenda but I think we really need to look at those and see where they’re at in the priorities.

Comm. Clottey- ” I’d like to add something Mayor, um, I try to go to the Town Manager if it’s some of the smaller things and we try to solve things that doesn’t need to go to the commission and there’s alot of things that we ask the Town to do administratively and that does cut down the number of items that go on the agenda.”

Mayor Minnet- ” The other thought could be if items do, if we do have items that we’d like to have brought forward maybe have the Town Clerk keep a file of those so that we then bring it back to our review when we review everything with the Town Manager and these items then become priorities. Um, you know I don’t want anything to get lost in the shuffle because they’re important items that come up for all our residents and all our businesses. So again, I just wanted to discuss that with everyone.”

Comm. Clottey- ” Well we don’t really follow this meeting using Roberts Rules. At the commission meetings we do and Roberts Rules say that if the others have voted something down that you have to be on the winning side to put something back and we haven’t held to that. But I don’t believe Roberts Rules apply to the roundtable so you can bring it back as much as you want.”

Mayor Minnet- ” Well, do we want to adopt that Roberts Rules of Order apply to roundtables?”

Vice Mayor Dodd- ” Um, I think you’re all being a little unfair because you haven’t had the discussion yet that I intend to bring up on the referenda and you’re all grasping at that because you feel that I put it on two meetings. I would like to say that commission meetings are long anbd that we are not using roundtables as they were originally intended and I believe it’s time to suspend their use and go back to two commission meetings. I would still like to keep the option open to hold a roundtable if some of the commission feel we need the more lengthy discussion on a particular item. If you look at today’s agenda it reveal 18 items. Only 5 were placed by the commissioners. One of those was administrative to try and reach a mutually acceptable date. The other 13 items places in this agenda by Town staff cannot be voted on at this meeting by us because those are the rules of the roundtable and I believe we need to go back to two commission meetings, I’m afraid. I like the roundtable format because it allows us to have a mutual interchange. I will deal with the item that you keep trying to hound me on , the referendum when we get there and yes, I deliberately put it on again because I want to nail each of you down as to exactly where you stand and where your campaign promises are and where you stand for the future on this particular issue and I will deal with it when we get there. But, we’re dealing currently with are roundtables working. I think we can go back to the two commission meeting format where the second commission meeting starts off with public comments. We don’t have the address stuff at the beginning. We don’t have the presentations because at the moment when you look at what we’re doing we are holding a special meeting and then a roundtable and I don’t think that’s working. But I don’t want to dispose completely so, I would actually be in favor of going back to two commission meetings with the option that we can call a roundtable should we desire one.”

Comm. Clottey- Well, I like having  the roundtables and I don’t think that we should follow Roberts Rules so that we can be more spontaneous. I like that but that doesn’t preclude having two commission meetings if need be and I don’t have any problem with this special commission meeting being called as long it’s on the same day or at least the same week as we have our regular either roundtable or commission meeting.”

Com. Sasser- ” Everyone’s lookin at me, I guess it’s my turn. I agree. I think we need to go back to two commission meetings but I do enjoy the roundtables. One of the things I’ve noticed and I will say that I do this as well, one of the things I would like for us to at least discuss tonight is how do we police ourselves in asking staff to go and do something and if in fact that they go off and work on that and we don’t reach consensus that we all want staff doing that. It happens at the meeting all the time. I have one on here as a matter of fact that I said hey, I’d love for you to go off and work on it and we see it on the agenda and again we didn’t really reach consensus. So, I see that happening alot and I think that pours more work on. We ought to have more accountability to our priorities that we’ve set. So, maybe it’s just policing of ourselves and I’ll be the first one to say hey, as I notice it. I ask all of you to keep me in line as well but just as easily as at the meetings just say do we have consensus on that before we go send Connie or Bud or these folks off doing it. And again I see a number of those on here and I admit there’s one or two that are min so.”

Mayor Minnet cut him off -“Alright, that’s why I brought it, again, I was the first one to say I think we’re all guilty of it to some degree.” She then asked the TAtty. for her thoughts on the roundtable…This too has been done before and the response from TAtty. Trevarthen was essentially the same when she spoke of how cities work  either way ..have them or not…what the purpose is to be less constrained due to not having the restraints associated with a regular commission meetings…She also spoke of this commission not having 2 day long meetings as were the case often with the previous commission…She said if they wanted to go back they could and they could also program their meetings with certain topics as well..

Comm. Sasser – said he heard what she was saying but that part of why they have all these special meetings is to be able to vote and not wait until they can at a regular commission meeting and if they did what she was proposing that would arise again and he did not think that would solve the problem…He again stated they need to be able to vote,have discussion and police themselves…He went on say they could look at the agendas at the start of the meetings and see if they are priority items but he added it’s campaign season and he didn’t want to get into arguments…in jest..

Mayor Minnet-” Well there was something that the Town Manager mentioned at the last meeting is, and that was that on the sheets themselves we should say is that on the priority list and I think that’s important. I do think that we need to go to two commission meetings. I think it will move things along quicker . I think it’s important that those agenda sheets do show on there what we’ve looked at as a priority as far as high, medium and low or never been discussed before. I think that we need to police ourselves to bring more information into what we’re looking for on those agenda sheets so staff isn’t just running around looking for things um, so I think that again we need to be more deliberate in that so we can make sure that a quicker basis. So, with that I’ll let Connie speak.” …The Town Manager wanted to make a few suggestions for the commission to consider …They included having the two regular commission meetings plus a two hour roundtable prior to one of them that runs from 5-7 pm.. She stated she had worked under that situation and it worked well…(As prev. posted TM Hoffmann was unaware of the backlash to previous pre-meetings that were the norm under Mayor Parker) … She also needed to clarify with the commission procedure she was operating under that anything out of the ordinary went to the roundtable…She said i would be easier if straight forward items such as the fire inspection fees could go directly to the commission meetings …less controversial items …She also asked that anything designated high priority goes to the top of this list because the at present many of those items fall to the end of agendas and because the commission is tired due to the late hour they are not discussed or moved to the next agenda…Mayor Minnet responded that was “no problem” and spoke of the past when items were taken in the order as they were received for placement on the agenda…She again reiterated the need for two commission meetings and questioned the time of 5 pm for a meeting and the difficulty for residents to attend them…She asked if public comments would be allowed at those 5pm meeting or at the commission meeting that followed…those were her two concerns she said..

Comm. Clottey- ” The only thing I have as a concern is that we’re elected officials and we have constituents that we need to answer to and we need to answer to people in the town and if they came to us with a problem it not be on the priority list. We have an obligation to the people in this community to put something on at least to talk it out. I don’t want to see that particular items you know we have to talk about it. That’s our duty. That’s our duty to the people of this town.”

Comm. Sasser -” Madam Mayor, I agree with Commissioner Clottey but at the same time I would like to have and I realize you run the meetings as the Chair so that’s the reason I’m looking at you,but I’d like to have the option as we discuss something, possibly a new business or whatever, when we get to the end of the discussion I or, have a short discussion, any of us to be able say can we push this off as a low priority and perhaps it goes on a list that Connie or June or somebody keeps that says you know what we can we vote just to say hey let’s push this off as a lower priority. That sort of option.”

Mayor Minnet-” I, I had mentioned that, that we have a list of priorities but they don’t get just lost in the waves.”(Comm. Sasser agree… Those are important items. I do think that, that’s important that we review those items um, and I think that time could be when we’re reviewing with the Town Manager her, um, the next year. You know we can review those sense of priorities that we have looked at during the year that did come up as priorities. So again, I don’t want that to be something that we don’t, we don’t look at just gets thrown into the abyss. I’m not sure roundtables makes sense right now. I think we’ve seen unfortunately that they haven’t worked I, I would say let’s go to two commission meetings and then we will schedule either a roundtable or workshop if we need them.”…Comm. Sasser agreed and joked about Comm. Vincent needing to wear a tie at every meeting and Comm. Vincent laughingly responded he had been doing so … The Town Atty. answered the Mayor about what needed to be done to change back to the long held format ft two commission meetings stating it was a simple resolution change…There was no specifics but we assume that will be on the next commission meeting on the 28th so that two commission meetings in July ..

This redundant lengthy exchange lasted again approximately 25 minutes…

more to come…

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