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Here’s The Scoop … The Perfect Commissioner For LBTS …

ORDINANCE 2009-32 – CODE OF ETHICS …

Dear Readers … If the current commission gets the ethics ordinance 2009-32 on the March 9, 2010 ballot and it passes by a vote of the uninformed voters …due to the innocuous wording (see below)… The perfect candidate for the 2010 LBTS commission and every commission thereafter will be a Hobo…as long as he is registered to vote and has stayed within the Town limits 6 months prior to the election…He has no property…no business in town…(no panhandling allowed) …he is not affiliated with anyone…and we can be assured he is only owns one hat!…

Tonight the first ordinance up for first reading is on ethics… How did we arrive at this juncture?… The “2-Hats/Broom Boys”… on the dais McIntee and Silverstone along with the political climate at large with corruption found throughout the County, State and Federal levels.. What was being asked for , originally from Comm. Dodd  was really pretty simple to agree to and abide by as a dais …But alas, it was just too much to ask from McIntee and Silverstone…It would mean they would be left on the sidelines for the remaining 3 members to vote …An early look at the meetings soon after the majority on the commission changed clearly shows the trepidation these 2 had when abstaining from the vote to contract with the VFD … This was when all was friendly between the new commissioners and the “2-Hats”….. Following this all important vote was the fallout after McIntee-Silverstone-Furth threw Comm. Dodd under the bus after for his request for a “sabbatical” from the CIC while an elected official…and then any chance of leaving anything VFD related to the remaining 3 commissioners to decide was  off the table…Thus, came into play the McIntee -“We don’t take a dime” response for not recusing himself…Jimmy-boy as always went along … Any commentary about McIntee’s son benefiting as a VFD trainer…or McIntee driving the new command car…holding onto a VFD credit card…and purchasing all things large and small…were swept under the proverbial -majority on the dais rug!… Commissioner Clottey always ready to do anything that would affect in some adverse way the Mayor, put forth the absurd idea that you could not do business in this town…give out business cards etc… The boys…hopped on board …even though the impact of this would affect Comm. Silverstone more than anyone else…(Silverstone’s turn under the bus?)… The Town Attorney kept mum, offering no comment on the absurdity of the move…further causing concern for unbiased independent opinion coming forth…The ordinance was prematurely distributed to the commissioners a few weeks back…and it was not quite even handed in its content… BUT… the ballot question at least gave some sort of insight to what was contained in the ordinance…the same cannot be said with the version being voted on tonight…

The 1st version (distributed on Nov. 12, 2009) read ..

” VOTING AND BUSINESS TRANSACTION RESTRICTIONS FOR MEMBERS OF THE TOWN COMMISSION.

This Amendment (1) prohibits any Commissioner or Mayor from voting on any matter where the decision will directly affect them in a manner, financially or otherwise, distinct from the manner in which the vote will impact a substantial portion of the Town residents/property owners, and (2) prohibits any Commissioner or Mayor from transacting business unrelated to their elective office with any Town resident or business while in office.”

Shall the above-described Charter Amendment be adopted?”

Yes [ ]

No [ ]

…………………………………………….

The 2nd version (in the backup/on the 12/1/09 agenda) reads…

” CONDUCT AND ETHICS REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAYOR AND TOWN COMMISSIONERS.

The Amendment adopts standards of conduct for the Mayor and Town Commissioners, specifies conflicts of interest that either mandate or allow a Commissioner or Mayor to abstain from voting, establishes procedures for disclosure and conduct related to such abstention from voting, and authorizes the Commission to waive the requirements of the Amendment by unanimous vote if the majority of the Commission is unable to vote.

Shall the above- described Charter Amendment be adopted?”

Yes [ ]

No [ ]

…………………………………………….

WOW!… the March 9, 2010 ballot question for ethics is about the ability for the majority of the Commission to vote to bypass the restrictions in place (no description of the restriction) by a unanimous vote!… It’s akin bogus question # 13 on the Town Manager’s Townwide survey  to support the “current maximum height limit on 33′ in Town”…which of course was purposefully misleading ….. due to the maximum height limit being 44’…

In the 2009-32 ordinance …

“AN ORDINANCE OF THE TOWN OF LAUDERDALE -BY-THE-SEA, FLORIDA, APPROVING AN AMENDMENT TO SECTION 3.4 OF THE TOWN CHARTER PENDING THE RESULTS  OF A REFERENDUM ELECTION REGARDING CONDUCT AND ETHICS REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAYOR AND TOWN COMMISSIONERS; CALLING A REFERENDUM ELECTION ON THE PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE TOWN CHARTER TO BE HELD ON TUESDAY MARCH 9. 2010…”

page 2- sec. 2-

(1) NEW- addition-“Regulation by ordinance authorized”… Not underlined as new-this Charter Amend. is in addition to ethical standards of conduct established by general law…

(2) NEW- addition-“Standards of Conduct”….states- the Mayor/ Commissioners shall comply with standards in part 3 -Fl Statute 112 regulations/ prohibitions for solicitations or acceptance of gifts, doing business with or appearing before the Town , unauthorized compensation, misuse of public position, conflicting employment, contractual relationships, disclosure of certain relationships and lobbying..

(3) NEW- addition-” Effect of conflicts of interest under this section and obligation to vote.”….states- Section 286.012 Fl. Statutes prohibits a Comm. or mayor from abstaining from voting unless there is or APPEARS TO BE a possible conflict of interest under Fl. Statutes….In any situation when abstaining  pursuant to this section the dais member shall be deemed to be able to abstain BECAUSE of the existence or APPEARANCE of a possible conflict of interest under this stature….

(4) NEW- “Requirement to refrain from voting. Neither the Mayor nor any Commissioner shall vote on any matter where the decision will directly affect them in a manner, financially OR OTHERWISE, DISTINCT FROM THE MANNER IN WHICH THE VOTE WILL IMPACT A SUBSTANTIAL PORTION OF TOWN RESIDENTS, BUSINESSES OR PROPERTY OWNERS, OR WHERE THE MAYOR OR COMMISSIONER KNOWS THAT DECISION WILL HAVE A SIMILAR DIRECT EFFECT ON ANY PRINCIPAL BY WHOM HE OR SHE IS RETAINED, OR HIS OR HER RELATIVE OR BUSINESS ASSOCIATE.”

(5) NEW-” Disclosure of business relationships and option to refrain from voting. EXCEPT AS PROHIBITED BY LAW OR REGULATORY STANDARDS, THE MAYOR AND EACH COMMISSIONER SHALL DISCLOSE THE EXISTENCE OF ANY BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP THAT HE/SHE IS AWARE THAT HE/SHE HAS, OR HAS HAD AT ANY TIME WITHIN THE PRIOR 24-MONTH PERIOD, WITH ANY APPLICANT, REPRESENTATIVE OR INTERESTED PERSON THAT APPEARS BEFORE THE TOWN COMMISSION. The disclosure may be given in writing to the Town Clerk or orally at the Commission meeting, and shall be made at or before the time of the appearance. IF THE MAYOR OR COMMISSIONER LEARNS OF SUCH RELATIONSHIP AFTER THE APPEARANCE OF SUCH APPLICANT, REPRESENTATIVE OR INTERESTED PERSON BEFORE THE TOWN COMMISSION ENTERS INTO SUCH A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE APPLICANT, REPRESENTATIVE OR INTERESTED PERSON WITHIN 12 MONTHS FOLLOWING THAT PERSON’S APPEARANCE THE MAYOR OR COMMISSIONER SHALL DISCLOSE THE RELATIONSHIP IN WRITING TO THE TOWN CLERK WITHIN 30 DAYS OF DISCOVERING OR ENTERING INTO THE RELATIONSHIP.” Where the requirement to disclose exists prior to any vote as stated above the Mayor or Commissioners may choose to refrain from voting on the matter.

page 3-(6) NEW- DEFINITIONS-

(a)- “Business relationship- a commissioner or Mayor has a business relationship with a person or an entity if any of the following exist:

1.The Commissioner or Mayor is an officer or director of the entity, or has any ownership interest,directly or indirectly, in excess of 1% in the entity,

2.The Commissioner or Mayor is a partner, co-shareholder or joint venture with the person in any business venture;

3. The entity or person is a client of the Commissioner or Mayor, or a client of another professional working from the same office and for the same employer as the Commissioner or Mayor;

4. The Commissioner or Mayor is a client of the entity or the person;

5. The entity or person is a customer of the Commissioner or Mayor (or his/her employer) and transacts more than 5% of the business in a given calendar year of the Commissioner or Mayor (or his/her employer) or more than $25,000 of business in a given calendar year; or

6. The Commissioner or Mayor is a customer of the entity or the person and transacts more than 5% of the business in a given calendar year of the entity or person or more than $25,000 of business in a given calendar year.”

“However, a business relationship shall not be construed to exist where a Commissioner or Mayor or authorized a contract with an applicant, representative, or interested person solely in their capacity as an office or director of a homeowners, condominium, cooperative or master association.

(b) DIRECTLY AFFECT OR DIRECT EFFECT SHALL NOT INCLUDE EFFECTS THAT ARE COMMON TO A SUBSTANTIAL PORTION OF TOWN RESIDENTS, BUSINESSES OR PROPERTY OWNERS.

(c) Interested Person shall mean any person who speaks for or against any resolution or ordinance before the city commission and who has a direct financial interest in the action (including but limited to, vendors, bidders and proposers) except that owner occupied residential property owners shall not be deemed to have direct financial interest in land use or zoning decisions that affect the value of their property and accordingly shall be within the definition of the term “interested person” as used herein.

(d) SUBSTANTIAL PORTION SHALL MEAN MORE THAN 1% OF TOWN RESIDENTS, BUSINESSES OR PROPERTY OWNERS, AS APPROPRIATE TO THE CIRCUMSTANCE.”

(e) Terms for Part 3 Fl Stat. 112

7. Applicability to firms, business entities and business associates. The restrictions and prohibitions which are imposed by this section upon any Commissioner or Mayor, by virtue of that person’s service (or former service) as a Commissioner or Mayor, shall also be applicable to any firm or business entity in which such Commissioner or Mayor has an employment, independent contractor or material interest and to any business relationship of such Commissioner or Mayor as defined herein,”..”material interest”-per state statute.112.312

8. MAJORITY OF TOWN COMMISSION UNABLE TO VOTE. If the application of this provision results in a majority of the Commission being unable to vote on a matter, then the remaining members of the Commission may approve the matter by unanimous vote.Alternatively, by unanimous vote of those present the Commission may waive the requirements of this section so a quorum will be available to vote. If it finds that such waiver will be consistent with the purposes of this section and will not create or tend to create an appearance of impropriety.

9. Procedures for abstention from voting. Where the Commissioner or Mayor is prohibited from or otherwise chooses to refrain from voting, for any reason he or she shall, prior to the vote being taken publicly state at the Commission meeting the nature of his or her interest in the matter on which he or she is not voting, LEAVE THE ROOM, AND REFRAIN FROM PARTICIPATING IN THE DISCUSSION OF THE MATTER. Where the Commissioner or Mayor is prohibited from or refrains from voting 15 days after the vote occurs, he or she shall file a written disclosure of the nature of his or her interest with the Town Clerk, who shall incorporate the written disclosure into the minutes.”

10. Stricter provisions prevail. nothing in this section shall be construed to impair or diminish any stricter ethical standards in part 3 of chapter 112 Fl Statutes, THIS CHARTER, THE CODE OF ORDINANCES or any applicable federal law.

Included in the backup…kind of like having the footnotes…which always tell more of the “story”…memo’s from the Town Atty. … background which included what Comm. Dodd was asking for in an ethics ordinance..”Should Commissioners or the Mayor be disqualified from voting because of ethics conflict on any issues regarding any town contractor where he or she has any connection whether in a voluntary or paid capacity?”…. The Commission then asked for some “refinement” including “working for” the contractor or vendor…The Commission also directed that the question be “broadened to address conflicts related to a broad range of business relationships between a Commissioner or Mayor and residents, businesses or property owners located within the Town”…

The Atty. continued on with addressing “the ability to enact stricter local procedures for or definitions of voting conflicts”…She stated “IT IS UNCLEAR WHETHER LOCAL REGULATIONS TO CREATE STRICTER REQUIREMENTS FOR A COMMISSIONER OR MAYOR TO ABSTAIN FROM VOTING FOR A CONFLICT OF INTEREST ARE IN CONFLICT WITH STATE LAW.”…. “arguably, they are not, and some local governments have adopted such regulations without challenge.”…. She reviewed prior time the commission asked advice on conflicts and her response ” would inure to [the] special private gain or loss of the Commissioner or Mayor or those in specified relationships to the Commissioner or Mayor.”…additionally she included that opinions from the Fl. Comm. on Ethics and court decisions interpreted the statute “primarily to apply to financial gain… … Also on page 3 of the backup …conflict of interest in appearance …the pros and cons…and due to this conflict …the Town Atty. offers up that might be the reason why relatively few Fl. local governments have enacted tougher ethics standards for voting disqualifications based on conflict of interest….

In the following paragraph “The Florida Commission on Ethics has approved of abstention where circumstances gave the appearance that a local elected official was not totally independent and impartial, even though there was no technical conflict under state law.”…However, the Atty. General has rejected abstention from voting for a mere “appearance of impropriety.” AGO 87-17….The pages to follow included examples in other municipalities…Miami- Dade (the Dodd example)…Weston…Adventura…and the City of Hollywood who is currently considering regulations per an oversight  committee  (prev. post)…Hollywood included the leave the room portion…This inclusion in our ordinance  is of question to this writer…did it come from direction per a commissioner…or due to Weiss, Serota being counsel for Hollywood as well?…It is a portion of the ethics ordinance that should not be entertained…Palm Beach was the final example…Then on to the Town’s ordinance…(see above)..

Also there was this… “These items will be heard on December 1, 2009. Changes that may be directed by the Town Commission at first reading will need to be incorporated into a revised version of the ordinances for second reading. These ordinances must be adopted by the December 8, Commission meeting in order to make the January deadline for the March 2010 ballot, as the Town Clerk has previously advised, so there will be a short window of time to prepare any revisions authorized on first reading. Because these Commission meetings are scheduled only a week apart, the Town Clerk will begin producing the agenda package on the day following the first reading (December 2). As such, any changes approved at first reading will need to be specific as possible. As always, I am available to discuss any potential motions with you and provide suggestions as to specific language if desired.”…

Dear Town Attorney…specifically…when it comes to ordinance 2009-32… grab the nearest handkerchief….attach it to the nearest stick…and send it on it’s way……

It’s only fitting ….these 2010 Referendum items……really are “The Bum’s Rush!” ……

The public may speak on all ordinances up for 1st reading tonight…7 pm Jarvis Hall..

Channel Comcast Ch. 78/ Online  … http://lbts.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=2

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