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Here’s The Scoop….I Went To LBTS For 4TH Of July And All I Got Was This CIC/VFD “Broom Boys” Kick Off Party….

PRE-PLANNING TO DITCH THE FIREWORKS?…

Readers may recall from previous posts that began even before last year’s LBTS 4th of July event that this writer thought our town event should below-key for residents at the municipal park with the VFD doing hot dogs and hamburgers…including old fashioned fun races and pictures on the firetrucks….and save the taxpayer monies for the fireworks…Well, that fell on deaf ears …and the event went on…Not being in town ourselves …we heard it was the “biggest” and “best” ever…along with these comments… all that we spoke to did  “fess” up that the crowd was tourists and visitors rather than town residents…After the event at the post- 4th of July posted meeting…(Yep, posted …just as all the other regular July 4th meetings were)…Cristie Furth declared that the fireworks should be severely cut down or or not done  at all….in order to have an even bigger event…Luckily at that meeting there were no “takers” to her suggestion…BUT…fast forward to the July 4th Beach Bash 2009…set-up a long time ago to be the “kick-off” for the  Broom Boys Re-election in 2010…with the “Boys” as Co-Chairs…and Marc Furth (and wife) as Event Coordinators…

Also previously posted on this site… …. addressed in Commission meetings…and in local papers…the difference going on behind the scenes with the July 4th 2009 Committee when compared to the 2008 committee that wasCo-Chaired by Comms. Clottey and Dodd….Making statements that they (Co-ChairsMcIntee & Silverstone/ Marc Furth) are copying everything that was done last year…”No need to reinvent the wheel”…EXCEPT…for the parts Furth found to be a “royal pain” and decided to forgo…such as those posted meetings for public input (although, we hear  the event was discussed with the CIC and the VFD)… sending out RFPs in the same manner as last year…and sadly they chose to follow the “desire” of Cristie Furth at that post 2008 July 4th meeting…and severely cut down the fireworks and go for that bigger  Mc-Furth event after the parade…with more rides..and more classic cars…We now have $15.000 for fireworks off the beach…with nowhere decent for those who want to actually watch the display to sit…being left to deal with an FDEP imposed 280 sq. ft. uninhabitable circumference from the display area being required (more area for winds)… and NOW… it seems that perhaps they (Co-Chair McIntte/ Silverstone & Furths) just might be “concocting” a way to walk away from the fireworks altogether…and blame the lack of fireworks on Mayor Minnet…Comm. Dodd …and anyone who dared to question their “unilateral” decisions…They must be unilateral…due to any discussions bring forth questionable Sunshine violations…

Event Coordinator/ BTSTimes- Editor/ Official Town & VFD photographer/ former Comm. Marc Furth sent a letter to the Town Manager and the Commission on April 30, 2009…stating the following…(overview and excerpts)……

He spoke about being asked to plan the 4th of July Town event again this year….adding “you will also recall I served the Town in the same capacity for last year’s event, which was noted by all to be a great success”…

“Unfortunately, this year I have been subjected to undermining actions by two members of the dais. Mayor Minnet and Commissioner Dodd which cause me great personal concern. For reasons unknown to me and without  any communication between us, they have both been contacting state and local officials behind the scenes, regarding my attempt to have a fireworks display on the beach rather than off the pier”…

He went on to write of Mayor Minnet contacting Lou Fisher, BC-DEP and saying she gave Mr. Fisher “misinformation, which resulted in a letter from Leslie Cinch from the state denying a permit to shoot off the beach and recommending using the pier”..(BC-we did not hear that at the meeting where this was brought up..all correspondence previously posted-scoops cat.)…Marc continues on to say tha “upon hearing this”..he contacted both men and “explained” his reasons…According to Marc he told both men it was economical for he (Marc) was told to severely cut cut down on the fireworks budget this year (BC-by whom and when?)…and he (Marc) told them the pier would cost $20,000…( BC-no official negotiation was ever made with the pier owners)…Marc continues…”At the last Commission meeting I told Mayor Minnet that if she wants the fireworks shot off a different way, just allocate the additional funds to do it, because it would make it much easier for me.”…(BC- actually if look at the tape from the meeting Marc was addressing the whole dais…and he conveniently leaves out not sending the appropriate people to speak to the pier owners…to make it easier for himself!)…Marc says he has done “much investigation with close proximity fireworks experts regarding fireworks from the beach” …(maybe this could have been presented at an open posted meeting?)…and added other municipalities are doing it as well…(BC- what are their beachfront areas like for viewers compared the the El Prado beach site?…perhaps this too could have been presented at an open public meeting?)…Marc goes on to state the beach front fire display option was the “best option” for “fireworks enjoyment” and “saving tax dollars”…”The two event Chairs, Vice-Mayor McIntee and Commissioner Silverstone agree with me.”…(BC- how did he let them know without a sunshine problem..just told them and that was that, not knowing each others views?)…

“However, the actions and subsequent public comments of Mayor Minnet and Commissioner Dodd (who are sponsors of the event as members of the Town Commission but not designated as Chairpersons or involved in the planning0 appear to be attempts to derail the beach fireworks plans and move the fireworks back onto the pier.”…”While it has been obvious to all that these Commissioners are great supporters of the pier owners”… Marc says “I,  personally, cannot justify the exorbitant $20,000 fee paid last year.”…(BC- it was not $20,000 after all was said and done last year…and again no Town negotiations were made with the pier owners to this date)…Marc wrote his version of his independent offer of $5000 to the “Marchelos brothers”…(BC- Louis Marchelos said at the podium this  was made on St. Patrick’s Day at the Pier parking lot to him alone with a strong-arm caveat of “allowing” the pier to use their parking lot for an event…and a time limit to respond to Marc only, after Marc told Louis he already had a fireworks company in the works to shoot them off from the beach)…

(BC-  ALERT…”PLAN” TO BUST UP THE FIREWORKS?.. below)…

Marc continues in his closing …page 2…”Unfortunately, the accusatory questioning and comments I have received during the Commission meetings and the politicking that continues to go on behind the scenes is seriously causing me to rethink my commitment to planning the fireworks portion of the July 4th event. Without the full support and backing of every member of the Commission, I am concerned that further attacks against my character and, more seriously, becoming a target for liability art the slightest cause. I am an unpaid citizen volunteer simply trying to do my best to give the Town another spectacular July 4th event.”

“I am requesting written assurance from the Town staff releasing me from any financial liability as Event Coordinator and a letter of support from all members of the Commission that they will follow the proper channel of communication by coming to me first to address any of their questions and concerns in order to consider moving forward with any fireworks displays at this time.”…”Sincerely, Marc Furth”……

BC- Many think it was actually written by Cristie Furth…which would be fit right in with her post 2008 July 4th words…Perhaps Marc would have had his “proper channel of communication” if he followed all of the planning done last year…and had the regularly posted open public meetings…

We hear the $15,000 fireworks approved at the last meeting would look pretty awful from the pier…being small in size….

It looks  like the Furth’s “took a page” right out of the Town Manager’s “playbook” of  giving ultimatums to Comm. Dodd to get her way… ..But just as the latest “ultimatum” Manager Colon gave failed when she tried to lob it at Comm. Dodd (previous post…LBTS agenda/meetings cat.)…on the parking hand- held devices and contract with the long- term company contracted with LBTS….(put on the Consent agenda without the proper RFPs being sent out)…..Comm. Dodd was not about to be given “ultimatums” from Event Coordinator Marc Furth…replying to this letter…

Comm. Dodd’s reply…
Mr. Marc Furth , Town Manager , Mayor , Commissioners,

Open letter in response to Mr. Furth’s letter

COMMISSIONERS – DO NOT RESPOND AS IT WOULD BE A SUNSHINE VIOLATION.

Dear Marc Furth,
Contrary to popular or your conceived opinion I am not against you or your attempts to organize the July 4th festivities.  However, I do have several issues that should be addressed.  I was not aware as a commissioner that The Vice Mayor and Commissioner Silverstone were delegating (or even allowed to delegate) 100% of the responsibility to you to make all the executive decisions for the town as well as manage the event in its entirety.  I understand this is how this years planning has been carried out as a means of avoiding any issues with sunshine laws. If you are the sole executive decision maker and are telling the Vice Mayor and Commissioner Silverstone of your own executive decisions without discussion or their input then there is no sunshine violation. This was not how I conceived the event was to be run and as a commissioner it is not in my personal opinion how the event should be run.  The commission is responsible for the tax payer’s money and as such there should be one commissioner at least making the executive decisions.
I have absolute faith in your ability to put on a superb event that will be enjoyed by all but whether that event is exactly in accordance with the majority wishes of tax payers in this town is a different matter.  While I appreciate the need this year to cut the event down to the bare bones I have reservations about asking for donations for fireworks ( at a cost of $15,000) because if you raise more than that figure you can’t legally use any excess to subsidize the rest of the event since the money was donated for a specific cause. The whole event appears to have been planned and executed without any input from any commissioner as that would be a contravention of sunshine regulations. There has been no opportunity for the public to express their wishes as to what they would prefer. You will remember last year Commissioner Clottey and I conducted numerous meetings where you updated our committee with the problems you had encountered with various organizations and then outlined the assistance you needed from the committee and the commissioners to make things happen. All the purchasing policies of the town were honored and obeyed. Countless hours were spent ensuring everything was out in the open, above board, discussed and then approved by vote.
You accuse Mayor Minnet and me of “going behind your back” to various authorities and trying to “derail” your plans.  I refute this comment since I am trying to satisfy myself that all the conditions of the state and local authorities can in fact be met.  I also refute your allegations that I’m a supporter of the pier owners. I have tried to remain absolutely impartial with all my dealings with any person or business in town and treat them fairly with respect and listen with an open mind to their problems or complaints – unlike some of my fellow commissioners.  I do not hold any favoritism or prejudge any one or any events.  In my opinion the owners of the pier lease have been treated deplorably and I am amazed they would even consider renting the pier to the town for $5000.00 after the way they have been treated. Their willingness to rent the pier has been stated publically by them on more than one occasion. Would you loan your pier after being harassed over code violations on the placement of restaurant tables, harassed over the pier sign, harassed over the South egress to their parking lot, harassed over Saturday night events, noise ordinances and had to put up with the construction of the pavilion.
As to your conditions – It is up to you to decide whether Mayor Minnet or I have “attacked your character” or caused you to “rethink your commitment”.  I have always been fully supportive of your efforts and have the utmost faith in your ability to stage a superb event for the benefit of the town.  Where I have a problem is that this year no-one in the town has had the opportunity to express even an opinion or offer their services as a volunteer other than the CIC and VFD membership. Should you wish to withdraw your “commitment to planning” the fireworks portion I as a Commissioner could not support the allocation of taxpayer’s money to fund a CIC/VFD party without the traditional patriotic fireworks display.
I am not able to comment on the liability issue raised in your letter but will continue to uphold my right to call anyone at anytime I choose.  I can not and will not be bound by your proposed restriction of directing my questions through you first. If that is a problem then I apologize but you can rest assured I am 100% supportive of your unpaid endeavors on behalf of the town despite the total lack of direction from the two commissioners who are supposed to be in charge of the event. No meetings have been posted or held to date yet the event has been formalized, permitted, rides and vendors booked and public money approved – all without a single public meeting of the designated commissioners in charge.

Respectfully

Stuart Dodd

BC- Expect more to come…As of today…it’s all up in the air (pun intended)…whether the July 4th “Committee” will try to Mc-Furth “SPIN” and cancel the fireworks from the beach…and whether the Town and the “Committee” will bring Mrs. Furth’s 2009 event party only to fruition…trying to lay the blame on the Mayor, Comm. Dodd, this writer and anyone else that dared to question…them!…

Also of note, although the pier owners have stated publicly and to the FDEP they would do the fireworks for the $5000…they have not been contacted and as of today per the Town Manager’s letter to the pier owners and the Commission are precluded from contact with the Town despite  asking for this action to be removed.

more to come…

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