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Here’s The Scoop … Check Please …

April 22, 2010 by Barbara

DONE DEAL?….

Dear Readers … When ..Where …Who…and How are the questions being asked 24 hours after the termination of Town Manager Esther Colon …a 4-1 decision made the evening before by the Town Commission… We hear a check was already cut to the Town Manager for her full compensation per her contract upon her termination…Readers …especially “Avid Readers” know this was a large part of the reason for her demise … the way the contract was drawn up..(it was the 2nd contract version that we know of…the first asking for a 5 year severance if terminated)…and the how it was approved with at least 2 former commissioners adamant about never seeing the contract on May 22, 2007…voting for it under the guise represented for well over 2 years by the Town Manager herself with a large assist from her pals Silverstone/McIntee who either knew and lied or also were left in the dark …unable to own up to her “slight of hand”….When it came time that the Manager could no longer assert that her contract was the same as her predecessor Bob Baldwin in any way shape or form  literally…she did her “as you can recall” routine and fell back on its approval from 5 commissioners and it being drawn up by the former Town Attorney…Thar former Town Attorney we hear was in Jarvis Hall for the termination of Town Manager Colon…That former Town Attorney was the one who turned down her initial 5 year request and asked her to run by the 5 commissioners what she was presenting in her revised contract after the 5 year one was a no go…We believe she never did that…at least with 2 of the 5…and the Town Attorney who signed her 1 year severance with the 2 pensions and other benefits signed on the dotted line on the last page “as to form”…and remained mute about the content on the dais as the vote was taken…A copy of that contract was first requested from this writer a few years back…after hearing the 2 commissioners state it was not in their backup I made another request for it …and received it with an agenda cover page.. Recently I requested the contract a 3rd time after statements were made on the dais by administration and the Town Clerk that the date stamp of showing backup was valid was on the back of the items and did not appear in copies requested …I asked for the back of the page to prove it had been included May 22, 2007…The response I received they did not do it at that time… Why was the former Town Attorney in the audience Tuesday night?…Guess unless someone privy wants to fill me in…we will never know…if he was curious…asked to be there by TM Colon or there to defend his own actions…

By the end of the 45 minutes it was known and verified that TM Colon would indeed walk away with her severance and all other compensation spelled out in her 2007 agreement…She made sure to make a “point of personal privilege” to get this on the record …and it was verified… What happened before the meeting …in the hours…days…weeks …or perhaps months…as well as within the hours after is what is now being questioned!…Let me clarify …the questions now is not honoring her contract…but again, it is one of transparency and the process followed within out Town government…

We have been told that a check was cut the very next day to Esther Colon for the full compensation by the Town…paid by payroll… How’s that even possible in such a short span of time?…The new Interim Town Manager Olinzock was told in no uncertain terms when he stood at the podium to accept the short pre-interim to the interim Town Manager position…not to make a substantive changes ..such as hiring and firing and we would presume signing off on a check this large without giving the heads up to his new bosses…the 5 commissioners and allowing them to see the breakdown of the payment being made…It’s not the severance …that amount was known …approx. $160,000+ …it is the unpaid leave for the past 10 + years and other such monies that would be included …or not!…The other question is was this what was done previously for the former Town Manager…We are told it was not…a next day payout…That was the $150,000+ that the former TM and former Comm.Silverstone tried to pass off as proof he had the same contract…that is until then-Comm. Dodd asked for a breakdown to find it was unpaid leave (sick/vacation) and unpaid hours..no severance…OOPS!…. This is another big “housecleaning” item for this new commission to address to get to the bottom of this…make sure the former TM was correctly compensated and to put into place … In any case either we have a proper procedure in place for this situation that includes a “reconciliation” of dispersed funds due to an outgoing Administrator are distributed to the commission prior to  cutting the check…and  Acting Interim Town Manager Olinzock blew it right out of the gate in his temporary top position…or we need one ASAP!…

Speaking of Acting Interim Town Manager Olinzock…while the above looks like grounds for his demise as well…at some point …In this writer’s opinion he blew it  45 minutes after being newly  elevated while watching the MPSC meeting …however brief it was for those of us no longer to hear it  close to the start…(blown out 10 year old speakers…was the cause we were informed)… In that time before the speakers went south…JohnO who should have slinked out the door after the infamous “Harry” from PBS&J (Harry was the responder on the e-mails back and forth with JohnO found during questioning of PBS&J and any relationship to the Town…prev. post)…stated to the new MPSC (minus a no show …with Clueless Clottey’s MPSC appointee, former Comm. candidate Marjorie Evans,)…he thought they would have been far along on the A1A project by this point in time!…JohnO did everything but keep the bridge up over the intercoastal to keep the committee out of the process…The only reason for any interaction this evening was due to the insistence of Comm. Sasser… FDOT was there as well and between the two and a short exchange the flow information cast a pall over what we were told prior to this meeting from former TM Colon and JohnO himself…The numbers…We were originally told this was a matching grant project at a cost approx. $600,000 each…The other night we were told $800,000 for the state …$300,000 for the Town…At this meeting FDOT said it was a $650,000 project with the state paying 2/3 and the Town 1/3!…WOW!…JohnO at the previous commission told the commission maybe he could get us some more signalization…FDOT was quick to state signalization would not be reimbursable! …Harry’s response when asked what kind of ideas he had for the project was no better…and further give this writer pause as to why we are doing this at all…Harry said our lights are good… are signals (not covered anyhow) are upgraded…and much is precluded due to the road itself…(tell me something we don’t know)…so he is talking trees, canopy…landscaping…I say he is talking out of both sides of his mouth…and stretching to find a way to come up with something…I was told after the sound went of the MPSC are going to walk that stretch to see what can be done..and not tear up what the condos have already done at great expense…This seems to me to be just as ridiculous as the idea that the El Mar Drive Project is shovel ready and meets the criteria of pedestrian friendly …and  jobs producing …phooey!…

It’s too bad ..if it’s too late to stop participating in the A1A project…and as for the El Mar Drive project …we were told after the sound was only in the hall…the MPSC were planning on starting over on a whole new plan for he whole of El Mar Drive… An “Avid Reader” suggested and this writer concurs…this new committee is also to revise the 2005 Master Plan this year…perhaps now that all are supposed have received a copy of it…they can take a look at El Mar Drive…the concept for the whole of El Mar Drive and work from that…Much has already been implemented… just keep it 2 lanes…

Just a quick one on our new pre- Interim Town Manager Olinzock… a look back…from Town Topics in 2007…

“TOWN HIRES TWO NEW TOWN EMPLOYEES”

“SPECIAL PROJECTS COORDINATOR JOHN OLINZOCK”

“Olinzock , as the Town’s special projects coordinator, oversees capital improvement projects, grant projects,safety issues and the Citizen Contact Center. He will also be the Town liaison for Broward County roadway projects and Florida Department of Transportation. Olinzock started in January after working two years for the city of Tamarac as its projects manager. Prior to that, he worked for the City of Key West for five years.”…

BC- First he was a special projects manager …and according to his job description he should know a hell of alot more than he seems to be able to bring to the table 3 years and 2 job promotions later ..in this writer’s opinion!

On May 19, 2007 JohnO was offered and took a “promotion” to Assistant to the Town Manager  from Esther Colon for a salary of $65,884.52 plus benefits…as an “at will” employee…ON July 2, 2008 JohnO was given another “promotion” and accepted it to become Assistant Town Manager  at a salary of $75,154.22 plus benefits…again as an “at will” employee …neither included any severance….

BC- It would be this writer’s opinion that the next Town Manager make sure to use that “at will” status …and terminate JohnO ASAP!…

The aftermath of the termination of Town Manager Colon has been relatively quiet…a few hold-outs from the CIC made some attempts we hear after the deed was done by asking a few commissioners  to espouse “cause” for her dismissal…We hear the “Newbie” had no takers to her “bait” and neither did another guy who is no stranger to trying to do a “gotcha”…It was disingenuous and just more of the dirty tactics that caused their side and their candidates such a landslide loss…that these 2 would ask for cause is a joke!…

One “Avid Reader” like my “Casey At Bat”….and asked to remain anonymous when giving the ok to print another way to look at the termination….

……………………..
“THE WICKED WITCH IS DEAD”
Ding Dong! The Witch is gone. Which old Witch? The Town’s Ruling Witch!
Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is gone.
Wake up – sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed.
Wake up, the Wicked Witch is gone. She’s gone where the evil go,
Her severance pay worth the show. Yo-ho, let’s open up and sing and let ring the bells out.

Ding Dong’ the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low.
Let them now and at dawn know,
The Wicked Witch is gone!
Mayor
As Mayor of LBTS City, In the Land of the Free, I congratulate you all most regally.
Commissioner
But we’ve got to verify it legally, to see
Mayor
To see?
Commissioner
If she
Mayor
If she?
Commissioner
Is morally, ethic’lly
Vice Mayor
Spiritually, physically
Town Employees
Positively, absolutely
Citizens
Undeniably and reliably Gone,

Vice Mayor
As Vice Mayor I must aver, We’re finally got rid of her.
And she’s not only merely gone, she’s really most sincerely gone.

Mayor
Let joyous news be spread now and dawn, The wicked Old Town Witch at last is gone!

Ding Dong the Evil Witch is gone!

Ding Dong! The Witch is gone. Which old Witch? The Town’s Ruling Witch!
Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is gone.

…………………..

Thanks…Avid Reader…anyone else…send em’ in…

The Sentinel did a follow-up online to the termination …interviewed were the Mayor…and Clueless Clottey…showing her “Clueless” moniker is here to stay…. for the remainder of her 1st and last term….
…………….
SENTINEL W/COMMENTS ….
“LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA

Town Manager Esther Colon was fired late Tuesday night with a 4-1 vote.

“I think that this was a foolish time to fire her,” Commissioner Birute Clottey said Wednesday. She cast the lone vote in support of Colon.

BC- The foolishness was all commentary from Clottey herself…

Commissioners gave no explanation Tuesday night for the dismissal.

BC- There was no need the voters knew the myriad of reasons…No cause was required for her dismissal..and after the TM said she would appear with her own counsel the commission was doing their due diligence by not giving cause that could open the door to the veiled (or so it appeared) threat of a suit against the Town…..Seems the Sentinel is sorely lacking in being up on LBTS politics!…

But on Wednesday, Mayor Roseann Minnet said, “We fired her because the town is going in a new direction, and she wasn’t a part of that direction. We have a new commission and she served at the pleasure of the dais. We’re seeking unity, bringing the town together, working cohesively and respecting each other.”

BC- Nice quote …sums it up perfectly!

Assistant Town Manager John Olinzock was appointed interim town manager, though commissioners said a different interim manager may be chosen to take his place. The town is accepting resumes until close of business Friday, and commissioners will meet Monday to discuss the position.

The town will soon begin budget planning and is negotiating with the Broward Sheriff’s Office over its $3 million police services contract that expires in September 2011. Colon is a former Sheriff’s Office executive.

“We needed her until August, and now it will be tough,” Clottey said. “She was a tough negotiator … and knew the system and how to get things done for us. We are now at a distinct disadvantage. I think this will result in higher taxes for our taxpayers.”

BC- Clueless….is maddening…Colon according to sources was no “insider” in the BSO…especially the post-Jenne BSO…She was no friend of Sheriff Lamberti and when Clottey said on the dais Esther Colon even called Sheriff Lamberti by his first name…the response quickly came to this writer that was due to Esther Colon refusing to show him the proper respect by calling him Sheriff!… As far as Esther being the only one that could negotiate with BSO …If she was really the “insider” that Clottey claimed she was…that would have been cause for concern…and perhaps a conflict …This negotiation without the acid tongued TM who refused to attend a Town Manager conference with BSO should be a plus … Threats of higher taxes…Clottey herself has long moaned about the taxes going up due to the economy…and as for Esther Colon’s record of keeping out taxes low…we could have lowered the millage as this writer and then-Comm. Dodd asked for and Clottey voted against…along with former Comm. Silverstone who then used a lower millage as a campaign promise!… Clottey should know no one is irreplaceable!

Colon’s departure was immediate. When the meeting ended, she turned in her cell phone and the keys to town hall and her municipal car, Town Spokesman Steve d’Oliveira said.

BC- One weird remark from the TM on the dais Tuesday was to state per her contract the Town Clerk and 2 employees would watch her as she cleared her personal items…Nowhere in her contract does it state such a procedure…OOPS!…Seems though a few employees “helped” walk with a very big check…before the ink on her termination was even dry!….

She worked for a decade for the town. Before she left, Colon thanked the residents who supported her.

BC- We hear there was no clapping in Jarvis Hall after she made her brief comments of thanks…the “supporters” numbered 6!….

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/lauderdale-by-the-sea/fl-lauderdale-by-the-sea-town-manager-fir20100421,0,4112683.story

………………………

Next week will be a busy one…Monday is a 5 pm meeting for a new Interim Town Manager…and we hear resumes are coming in…Capital Improvement Workshop afterward…Did JohnO gleen anything to present?…Tues. Reg Commission Meeting 7 pm ….with perhaps the new Interim TM on the dais?…Wed. the newly placed Round Table..#3 which until the new commission is all caught up will meet the 2nd and 4th Weds. at 7 pm in Jarvis Hall….

More to come…….

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