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Here’s The Scoop … Directions For The Town Manager Performance Review #4 ……Mr Simmons Rides In …. But Why?…

October 23, 2009 by Barbara

WHICH WAY?…

Dear Readers as we approach the final meeting for the annual Town Manager Performance Review today at 4 pm …lets go over what came about at the Oct. 12, 2009 pre-evaluation meeting …that would be the 2nd pre- evaluation meeting not to be confused with the 1st pre- evaluation meeting on Sept. 10th…

Mr Simmons of the Range Riders came…he was asked to come by Comm. Clottey …He came to the podium and first stated  he would address the type of government we have in LBTS…”Esther suggested I briefly review that a lot of people don’t understand especially those of you in a town like this where they move from other places.”..As he went on to explain it…at some length with a lot of history of the origins…I found it interesting in content but disturbing that right out of the box he had followed a “suggestion” from the Town Manager that he was going to inform this commission how to evaluate… So much for impartiality… He then spoke of his qualifications stating he had been a former city manager for over 40 years in Florida in 2 towns…then stating” I am not an expert on this subject  [evaluations]. You asked me to speak tonight. I have some feelings and the reason is because when I was hired as manager and certainly I’m not recommending you do this now, nobody had a contract. You just lasted as long as 3 members of the council thought you was to stay there and they had no contract, no annual review, but you know it worked.” I was amused because Mr. Simmons was describing the former TM Baldwin’s “agreement” with LBTS as well as the “agreement” we now have with our current Town Attys. per March 17,2008 on a “day to day” basis…At that March meeting after asking Weiss if he would take a 12 month contract with Mr Weiss responding no, he would never take a 12 month contract ..”I’ll take a contract for a day” McIntee said “That’s even better”..Weiss said “The day you’re not happy with our services”..McIntee replied ” That’s the best answer you could have given!”… Mr. Simmons continued going through info the commission received from FLOCities on how to conduct a performance review….”there are pluses and minuses . In my opinion you should not have to have any review your manager should have good comments all the way around. The reason I say that is because you should not wait annually to tell your manager when you’re forced to do it, that you don’t like something they’re doing. If you meetig with that manager and you should let them know the direction they’re going . You should meet with that person every couple of weeks for 20-30 minutes and let them know because Esther or Esther’s predecessor or one after that they can try and guess but you need to talk to them and they should straighten up and do what you want to do. But always remember, when I say that always remember that sometimes you get one person that disagrees with everybody else on the council and you come in and suggest the question she follow and that’s difficult sometimes because you work with 5 bosses but that is what I would recommend first for good relations with your manager and your citizens. Sit down on a 1 to1 basis.”.” I was totally astounded…did Mr Simmons just happen to use that “anology” of having 1 person on the dais that disagrees or was that 1 person included in any conversation between Mr. Simmons and the TM prior when she made her “suggestions”?…Mr Simmons went on to talk of his own days of managing…after he said he never had a review he said the following ” The plan you got from Lauderhill is a pretty typical type of plan. My last years they DID review. I did have reviews like that. “…So contrary to the Vice Mayor’s assertions…Mr Simmons himself was reviewed like the Town Manager is supposed to be!…He went on to speak “you shouldn’t wait til you get the press here and make a big deal once a year if you want to get rid of your manager if your manager cannot perform after you’ve talked to them what the majority want. You don’t have to wait a year.”…For Mr Simmons to speak of the press being there further raises some prior input…and later he will backtrack yet again in discussions saying the annual review is required  ..[It is in her contract]…… He was not adequately informed when he said “If you felt like it have an annual review and if you rehire the manager you’ve done a review”…obviously not knowing she has no term and to fire her would cost us $250,000+…He also admitted he did not read the charter and sadly replying to VM McIntee he announced that the manager’s contract was not sent to him!…He went on to say “You’re fortunate you’ve got a good manager and I’m very impressed with the cleanliness and the friendliness of your city and I’m really impressed by the people here who came out tonight at 4 o”clock.It shows you’ve got a town that people care about….I found it astonishing that he would say we have a good manager because the town is clean and people are in the hall…He missed the point that most people were there because of their displeasure with the TM….Mr Simmons then took a question from  Comm. Silverstone to again reiterate the Town Manager form of government…with Mr Simmons speaking also to ethics and managers having a “tough code of ethics, we cannot eneter into partisan politics in any way.He [manager] must stay out of it, no endorsing commissioners.”…I thought to myself chalk up another reason to oust this TM who is political in every way, shape and form fro her unequal treatment with commissioners. residents and local newspapers!..Mr Simmons said “Theory is if you want to give them [managers]the authority, you got to give them the responsibility and then hold them responsible.”…”If a manager is not doing there job, bring it up and discuss it. That’s one of the negatives of doing annually forces you to do that which is good, but you don’t have to do it that way”…(Yes, Mr Simmons we do according to the contract)…The Vice Mayor then had his O .J. moment “First of all have you had an opportunity to valuate at all the job our town manager has done? Have you looked into the business of the town at all?”…Mr Simmons said “No sir, I have not” (Hmmm)..Simmons then said “I’ll say this she’s been here a pretty good period of time”…he went on to speak of recruitment and said “I would no individually evaluate your manager.”..(To this writer he already did”…Mr. Simmons spoke of the role of the Range Riders…”to help the manager if they are in trouble”…that it would be “confidential” and they [Range Riders] “would not tell us what they thought.”…So hardly an unbiased group to instruct a manager evaluation as I previously posted…Vice Mayor McIntee”Let me take another avenue, confidence. Is that a common routine for towns throughout the state of Florida to have a public vote of confidence in their town?”…This writer knew instantly the “Truth Deflector” was on the “case”…calling for the CIC orchestrated parade (the one with the ever increasing #’s in revisionist Mc-Furth history) as a “review”…Obviously Mr Simmons was not informed of the “parade” and responded “You’re gonna doing that WHEN you do this evaluation.”..McIntee answered “What if we did it before?” (BINGO!)…”For your information about a month , month and a half ago ago (longer) we did a vote up here and she got a 5-1, 5-0 vote. She’s great we support her and we’re happy with her. So think this is redundant what ewe’re doing now.”…The audience booed and the VM knew that parade and vote of confidence would have been 3-2 if the Mayor and Comm. Dodd were told it was in place of the evaluation….Mr Simmons said “Unfortunately the charter does require a vote of confidence.” I was surprised due to Mr Simmons stating he had not read the charter and nowhere does it say the manager requires a vote of confidence…Mr Simmons went on ” You can almost say, ask attorney give a vote of confidence almost the same as review without writing out. I commend Esther if she got a vote of confidence5-0. You’re doing something right Esther. I always look for that 3-2.” WOW!… What a mess!… Com. Dodd chose to ask Mr Simmons about how he would have acted in certain situations as manager due to his history…Comm. Dodd asked Mr Simmons about a town survey and if Mr Simmons would have brought it to the commission before sending out…Mr Simmons obviously did not know our TM had decided not to bring it to thew commission (prev. posts)..Mr Simmons responded” I think I would, I certainly would.” …Comm. Dodd asked about the Chief of Police and firing him unilaterally …again it was obvious that Mr Simmons did not know about this either..Mr Simmons responded ” That’s the riskiest thing a manager can do!”…the audience went wild…Mr Simmons did go on to say that it was the responsibility of the TM and if he was TM Yes, he would do it too..The small CIC contingency in the hall applauded…What Mr. Simmons might not have known was there was no disagreement about the TM ability to fire the Chief…he was not aware of the aftermath and the manager’s words from the dais at the special meeting with a full Jarvis Hall …Comm. Dodd also asked about RFP’s and the audit…Mr Simmons was a little confused in the response…Mr Simmons went on to say ” Let me tell you ethically when I go the call from Commissioner Clottey I called Esther. You do not come into a community and play one side vs. the other. I’ll give you my frank opinion, but I did not know Esther before that time and ethically you do not do that and certainly she said come I congratulate you on having a manager open to that.”…Why would she be concerned, one manager to another..it’s a win-win…for her…Comm. Clottey felt she needed to do a “McIntee” and say she and Mr. Simmons “had not met until this evening and had not discussed anything.”…Mr Simmons agreed and the mayor said we would go to public comments…NOT SO FAST…The Vice Mayor said  “Point of order, Mayor, Yes , I’d like to read something for an informational basis before the public comments started. Ah, I’ve been advised by camp counsel(?)  to do this. My own counsel. Defamation laws which can vary from state to state have been established to counter balance an individuals first amendment rights which guarantee free speech and the and the rights of an individual to protect his or her reputation. United States citizens are also entitled to exercise fair comment which enables Americans to comment freely even unkindly about matters of public interest as long as their written or oral statements are truthful derived from fact and not intended to be malicious. I just wish everybody in this room to listen to what that says as long as their written or oral statements are truthful, derived from fact and not intended to be malicious. I yield”…The audience yelled “Threat”!…Public comments took place…most were critical about the TM and some, this writer included tried to inform Mr. Simmons about the contract and the facts…He did not seem all that interested…(Once a manager always a manager?)…There was a small group of CIC old- timers who just repeated broad and vague words “fed to them” with no specifics that showed the great divide..those informed and those taking “marching orders”…It did end with Rev. Hunsaker making a statement that was a little out of character from the previous invocations witnessed by this audience and this writer…He related the issue of the Town Manager to his days as a minister and those minister’s who seemed to wear “Teflon”…He felt the previous TM [Baldwin] wore “Teflon”…and went on to talk of this TM being a victim of “Monday morning  quarterbacking” and those without the proper knowledge to criticize…It was a huge shock to those in the audience who are definitely informed and a “boon” to the “Gang-CIC’…with the VM afterward informing the Town Chaplain it was the “best speech he ever gave.”..It became a source for the “Broom-Boys” to use after public comments to disavow any criticism they just heard overwhelmingly from their constituents…This writer cannot believe that was the intention of the Reverend…and found out after the meeting it was not after speaking to him. I do believe the Rev. should clarify his statement at some point in time if indeed it was not received as he intended….(The Reverend did point out also the commissions role and their duties, but that was lost after his opening statement)…

Afterward came the statements from the Commissioners…next post…

more to come….

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