PB: November 5th Agenda Quick Bites

by SDM

Conflict of Interest Alert

Palmetto Bay is so concerned about conflicts-of-interest that it is proposing an ordinance to regulate sponsorships at village events. Here is the language that will be applied to future sponsors if the ordinance on the November 5th agenda passes:

In determining the appropriateness of a potential sponsorship relationship, the Village shall consider whether the relationship may undermine public confidence in the Village’s impartiality in the transaction and/or whether it may interfere with the efficient delivery of Village services or operations, including, but not limited to current or potential conflicts of interest between the sponsor and the Village and/or the sponsor and any of the Village’s employees, officials or affiliates. Item 12A. (Emphasis added by SDM.)

Too bad this provision wasn’t in place before the Village’s ten-year anniversary celebration. One “supporter” of Mayor Stanczyk’s mini-prom was a company called Kimley-Horn and Associates, an engineering firm that has received multiple contracts from the village over the years. Coincidentally – or maybe not – only a little over a month after the big shindig, Kimley-Horn is being recommended for a contract worth almost $80,000!

SDM Wonders: Does the contract have built-in fluff to cover the cost of the tickets to the Mayor’s coming-out party? Who solicited Kimley-Horn? Was Kimley-Horn threatened that it  would not get the contract unless it sponsored the event?

$44,000/month for legal fees? Mystery solved

If you ever sat around wondering why the Village’s legal fees are so high, SDM found your answer in Agenda Item 7A, the Village Attorney’s report. Witness some of the silly and dangerous matters occupying your lawyers’ time:

An ordinance amending section 2-49 of the Village’s Code of Ordinances, relating to Village Council meeting procedures – requiring the silencing of all electronic devices during council meetings by audience, staff, and council; and providing for the Police Commander to act as “Sergeant at Arms”… (Sponsored by Mayor Shelley Stanczyk).

[The Village needs an ordinance for this? Once upon a time, strong managers controlled their chambers. Apparently, Palmetto Bay’s Manager needs an ordinance to manage cell phones.]

An ordinance relating to RLUIPA [Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act – federal statute], review procedures to require an administrative review process of any allegation of violation of RLUIPA, through a quasi-judicial hearing process, prior to file of a lawsuit relating to same. Proposed for a future first reading

[Just when SDM thought the litigation pipeline might be emptying a little, Palmetto Bay wants to open up the spigot. So the first level of challenge under RLUIPA will be whether the Village can graft an administrative procedure onto a federal statute? Why not? Palmetto Bay loves being on the cutting edge of municipal litigation so long as we fools pay for it.]

Shores at Palmetto Bay LLC v. Village of Palmetto Bay. Appellate action (certiorari petition filed) after denial of application by the Village Council on December 12, 2012. … The Village filed its answer brief on February 27, 2012. The reply brief has been filed. Parties awaiting order of court as to Oral Argument.

[As a taxpayer, SDM hopes the Village wins this lawsuit. If they don’t, however, voters must hold Mayor Stanczyk and her cronies accountable.]

Recall Palmetto Bay PAC v. Village of Palmetto Bay, Case no.: 12-33876 CA 02. … No advertising allowed in Village event or publications. However, the site, Palmetto Bay Village Center, with consent of property owner, could provide a “booth” for Recall group, consistent with First Amendment law, including Parkland Republican Club v. City of Parkland, 268 F. Supp. 2d 1349 (S.D. Fla. 2003). Village filed a motion to dismiss on the remaining count on September 17, 2012. (Emphasis added by SDM.)

[Again, SDM hopes Palmetto Bay prevails but SDM can’t help but wonder why we were given the impression that the Recall lawsuit was resolved. It sure sounds like this lawsuit is still alive.]

SDM Wonders: How can a Village like Palmetto Bay continue to afford legal bills of this magnitude month after month? What will the candidates do to stop the bleeding?

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