PB Guest Post by David Singer: Ten Bank Accounts? Who knew!

by SDM

And Then There Were Ten.

Village of Palmetto Bay website states…..

MONTHLY CHECK REGISTER – PART OF “TRANSPARENT” VILLAGE

“We invite the public to take a look through the Village books on a regular basis. Palmetto Bay provides a monthly Village Check Register, online, in an ongoing effort to be a more transparent government.”

If that were only true! Would it surprise anyone in the Village or the State of Florida, for that matter, that there are TEN checking and saving accounts that the Village of Palmetto Bay operates but only ONE which is disclosed on their website?

I’m sure everyone has better things to do with their time than review the hundred or so checks that are written out of various accounts. I’ve flipped through all TEN November Bank statements and I have to tell you there is certainly a better use of my time.

The issue here isn’t the TEN checking accounts, it’s once again about deception. Mayor Stanczyk and Village Manager Ron Williams play a game of wanting everyone to believe that they are running a transparent Village when in fact they are not.

The balance of cash in the NINE remaining checking accounts at the end of November 2013 was approximately 16 million dollars not accounting for any checks that might be outstanding. Some of the accounts had activity and some of them didn’t. You would think that the Village of Palmetto Bay, with their rhetoric about transparency, would want the Citizens to have access to all accounts or at a bare minimum those with activity.

16 million dollars is nothing to sneeze at. From what I can decipher there are seven money market/saving accounts and three checking accounts. Disturbingly, a few of these bank accounts have over 1 million dollar balances but are only insured by the FDIC to a maximum of $250,000. This puts public funds – our money – at risk if their bank goes under.

I also question, why I had to spend personal funds on a public records search to see supposedly transparent public accounts.

But the larger issue is that nondisclosure of the checking accounts is a microcosm of the issues the Village will be facing with the proposed expenses on Downtown Redevelopment. Does anyone really think we as residents will get full and honest disclosure from either Village Manager Ron Williams or Mayor Stanczyk? After all, a quarter of a million dollars is budgeted to be spent on a traffic and market absorption study. Unfortunately, Ron Williams and Mayor Stanczyk have proven time and time again that they are far from either honest or transparent and it’s worrisome that they again will be playing with big money.

Our long-term solution is that we must evaluate candidates and staff on character and their ability to share facts about how the Village is run. Transparency must be a core value, not lip service. Late this year when we have our next election I urge you to examine character regardless of where you stand on issues. If we can get the Village to operate the way it should – by honorable people with honest debate referencing available facts for all to consider – we will be back to a proper representative government. I have faith that this goal will be realized.

David Singer

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