South Dade Matters

Looking at the World South of Miami: Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, Pinecrest, South Miami and Miami-Dade County.

Category: Uncategorized

PB: Are Stanczyk and Clifford Violating the Charter?

Do As I Say, Not As I Do Edition

In 2012, with much fanfare and ado, Mayor Stanczyk and her cronies on the Palmetto Bay Charter Review Commission foisted the following charter amendment upon us:

8. REQUIRING CANDIDATES TO RUN INDEPENDENTLY [Section 2.3(D)].

The Charter Revision Commission suggests an amendment to the Charter to require each person running for elected office to run independently of any other Village candidate.

Voters, many of whom were whipped into a frenzy by none other than Mme. Mayor, adopted the provision despite warnings from SDM that such a provision violates “our constitutionally protected right of freedom of association.”

Flash forward to August 14, 2014 and we find that Mayor Shelley Stanczyk and candidate Henry Clifford appear to be working together on their campaigns. See these entries in Mrs. Stanczyk’s most recent campaign report:

July 16, 2014: Henry Clifford is reimbursed $64.20 by the Stanczyk for “office supplies.”

July 17, 2014: Henry Clifford (retired) makes a $12 in-kind contribution for “food.”

Let’s just put aside for a moment the question of what kind of “food” costs $12, why is a candidate for Seat 3 making in-kind contributions and being reimbursed for office supplies by the Stanczyk campaign? Hmmm…..

So, SDM’s inquiring mind took a closer look at Stanczyk’s and Clifford’s campaign contributions, we found the following:

On July 17, 2014 – the same day Clifford made an in-kind contribution of food to Stanczyk – both Stanczyk and Clifford received contributions from these usual suspects: Beverly Gerald, Albert Lavoie, Frances Blake and Diane Jarvinen. (Two days later, Clifford reported a check from a person with the address 14140 SW 72 Ave, which address matches a July 17 contribution made by “Pam Gorman,” another usual suspect.)

SDM Helpful Note: Beverly Gerald – former Palmetto Bay candidate – served as Chairperson of the Charter Revision Commission. Mrs. Stanczyk’s contributions note that Ms. Gerald donated both money and “party supplies.” Way to set a good example!

SDM Codebreaker: On July 17, 2014, Mayor Stanczyk and Henry Clifford seem to have held what amounted to a joint fundraiser (probably with shared “party supplies”), which is why the two candidates have all these common contributors on the same or nearly the same day.

Anyone who moves around the village will also note that the campaigns share a color scheme for their signs, which often appear together on various properties around town. Hmmm…

SDM Says: While we think the charter amendment is facially unconstitutional, those who participated in what looks to be a joint campaign activity should be investigated on whether they are running independently. If not, they should be held accountable for violating the charter. SDM can recommend some good lawyers who can defend you Mme. Mayor and Mr. Clifford. :)

Jeb Gets It Wrong

Big story today: Jeb Bush, former super successful Florida Governor and potential candidate for President n 2016, came out swinging against medical marijuana:

Florida leaders and citizens have worked for years to make the Sunshine State a world-class location to start or run a business, a family-friendly destination for tourism and a desirable place to raise a family or retire… Allowing large-scale, marijuana operations to take root across Florida, under the guise of using it for medicinal purposes, runs counter to all of these efforts. I believe it is the right of states to decide this issue, and I strongly urge Floridians to vote against Amendment 2 this November.

SDM is a big Jeb! fan, but this position smacks of elitism, not to mention a lack of situational awareness.

Mr. Bush, are you saying that your prefer all of the illegal, small-scale pot growing and importing over a reasonably regulated legal market? Or, do you believe that nobody is growing, importing or smoking pot in Florida?

SDM can’t help but wonder where all these elitists on the left and the right get their information. It’s as if they either don’t accept the data or prefer to stick their heads in the sand and ignore Florida’s and America’s reality: People – lots of them – smoke marijuana and our social efforts for more than five decades to stop the practice have failed miserably.

Unfortunately for Jeb! supporters, he seems to insert his moccasins into his maw regularly on big issues. Remember this:

Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love, it’s an act of commitment to your family…I honestly think that is a different kind of crime, that there should be a price paid, but it shouldn’t rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families.

We understand your point, Mr. Bush, but you just sound like you’ve been living in an alternate universe when you utter these kinds of statements.

SDM Says: Dear Mr. Bush, please look at the world as it is and not as you may want it to be. Adults in this country should be permitted broad latitude when it comes to their preferences – sexual, social, physical – so long as they are responsible and not endangering others. We libertarians would like you to back off the marijuana debate and focus your immense talents on solving the world’s important problems. If you cannot bring yourself to do so on policy grounds, do it to save your political future. You are on the wrong side of history on this one.

 

MDC: 400 Police May Pay The Ultimate “Union Dues”

The Miami Herald broke the news yesterday that as many as 400 county police department employees may face layoffs as Miami-Dade County struggles to contain the spending beast. The layoffs touch all corners of the department:

The list stretches on for nine pages, and includes 19 lieutenants, 69 sergeants, about 250 police officers and 60 civilian workers. With a $470 million payroll, the police department represents the largest agency in Miami-Dade in terms of staffing. The department’s payroll costs would drop $9.5 million next year, a 2 percent decline, according to budget documents.

SDM Aside: An item in the article struck us as a little odd. The police department is holding a session at the FIU football stadium to advise the affected employees on matters like “contacting creditors and mortgage holders.” We have been laid off before and usually we get a long letter. Perhaps the point of bringing all these people is to provide a made-for-television moment for the media? The Mayor ought to put the kibosh on this bad idea right away.

Police Benevolent Association leaders conceded nothing, even as their fellow workers face the most disruptive life-change any person can experience:

“The public needs to know that this list represents a complete breakdown of this community’s safety. Each name represents one less officer working to keep the public safe,” John Rivera, head of the Police Benevolent Association union, wrote in an e-mail Tuesday. “We are short as it is and this just shows how reckless the Mayor is when it comes to protecting the public.”

Why haven’t the union and the county come to some agreement that will prevent layoffs? Again, according to the Herald, one reason may be the union’s decision to protest “Miami-Dade’s tapping the labor group’s former lawyer to represent the county in the negotiations.”

So now the PBA gets to decide who negotiates on behalf of tax payers? No doubt the PBA would like the county to send an intern into the fray, rather than a seasoned negotiator who knows all of the contract’s cubby holes. SDM declines the invitation.

SDM would prefer that the police force be culled wisely, based on merit, but the union contract doesn’t permit customary management practices. So, we the people are left with budgeting by broadsword – or – the union’s alternative: annual property tax rate hikes.

Let SDM let you in on a little secret, which the police union, especially, hates to discuss: The PBA will take every new tax dollar in perpetuity even doing so means starving every other county department to death.

So, when you are asked by the police union to sacrifice just a few more of your tax dollars, you might want to ask them what they are willing to sacrifice to protect the parks, beaches, animal services, public housing and the hundreds of other services that are not counted under the “public safety” umbrella. When pressed, their answer will be “nothing.”

SDM Says: Bravo Mayor Carlos Gimenez for not kowtowing to the thuggish element of the police union. There are good reasons to avoid laying off beat cops and specialists, not the least of which is that we’ve already paid to train many of them. Nevertheless, we can’t continue to blow out the budget, year after year, on bloated salaries and benefits, regardless of the predictable hyperbole from highly compensated union brass.

P.S. to Palmetto Bay Candidates:  If you think the union contract doesn’t affect Palmetto Bay, think again. The costs of these officers to Palmetto Bay is based on the cost to the county, which is derived from the union contract. There are no free rides here.

“Republicans need to reach out to”

If you Google the title of this post exactly as we wrote it, meaning in quotation marks, you will get something like 197,000 hits. It’s a popular topic.

SDM decided to Google the phrase after listening to the umpteenth political commentator suggest that “Republicans need to reach out to”: insert your favorite sub-group of Americans. You know the list so we aren’t going to go over it here.

SDM is sick of hearing this mantra, particularly because it is dead wrong.

A political party ought to be a big tent – meaning everyone is invited to participate – but those expressing an affinity for the party ought to base that decision on philosophy, rather than whether one is a union members, a Northerner, or person of a particular ethnicity.

And, we as voters and party participants, should punish those elected and non-elected officials who want to frame a political organization by sect. We’re all Americans.

So here is SDM’s response – usually shouted at the radio – to the phrase “Republicans need to reach out to”: like-minded people. When we say like-minded, we don’t mean sycophants or lackeys and we don’t mean exactly-the-same-minded.

Thank you for letting us vent.

Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend!

+++

Anyone want to comment on the candidates’ forum?

PB: Have you seen the rest of this man?

SDM received a funny rumor via the FOSDM network. Apparently, a female candidate for mayor was running around town claiming that one of her opponents had a life-threatening illness. The evidence for this bizarre claim can be seen in this photograph:

VPB.4th.2014.01

The guy in the hat is former Mayor Eugene Flinn, some 40+ pounds lighter (maybe more) after what appears to be a serious diet.

SDM’s sources tell us that, in fact, Mr. Flinn is in excellent health but has obviously decided to clean up his act as far as the extra weight he’s been lugging around.

SDM Says: Bravo Mr. Flinn. SDM remembers fondly those early days when calm seemed to prevail in our little burgh. Under the gentle steerage by yourself, Paul Neidhart, Linda Robinson, John Breder and Dr. Ed Feller, Palmetto Bay made great strides at keeping itself a lean. It’s good to see your commitment to being “lean” applies to more than just Palmetto Bay’s budget. :)

Guest Post by David Singer: His take on the chaos at Palmetto Bay

Below is David Singer’s view on the Village Council meeting last night. SDM is still reviewing the tape.

It never ends….

After sitting through the circus of May’s Village of Palmetto Bay Council meeting Monday Night, an important fact was disclosed which once again provides insight into Mayor Shelley Stanczyk and Councilwoman Joan Lindsay’s ethics.

It was revealed by the Village Attorney that Village taxpayers will be responsible for the lawsuit filed by Palmer Trinity for Twelve Million Dollars. In addition, once two counts of the lawsuit covered by Palmetto Bay’s insurance policy are dismissed, the eleven remaining counts will have to be defended solely by the Village since the League of Cities which has been co-defending the Village will stop its representation. The Village and taxpayers will thereafter be responsible for 100% of the associated legal fees, judgment and damages from taxpayer’s coffers.

For the past two and a half years both Mayor Stanczyk and Councilwoman Lindsay have publicly denied this was the truth. They have denied that Village funds were at risk during their public and personal war with Palmer Trinity. The special interest group Concerned Citizens of Old Cutler, Inc (CCOCI), of which Joan Lindsay was president, has pushed and pushed this litigation to go forward long after a positive outcome for the Village seemed likely.

When Mr. DuBois ran against Councilwoman Lindsay for District 3 in 2010 he outed her anti-Palmer agenda. Mr. DuBois pointed out that years earlier Lindsay personally funded litigation to fight the school before taking control of the Council with Mayor Stanczyk and eventually Councilman Pariser to use the Village as a battering ram against the school. If fighting Palmer Trinity was her sole purpose for running for office she should not have run. At a bare minimum, based on her private activities and her inability to be impartial or properly represent her district, Councilwoman Joan Lindsay should have recused herself from deliberation and voting on all issues relating to Palmer.

As stated by Patrick Fiore at the Council meeting, the Palmer litigation could have been concluded years ago without financial liability to the Village or any snags over lighting, which is the current sticking point. If either the Mayor or Councilwoman would have just voted to approve the original site plan which had requested no light poles we would not be where we are today. They are ultimately 100% responsible for this fiasco.

So here we are approximately two years later, a million dollars spent in legal fees and still fighting with Palmer. Continuing litigation will soon to be at the sole expense of the Village taxpayers with either a twelve million dollar lawsuit hanging over our heads and/or a solution to the lawsuit of changing the lighting ordinance for the entire Village.

During the Council meeting three of the council members, Tim Schaffer, John Dubois and Patrick Fiore attempted to resolve, compromise and conclude what has been and could very well be the most expensive chapter in the history of the Village. All the while Mayor Stanczyk and Councilwoman Lindsay, who created this situation, chastised the council member’s good intentions of finding a solution for what has become an extremely complex issue facing the Village.

Are the Mayor and Councilwoman capable of taking any responsibility for this predicament? Do the morally corrupt ever take responsibility for their actions? Their hatred for the school prevents it and seriously clouds their judgment.

It was evident last night that Mayor Shelley Stanczyk and Councilwoman Joan Lindsay’s animosity for Palmer Trinity has influenced their ability to finally settle the litigation with Palmer.

My tax dollars should be spent on parks, infrastructure and basic governmental service that improve the quality of life for the in the Village, not litigation.

Next month there will be one more attempt to resolve the lighting issue with Palmer. I hope calmer heads will prevail but with Mayor Shelley Stanczyk and Councilwoman Joan Lindsay, I’m expecting the Village to be back in the courthouse for round five with Palmer. All the while the taxpayers are paying the bill for the Mayor’s and Councilwoman’s ongoing blunders.

David Singer

Guest Post by David Singer: Thalatta Mess and Lights

At last month’s Council meeting I brought to the attention of the Council that Thalatta Park is not being used for its intended purpose. Instead it is used primarily as a “for profit wedding venue” and is only open to the public for approximately 14 hours per week.

After my presentation (and these are exact words) Village Manager Ron Williams said “there is no, no response deserved” and “I believe in all due respect Madam Mayor we should work from a factorial basis.” Mayor Shelley Stanczyk commented “we are clear we are good a Thalatta”.

In other words both Mayor Stanczyk and Village Manager Williams seriously minimized the facts that the Village is in violation of the Grant and Management Agreement with the Florida Communities Trust (FCT).

Fortunately for the citizens of the Village, the FCT did find that the Village is in violation and is in the process of writing a scathing report of the deficiencies of the Village’s management of the park. So much for the Mayor’s and Village Manager’s assurances.

Though numerous conversation with two FCT officers I was informed that the Village has mislead the FCT in regards to numerous items including opening hours and hours dedicated for wedding at Thalatta. I was told that Village will be required going forward to limit it’s wedding venue to 1 day a week instead of the 3 to 4 as it currently operates. I was told they were shocked to visit Palmetto Bay’s Thalatta Park website and see that it was totally dedicated to the leasing of the park for parties instead of its intended purpose as a “PARK”.

This story is just a microcosm of Village leadership. There are a few individuals who run the Village who have and will always have a difficult time discerning fact from fiction and this is why the Village continues to face difficulties and will not mature in the same fashion as other newly formed municipalities.

According to yesterday’s Miami Herald, home prices in cities of Pinecrest, Coral Gables and South Beach have increased over the past few years while Palmetto Bay home prices have stayed relatively stagnant. Can this be due to the lack of professionalism of Palmetto Bay’s elected officials and poor Village management? I believe it is.

I was born and raised in Miami. I remember a sleepy little city of 500,000 when I was a child. I believe Dade County now has a population of 2.7 million. I don’t necessarily care for some of the changes that have occurred in my home town associated with population growth, but change is inevitable. If we are going to live in a desirable place in a free county whose economy is driven by growth, we should be willing to accept change.

One, two or ten individuals who live in the Village should not be permitted to dictate what they feel are or aren’t appropriate changes for the Village. The Village of Palmetto Bay is not a dictatorship run by the Mayor and her cronies or for that matter the Concerned Citizens of Old Cutler, Inc. (CCOCI) all of whom have cost the Village a million of dollars in legal fees over the past couple of years.

Their misrepresentations only breed fear into the minds of Village Residents who, hopefully have begun to be hesitant to believe anything that is disseminated from the politicians who run our Village.

Such is the information that the Mayor Shelley Stanczyk, Gary Pastorella and the CCOCI have sent out this week regarding Tim Schaffer’s lighting ordinance. Councilman Schaffer’s ordinance has nothing to do with permitting stadium lighting or light poles ranging in height from 60 to 90 feet. It’s just a bald-faced lie.

It’s just another fabrication in the long list of untruths ranging from Thalatta Park, Palmer, Slanderous Websites, Ethic Violations and many others used in the last four years.

I would implore the remaining Councilmembers to not get caught up in the lies and rhetoric and use common sense when reviewing the lighting ordinance at this month’s Council meeting.

David Singer

David Singer Guest Post on Barking Dogs

Mayor declares war on Palmetto Bay Dog Owners

Our reviled and loathed Mayor Shelley Stanczyk has once again proven just how out of touch she is with reality. Could November’s Mayoral election get here any quicker? Apparently, tired of attacking schools and churches she has now turned her attention to attacking her constituent’s pets, dogs in particular.

She has sponsored an Ordinance scheduled to be read at Monday’s Village Council meeting which will effectively fine every resident of Village of Palmetto Bay if their dogs barks more than five times in an hour.

I affectionately call it the “Five Bark Penalty”. If it wasn’t so incredibly offensive it might actually be humorous.

It’s too bad this ordinance hasn’t been in effect during Council meetings over the last three and a half years while she’s been Mayor.

Enough of my commentary, here’s some bits and pieces of the Ordinance.
• Barking dog shall mean a dog that barks, bays, cries, howls or makes any other noise continuously and/or incessantly for a period of twenty minutes or barks intermittently for one hour or more to disturb any person, day or night.
• Barks intermittently shall mean a noise disturbance caused by a barking dog which occurs 5 times within an hour. (Would that be 5 short barks or 5 long barks and who decides when the barking begins and stops? I didn’t realize Village Manager Ron Williams has employed Dr. Doolittle on Village staff.)
• Public nuisance animal shall mean any animal or combination of animals that makes excessive noises, including, but not limited to, continued or repeated howling, barking, whining (you get the point) which substantially interferes with and /or disturbs a Village resident’s enjoyment of life and/or property.
• Enforcement responsibility; The Village will now hire a Noise Control Officer (great another Village Employee) who will have primary enforcement responsibility after an affidavit is filed by the complainant to the Village of Palmetto Bay. The Noise Control Officer will then investigate on a “complaint only” basis (don’t really understand what a “complaint only” basis is, but then I don’t understand 99% of what the Village enacts for their personal amusement).
• After an affidavit is filed by a resident, a notice of Civil Infraction is issued by the Village Noise Control Officer with a 30 days correction period (this basically gives you 30 days to visit your Vet and have your dog surgically debarked). If the barking continues you are then penalized, fined and quartered.
• The fine for a barking dog for a first offense is $250.00 (that works out to be $50.00 per bark) with subsequent fines for repeated violations costing $500.00.

If you don’t believe anyone in their right mind would sponsor this type of Ordinance please visit the Village of Palmetto Bay website.

I would assume by reading this Ordinance that Mayor Stanczyk and the Village Planning and Zoning Director Darby Delsalle, hate animals or at the minimum are cat lovers.

Is this nonsense and intellectual ineptitude really what we expect from our elected officials and Village Staff? ? I hope the Councilmembers who vote for this Ordinance realize it guarantees their ouster during the November election.

You always have the option of voicing your displeasure with this Ordinance prior to Monday’s meeting by emailing the Mayor and Councilmembers or calling the Village.

David Singer

Quick Bites

Please Step Out of the Sunshine

The beginning of the February 19th village council meeting to interview attorney candidates shows precisely why people from around this county think Palmetto Bay is run by a fool.

dresiarczyk-162-OBRAZKY.PL

Mayor Stanczyk noted as she opened the meeting that they were live-streaming the interviews, meaning anyone can watch the session live on the internet.

Then she asked each of the firms who were in the queue to testify to wait in the lobby so that whichever firm was being interviewed would have “some privacy.”

We swear, we are not making this up. Watch it for yourself here. (Just a few minutes of your precious time, scout’s honor.)

Of course, several stunned folks on the dais and in the audience explained to her cluelessness that not only was this a public sunshine meeting, there are televisions in the lobby where anyone can listen in on the interviews.

SDM Says: Is this the best we can do, Palmetto Bay? C’mon man.

Garcia Ignores Campaign Contributor’s Honoring of Hugo Chavez

The Miami Herald reported that former Massachusetts Congressman William Delahunt contributed $2,500 to Congressman Joe Garcia’s re-election campaign.

The contribution raised hackles in Miami’s Venezuelan diaspora when Delahunt was found to have attended former Dictatory Hugo Chavez’s funeral. (SDM wonders how Mr. Garcia would react to a lobbyist attending Fidel Castro’s funeral.)

SDM Says: Mr. Delahunt has a right to cultivate his clientele and Mr. Garcia’s constituents have a right to ask why the congressman would do business with a guy who represents a police state that has forced so many of its citizens to flee.

South Dade Commissioner gets it Partially Right

You may have missed South Dade Commissioner Dennis Moss’s forceful repudiation of Commissioner Javier Souto at a recent county commission meeting.

Mr. Souto, who is reaching the terminus of a long and undistinguished legislative career, issued a veiled threat to fellow commissioners for daring to consider doing business with a global firm that did/does business with Cuba.

Mr. Souto implied that doing business with a firm with business ties to Cuba is like doing business with a firm who does business with the former apartheid regime in South Africa. (For the youngsters out there, this was a big deal back before cell phones.)

Mr. Souto is right in one sense when he draws this analogy, though many of us in the United States are tiring of what has looked for a decade or more to be a failed foreign policy.

Where Mr. Souto went way wrong and drew Moss’s ire was when he repeated another tired old saw, namely that “Cubans built Miami.” One doesn’t need to investigate very deeply to determine how absurd this contention is historically.

But, for argument’s sake, let’s say Mr. Souto is right. SDM Wonders: Why would anyone want to take credit for everything that makes up Miami? SDM loves this community, but it ain’t perfect by a long shot.

Our government institutions are borderline functional and often outright corrupt. Our economy is perilously perched on a very limited base and lacks significant industrial components. Even SDM who recognizes the need for rational development recognizes that our public infrastructure and environmental planning are both abysmal. (Where do you think all that stuff you put into your septic system eventually end up?)

SDM Says: If you demand credit for “building this community” (and that means you, too, Mr. Moss when you said “black folks built this town”), then you better be ready to accept the blame as well.

SDM Knows Now That We’re Getting Old…

SDM found this story in Slate.com and it convinced us we are now completely out of touch with the next generation.

We aren’t big users of Facebook because we think they are reading our minds, not literally of course but by inference based on data. So we hadn’t seen the gender identity drop-down button that offers 58 options (!!) to describe one’s gender.

We are feeling really old here at SDM now. Back when we were coming up, you didn’t choose your gender, you were your gender. Now, however, kids get to choose from this list:

  • Agender
  • Androgyne
  • Androgynous
  • Bigender
  • Cis [According to Wikipedia: Cisgender and cissexual (often abbreviated to simply cis) describe related types of gender identity where an individual's experience of their own gender matches their bodies. This includes people who were once transgender but physically transitioned so their gender identity matches their physical sex. Glad we cleared that up.]
  • Cisgender
  • Cis Female
  • Cis Male
  • Cis Man
  • Cis Woman
  • Cisgender Female
  • Cisgender Male
  • Cisgender Man
  • Cisgender Woman
  • Female to Male
  • FTM [Female to Male]
  • Gender Fluid
  • Gender Nonconforming
  • Gender Questioning
  • Gender Variant
  • Genderqueer
  • Intersex
  • Male to Female
  • MTF [Male to Female]
  • Neither
  • Neutrois
  • Non-binary
  • Other [This list doesn't cover it?!?!]
  • Pangender
  • Trans
  • Trans*
  • Trans Female
  • Trans* Female
  • Trans Male
  • Trans* Male
  • Trans Man
  • Trans* Man
  • Trans Person
  • Trans* Person
  • Trans Woman
  • Trans* Woman
  • Transfeminine
  • Transgender
  • Transgender Female
  • Transgender Male
  • Transgender Man
  • Transgender Person
  • Transgender Woman
  • Transmasculine
  • Transsexual
  • Transsexual Female
  • Transsexual Male
  • Transsexual Man
  • Transsexual Person
  • Transsexual Woman
  • Two-Spirit

SDM Says: Please don’t ask your grandchildren if they are confused about their identities. You don’t want to know the answer.

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

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 57 other followers