Thursday, June 24, 2010

New Police Chief?

When government lacks transparency, rumors fill in for information. The latest rumor about North Bay Village is that a new police chief is being actively recruited and interviewed, and shortly will be hired.

Let's look back. When two of our commissioners, Vice Mayor George Kane and former Vice Mayor Rey Trujillo, first began their push to remove Matt Schwartz as City Manager, they were openly stating that the reason was that they felt he was "micromanaging" the police. They declared an emergency meeting on Passover because the chief had resigned, not been fired resigned, and they could not allow this to go unpunished.

When it was brought to their attention that managing the police is part of the city manager's charter duties, they switched to a "well, he doesn't communicate so well."

It was important to both to end the year and a half of transparent, open government that Schwartz brought to North Bay Village. After all, it's difficult to use your office for personal financial gain, as Vice Mayor George Kane was found to do by the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics, if there is transparency. Of course, former vice mayor Trujillo's communication skills are poor at best, and transparency is the enemy of incoherence.

I hope the rumor is false. We can't afford to hire anyone - consultants, assistant city managers, new police chiefs until we have dealt with the budget crisis. And we are not dealing with the budget crisis. At least not in any transparent way.

Let's do some arithmetic:

$65,000 We are paying to our former City Manager.
$55 per hour to our interim City Manager.
An as yet unpublished amount for consulting fees to Randy Hilliard for city management functions.
An as yet unpublished amount for budget consulting.

Approximately $70,000 in 2010 for our former police chief.
A new salary not disclosed for a new police chief.

We can't solve for the unknowns because nothing is coming out of city hall on these.

In the meantime though, we're supposed to be grateful that Matt Schwartz is gone. Remember the days when we only paid one city manager? And he actually told us what he was doing?

Kevin Vericker
June 24, 2010

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