Monday, August 23, 2010

Commission and Budget Meeting Tonight

There is a hybrid meeting tonight at 7 PM, Treasure Island School. The first part is a special commission meeting to deal with three leftover items from the last commission meeting. Following that is the second public hearing on the budget.

Special Commission Meeting Items: -

Item 2a: A resolution by the commission to enter into an agreement with Miami Herald to publish required city notices.

explanation - the city is required to publish special notices in a widely circulated local media. The holdup here is that the commission wants to see if there are less expensive media that could satisfy the need. The city manager will report.

Item 2b: A resolution to approve the police chief's employment contract.

explanation - the contract was delivered to the commission during the meeting on August 9. There was not time to review the contract and it was deferred until tonight for a vote.

The vote is likely to be controversial as the contract contains language giving the police chief sole charge of the police department. From the contract: "Employee shall have sole discretion in the management of the Police Department and should not be interfered with in the performance of his duties." This does not fit the City Charter which gives the City Manager the supervisory role above the police chief.

Additionally, the contract provides for six months notice and three months severance if the police chief is let go for anything other than criminal cause. It locks us into paying nine months salary if the police chief does not perform to expectations.

This will be controversial.

Item 2c: Reconsideration of the hiring freeze put in place in July.

explanation - in July, the Commission put in place a hiring freeze. The hiring freeze directed the city manager not to hire any new employees, except as approved by the commission, until the new budget is established. This is a very normal move and most large companies do this during times of low income or strategic change. The important thing to note is that it can be overridden by a commission vote, similar to a board vote in private organizations, but the hire itself requires a higher level of justification. There's no obvious reason to withdraw the resolution since it is presenting no problems.

Special Note: - since these are resolutions and not ordinances, there is no requirement to open the floor for public comment.

Budget - The rest of the evening is dedicated to presenting the budget projections for next year. These were reviewed at the Citizen's Budget and Oversight Commission last week and I am sure tonight's presentation will contain a presentation in the same range, although there have been some tweaks and changes this week. Essentially, it's a breakdown of what the budget would look like if the commission sets the millage rate up by .5 It's not pretty but it's not as bad as it could be.

Attached is the agenda:

8-23-2010 City Commission Meeting

Kevin Vericker
August 23, 2010

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