Thursday, April 14, 2011

Recap of the April 12 Commission Meeting

Last night was the breath of fresh air we needed. I will talk about the new political action committee (PAC) at the end of the post but let me get to the meat of the meeting first.

The mayor spoke in no uncertain terms about the deceptions by the city manager, the gossiping by the police chief and the dithering by code enforcement. Let's break it down.

* Vice Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps has at the request of the city manager been signing wire transfers and checks. This is illegal and sneaky. The charter states explicitly that signing power is reserved to the mayor and vice-mayor respectively. Respectively means in sequence, first one, and then the next, not whoever. Here's the definition from the Oxford English dictionary: adverb: separately or individually and in the order already mentioned (used when enumerating two or more items or facts that refer back to a previous statement):they received sentences of one year and eight months respectively.

This action is criminal and deceptive. Even Leon-Kreps close ally Lim was shocked and voted Yes on a motion requiring a forensic accounting investigation of all the transactions.

* Frank Rodriguez did the right thing and introduced a motion asking for the City Manager's resignation. The mayor seconded the motion but it did not pass. It should have. And Bob Pushkin should resign.

* The mayor then spoke about two incidents regarding the police chief. The first was when the police chief claimed to citizens that an investigation against an officer was "requested by the mayor." It was not. The mayor did not request any investigations and further, does not have the power to do so.

The second was an incident when the police chief stated that the mayor and the commission had voted to reject a proposal for a cooperative camp with the Miami-Dade school systems this summer. There was never such a vote and prior to her comments, the issue was clarified and the commission unanimously supported the approach.

This public chiding was an expression of the deeply political nature of our police chief. He was hired by Trujillo and Pushkin and continues to show his contempt for the duly elected mayor of North Bay Village. He's on notice by the mayor that she won't be pulled into his games.

* Finally, the mayor spoke of her frustration over a commercial business, one with a marketing website, admission policies, scheduled hours and all the other appearances of a commercial business that residents have been complaining about since late 2010. She asked the police chief why it was still running and he replied clearly and unequivocally that is was not a police matter but a code enforcement matter.

The Chief's right. The city manager, not the police chief, has chosen not to address the issue. It will be interesting to see if the CM does.

There's no point in being polite with sneaky people who sign checks in the dark, gossip and don't do what they are obliged to do and many, many residents have told me today how happy they are with the new attitude on the part of the mayor.

People are fed up. We're tired of our taxes going up, our services being reduced, runaway spending on pet projects and employees and no reduction in our budget.

Which brings me to the earlier part of the meeting. Over twenty people met last Saturday to form the North Bay Village Voice, a PAC inspired by the county recall effort. The issues are the same: our police are out of control, our taxes are higher, our services are less and our money is being frivolously spent on lavish salaries and perks ($5,000 so the police chief can attend a dinner? What did they serve, extinct animals on diamond crusted plates?)

Like Miami Voice, the issue is not recall but that will be the tactic until and unless the city fundamentally reforms the way it does business. Ten people spoke in favor last night and there is a special commission meeting to discuss the issues next Thursday, April 21.

Kevin Vericker
April 13, 2011

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