Monday, March 12, 2012

I resign from the Citizens Budget Oversight Board

I submitted my letter of resignation from the Budget Oversight Board today. The board was started three years ago in response to the lack of transparency in the budget process. But this year, it became very un-transparent when they refused to meet outside of working hours and Mayor and Vice Mayor Lim-Kreps appointed Scott Greenwald, strip club developer and the city's largest tax debtor to the board. Imagine that, a guy who owes $1.2 million in overdue property taxes in charge of seeing how the money he didn't pay is spent. Anyway the text is below :

North Bay Village is in a precarious budgetary position. The global recession hit South Florida harder and longer than many other regions. The North Bay Village Citizens Budget Oversight Board was formed to bring transparency to this critical process. But the board has failed.

Instead of being a Board to review the soundness of budget decisions, it has become insular and ineffective. Meetings are uniquely held during the workday, when few residents are able to attend, and in a particularly cynical appointment, the city's largest tax debtor was appointed to represent "business" issues.

As the only member of the board with public finance experience, I tried to bring full perspective and transparency to the board. This effort was thwarted and the meetings were deliberately scheduled to preclude my (and most residents) presence. This leaves me no other option but to reluctantly resign.

I urge the commission to open the budget process transparently to the residents and insist that any future meetings be held in accordance with the intent and custom of the other boards at times and places accessible to the residents. The budget must be done in the light.

Kevin Vericker
March 13, 2012

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