Friday, January 11, 2013

Walls and Barriers

The commission met on Tuesday night with a fairly full agenda.  I won't go through all the detail but if you need more information, check out Mario Garcia's blog here.

  • Legal Services were finally considered and agreed.  Weiss Serota remains as General Counsel and Land Use Counsel, while Bryant, Miller and Olive will resume their previous position as labor counsel. 

    The commission handled this well by carefully reviewing the qualifications of each applicant, reviewing them publicly and ignoring unseemly pressure from the old guard to put their people in.  There is a next step and commissioner Gonzalez will manage the final contract negotiation for commission approval in February.  Overall, we are well on our way to getting the legal bills under control.
  • Police Chief Robert Daniels once again blew off his primary reporting responsibility to the commission and did not have even the basic statistics for the meeting.  His excuse was that the demands of the poorly delivered 2 hours on Crime Watch had overwhelmed his capacity to report anything. 

    If the police chief simply reduced his time making excuses and actually did things, he would find more time to get his stuff done.  Still no word on the neighborhood watch meeting but he assured the commission he's on it. 

    In the meantime, another lawsuit has been filed against the city by a member of the police department.  
  • Almost lost in all the business was a $118,000 matter regarding the Apartheid Wall surrounding North Bay Island.  It's all very complicated but apparently what seems to have happened is that when the wall was proposed and proposals solicited, the city included a standard contracting procedure requiring the contractor to post a performance bond, essentially an insurance instrument designed to cover costs in the event that the contractor cannot deliver, usually through the contractor going out of business. 

    Somewhere, somehow, this standard condition did not make it to the final contract.   It's not clear who eliminated it or who approved the contract without the clause, but it went through.  And the contractor went out of business.  

    This has left the village on the hook for $118,000, a sum that the village hoped to cover from state grants.  But apparently that's not possible.  

    Some money has been found in the operating budget to cover the $118,000 and North Bay Village is laying it out. 

    This is an extraordinary circumstance and requires much more consideration than it is being given.  

    I have never seen a government contract executed without a performance bond anywhere else.  I wonder if the contractor, clearly already in trouble, could not qualify for the bond since it is insurance against failure and had it struck.   Regardless, it was not a simple oversight and should be investigated.

  • I guess the final big piece was the performance evaluation by three commissioners of the village manager, Dennis Kelly.  In a nutshell, they feel that there are communication issues which have caused problems to the village.   This poor evaluation resulted in Dennis Kelly not getting a performance bonus.  

    What's not clear to me is what happens next.   In a normal circumstance, the expectations would laid out and results  monitored but I'm not sure that's happening.  For me, this is a bit of cognitive dissonance as my experience in a variety of matters with Kelly is that he has been very clear and follows up well on the various subjects.  He doesn't always agree but that's part of it.  Nevertheless, it seems that the expectations and realities of the commission are different.  I hope it can get worked out well and soon.  

    Kevin Vericker
    January 11, 2013

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