Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pass Go and Collect $70,000

North Bay Village Manager Dennis Kelly resigned this week and his last day is Tuesday. 

On Monday, at 6 PM, the commission is meeting to decide his severance package.  A severance package is usually given to an employee who is let go without cause.  I know of no private company that offers severance packages to employees who quit
Simply put, the severance is for a layoff or dismissal without cause, not a resignation. 
I think what happened is that Kelly was pushed, that is asked to resign with a promise of walking away money, in this case to tune of about $70,000.  I think that's wrong.  

I diverge with many others in that I like and respect Dennis Kelly.  I am disappointed in how he has managed the whole "sick" building problem and vehemently disagree with his lack of investigation on the police chief nepotism scandal but on the whole Kelly has managed us through financial issues, worked out useful plans for civic improvement and improved the non police staffing levels. 

Look at this way.  We are already $193,000 over budget, this adds another $70,000.  Our reserves are around $400,000 unencumbered,.  This brings that down to $150,000 more or less.   That's scary.  

If there are causes for dismissal issues, then they must be discussed.  If the reason Kelly is to leave is that the city commission wants him gone, then they need to follow the contract.  The pay to resign is sleazy. 

The meeting itself is in the cramped temporary offices at 1666 JKF Causeway Monday at 6PM.  This is probably deliberate to keep public participation to a minimum.   I'm going and I hope those who can be there will as well.  I have no intention of disrespecting Dennis Kelly but our commission has to start doing things the right way.  If it's the commission's will to get rid of Dennis Kelly, then they have to do it transparently and legally in the open.  If it was Dennis Kelly's choice, then severance is off the table.  No more backroom deals.  

Kevin Vericker
March 29, 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Catch Up

On Wednesday, the Treasure Island Neighbors Association (TINA) met at Trio Restaurant to discuss Public Safety and other issues affecting the residents.  This was a purely resident led meeting for single family homeowners on Treasure Island.  I wasn't there but Mario Garcia did a great job of covering the meeting at his blogClick here to read it.  

Yesterday, Dennis Kelly, the Village Manager, resigned.  There is a special commission meeting Monday at 6 PM.  According to the web page, it will be at 1666 KENNEDY CAUSEWAY, 3RD FLOOR, which seems like it will be awfully cramped.  The residents will probably be very interested in this.   

Police Chief Robert Daniels continues on the job while the village seeks legal advice on his hire of his wife for a no show job.  There are also Ethics and State Attorney investigations on this apparent attempt to violate Florida's nepotism laws and North Bay Village Charter.  The village has not cooperated in those efforts.  

Finally, the Board of Directors at the Lexi took issue with several misrepresentations made about their building during the sick building discussion.  There's an article in Miami Sun Post Weekly about the concerns and you can access at their web site here.  

Kevin Vericker
March 29, 2013  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Treasure Island Neighbors Association

Update:  The Meeting is at Trio, not the Lexi.  Still at 7:30 PM March 27.  

The Treasure Island Neighbors Association is back in action after a several year period of dormancy.   TINA is having a meeting for the single family homeowners on Treasure Island onWednesday, March 27th 2013 at 7:30 p.m., 
At Trio Restaurant
J F Kennedy Causeway
Refreshments will be served.       

The Agenda will include the safety and security of our neighborhood, and the safety and security of the children at the school and the Tot Lot.

There will be a chance to bring up the concerns of the owners of the single family homes on T.I., but they will keep it brief so the meetings don't get painful.

No Village officials have been invited as this is an organizational meeting and will be restricted to residents of single family homes.  It's the group's intention to expand and work with other NBV groups in the future.  

I can't attend owing to a previous commitment but if you own a single family house on TI, I urge you to be there.  

Kevin Vericker
March 26, 2013  

Hope to see you there.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Police Bloat

North Bay Village has a problem.  The police consume  2/3rds of our budget and for years now this part of the budget, the only part that makes a difference, has been a sacred cow.  You discuss it at your own peril.   

It should not be this way.  When a community dedicates the vast percentage of its resources to a single department, the community has the  right to know how the money is being spent.  We don't.  

The police budget tells us nothing.  We don't know how much a patrol costs, what does it cost to respond to a police call, what revenues are generated by tickets, fines and other penalties, how much stolen property is recovered, or even what the true crime rate is.  

We do know that at least $500,000 and much closer to $1 million dollars, about 30% of the police budget, have been dedicated to fighting a single case against an officer who was fired and then ordered to be reinstated.  This when the arbitrator found that the testimony of the NBV PD was so disjointed that no reasonable finding could be  made.   The PD is currently pursuing another, even weaker case against a different officer.   

We know that the police chief hired his wife for a no show job.  By the way, he's now claiming that Bob Pushkin, our former city manager, approved the hire but there's no paperwork to back that up.  

For years now, residents have asked for transparency in the police department only to be met by stonewalling and lies.   

This commission has a lot to deal with but the core, the finances and the community services, can't be addressed until the commission takes up the issue of the police department.  It has to or we are never going to move forward.  

Kevin Vericker
March 21, 2013     

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hitting the Streets Last Tuesday

For a short commission meeting, Tuesday March 12 was jam packed with the fundamental issues that plague our village.   Let's start out with the litter and Harbor Island issues.  

Commissioner Eddie Lim has been talking about the litter for months now.  It's been in every report he's made.  This month he was even more forceful and has been sharing the pictures posted in the information Facebook Group, North Bay Village Residents Speak.  Additionally Commissioners Gonzalez and Chervony have engaged on the subject of Harbor Island speeders, the abuse of the park and the condition of the streets.  

The village administration has decided to send street sweeping crews twice a week to Harbor Island which should help, and Chief Daniels was instructed to increase patrols in the neighborhood, which he won't do because, well the community is his last concern.   

So that's on the plus side.  On the down side is that not one single Harbor Island resident showed up to the meeting.  I've heard all the excuses - don't have time, shouldn't have to etc but the truth in politics is you got to qualify to signify.  Our commissioners are volunteers not professionals and running the municipality is a shared responsibility.  The people who show up will be heard.  I'm pretty sure there will be some activity on Harbor Island but quickly it will return to the status quo.  

I mentioned fundamental issues and the problem with the Village Hall is the clearest point.  The Village is improvising how to deal with the evacuation of the existing site.  Lidia Dinkova of the Herald covers the surface problem well in her article here but makes no note that the village was not able to execute an emergency continuity plan when the hall was shut down.  

The Village Manager offered that there was a plan for hurricanes and for terrorism but they had not considered "sick buildings".   This is a lame excuse as both terrorism and storm damage have an access component and that is the part that mattered.  It didn't happen.  

Our head public safety officer is responsible to creating those plans while the manager is responsible for implementing them.  The Chief did not speak to the emergency plans but used it as yet another excuse not to provide the basic information to the commission.   

Mario Garcia, in his blog, talks about some of the other issues - the impending deficit, the boardwalk and several other issues.  To read about those, click here

We're not in great shape.  

Kevin Vericker
March 16, 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Chief

Tonight at the commission meeting, I brought up a recently uncovered issue with the Chief.  His wife, Michelle I. Malkin, is listed as an active, part time officer in the North Bay Village Police Department on the Herald Tribune's FDLE data base.  You can see the record here .

This is a problem on several levels.  Our charter is completely clear that nepotism, that is hiring your relatives, is forbidden.   Here's the relevant section.  Bold emphasis is mine.  

From the Village Charter, Article 4.03

No person related to the second degree of consanguinity to an elected or appointed City official (department head and above) shall be eligible to hold a remunerative position with the City. Any appointed City official who shall knowingly make such an appointment may be deemed guilty of misfeasance or malfeasance in office and subject to removal. The person so employed may be subject to dismissal. This provision may be waived during conditions deemed as emergencies by the City Commission.  (my note:  I copied this from which does not contain the new language from the November 2012 Charter amendment but there was no substantial change to the proviso regarding nepotism.) 

 I've requested the public records for the hire and hope to report on those soon.  This is a serious problem, legally and ethically.  

The commission and the village manager need to suspend Bob Daniels and launch a full investigation into what happened here.  Either the Village Charter has been violated if Ms. Malkin was duly hired or fraudulent reports have been filed with the FDLE.   Regardless, until the full investigation is done, Daniels should be out. 

In other news, the Chief was unable to provide a full public safety because of the Village Hall issue, which remains closed.  I didn't know the computers had been affected and strangely, I have the stats if anyone on the commission wants them.  

The Chief came under criticism for his nearly three year old suspension of the PAL program, which he blamed on short staff and  an ongoing investigation of the PAL officer.  But one thing he made clear was that he would not tolerate politics in the PAL, a pointed jab at me.  

This is definition of chutzpah - he  creates the situation and then complains that people are being "political".  You want politics?  Over the years I have fought with then commissioner Rey Trujillo, current commissioners Kreps, Lim and Chervony, among others.  Old fashioned street fights but we always agreed that the PAL needs to be continued and it was Rey Trujillo who specifically made sure there was money for it.  Chief, when you see the parents, the commissioners, the village loudmouths like me all agreeing on one thing, that's not politics, that's community.  

There's more from the meeting and I will write more later this week but we have more than a sick building on our hands now - we've got a rotten situation in the PD.  

Kevin Vericker
March 12, 2013

Shortest Post Ever

I am way far behind in posting and I'm not going to catch up today.  Here are the two main things you need to know:

  • The commission meeting is tonight at 7:30 at the Treasure Island Elementary School.  The chambers are closed owing to a ventilation problem in the hall, so the meeting has been moved. 
  •  Mario Garcia did an excellent job writing about the change at Food Giant.  Check his stuff out at  You should be reading him anyway.  
I will catch up later this week.  

Kevin Vericker
March 12, 2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The FaceBook Group

There's a Facebook group called "North Bay Village Residents Speak".   I started it a while ago during the strip club madness and have kept it going.  If you are not aware of it, and you're on Facebook, check it out at
It's not an official site but it is read by several commissionersThe group requires membership, just to keep the trolls out and everyone is welcome.  The rules there are the same as commenting here - no libels, no obscenities - just generally don't be a jerk.  

The hottest issue right now is the condition of the streets, dirty and unkempt.  I found in my walks that Harbor Island is the worst of the lot by far and emotions are running high there on the subject.  People have been posting photos, discussing different viewpoints on strategies. 

I'd love to see the concern translated to action.  The most important thing is to go to the Commission Meetings, second Tuesday every month, and speak out on the subject.  Good & Welfare, the open forum portion is usually at 8:30 but its best to be there by 7:30 when the meeting starts.  

You got to qualify to signify in this world 

Kevin Vericker
March 7, 2013


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Stop in the Name of the Law

For today's post, I am mostly going to refer you to Mario Garcia's blog at NBVMARIO.  I didn't attend the special commission meeting because of a conflict with another event.   

Mario brings out three major points - the village is bound by state legislation on red light camera revenues, party house and sober houses.   I don't have much to add on the last two but I think it might be useful if I cover a bit on the Red Light Camera Programs.  

When the Red Light Camera Program was first instituted, the revenue was shared between the village and the company operating the cameras.  The Florida Legislature upended that and in effect confiscated the revenue from the munipalities, leaving us with the burden of paying for them while taking the money.   That's why we are now stuck with the bill.   

The program has been effective.  People's driving habits have changed and crossing an intersection is now noticeably easier.  In my observation, this program has been a public safety success for pedestrians and bicyclists.    

From a revenue standpoint, it was never going to be as good as speculated.  Windfalls never are.  

But let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Let's keep the redlight program but make it cost neutral.  We are better off with a pedestrian safe community.  

Kevin Vericker
March 2, 2013