Friday, June 19, 2015

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things Around Here

If you haven't been paying attention to anything but this blog, you might think that the only thing happening in North Bay Village is the Mayor's disgruntlement with the handling of her note cards.  That's my fault.  I have not mentioned the traffic mess up on the Causeway nor the Parking Decal programs coming at us for a while.  

Let's get up to date, shall we?

Parking on Harbor Island:   

The Village sent out the notice below to their email list.   This raised more questions than it answered and the Facebook page North Bay Village Residents Speak has been awash with questions. 

Notice Sent Out By The Village June 18
 The questions can be broadly lumped into a few categories:
  • What about visitors?  
  • Is my building eligible?
  • If I am a part time resident with a car registered elsewhere, can I get a sticker?
  • What about parking at Vogel Park after 6 PM and before sunset?
These questions were asked at the two (2) parking workshops - the first in January 2014 and the next in April 2015.  At the time, no answers were given and promises were made that these would be addressed.  Ah, promises!  Like they're anything more than a wispy dream expressed. 

In fact, the only publicly available information on  the parking program can be found by going to the village web site, selecting the Harbor Island Parking Regulations and scrolling through a PDF file that is only a broad proposal and does not include the procedures.  

A professional village manager would have rolled out a full program, one that includes Frequently Asked Questions, where to go for more information, how to acquire a guest pass and an update on the eligible buildings.   Rootin' Tootin' Straight Shootin' Son of A Gun Frank Rollason is many things, but not a professional manager.  He doesn't trust the intertubes and doesn't see why people would be interested.  

One thing he does do is engage in long, pointless email exchanges over things like note cards and his hurt and disappointment with the mayor and so forth so maybe if you email him at RootinTootinStraightShootinSonOfGun he will send you some some answers when he gets back from vacation.   (Go ahead - the link works.)

The Causeway:

The Causeway is going to be a mess for a year.  You've seen it the last two weeks.  That phase may be over today.  It may not.  We don't know.  

What we do know is that in July, the same thing starts on Treasure Island for some period of time and that FDOT is planning a full year resurfacing of the Causeway after that.   

NBV has Code RED, the reverse 911 system that should notify us of important things like it will take an hour to get to Miami but apparently the village doesn't trust the phones and have not once notified us of the traffic delays.  

NBV has a Web Page but nobody thought it important to include the traffic shutdown.  

NBV has emails for all residents receiving their water bills electronically.  

NBV even has its own TV channel but nobody knows how to turn it on.   

I guess they figure if they don't say anything, maybe nobody will notice. 

Connie meeting with her peers
One thing's for sure, our mayor made the right move.  She's in Las Vegas at a village paid conference meeting with her fellow elected officials.  I guess that's one way to deal with the pressure of the traffic.  

Kevin Vericker
June 19, 2015

Saturday, June 13, 2015

What Really Happens Behind the Scenes

Residents of North Bay Village, North Beach and Surfside have asked "What the heck is going on? The Causeway is all torn up and someone decided to put 2 lanes going west and 1 lane going east? Why did the village never let us know about this and how long will it last?"  

Well, shut up.  There are more important issues facing the village - specifically whether or not the mayor got her note cards and why rootin' tootin' straight shootin' Frank Rollason is sick of it and what Eddie Lim thinks.  

Below is the actual, real life email exchange that happened on the subject.  Spoiler Alert, the mayor and her rootin' tootin' straight shootin' bestie went out for long talk over dinner at Balans on Biscayne on Monday and by Tuesday were besties again .  How they got to Balans with all the traffic is a mystery but love has it ways.  

1.)  The Mayor Complains about the Village staff not getting her note cards:
-----Original Message-----
From: Connie Leon-Kreps
Sent: Tuesday, June 02, 2015 12:26 PM
To: Frank Rollason
Cc: Yvonne Hamilton; Jenorgen Guillen;
Subject: It is simple only note cards! not that complicated


As you recall, I had on 5/22/2105 requested that all coordination of my
affairs be transferred to the clerk's office.

This was as a result of numerous and consistent issues with getting my
tasks and affairs attended to, completed and or followed up by the
executive assistant for almost a year.

On 5/14/2015 when I realized due to a personal condition that I could
not attend the funeral of Representative Geller's mother, I went into
city hall and requested from you and Evelyn note cards within a week if
possible (which by the way I had been asking for some time), you and
Evelyn gave me the impression that I was not to worry that you would
handle. I expected them within a week. On 5/22/2105 when I inquired,
since I had not heard back as to the status. You gave me yet another
excuse as to why Evelyn had not ordered them other than she was not in,
were getting quotes to order for the entire commission.

Yvonne and Jen were able to prepare a note card for me to send to the
representative (without asking) on the same day of 5/22/2015.
Today 6/2/2015 still I do not have the note cards and again I am told
Evelyn was delegated the task.

Frank, it is only note cards!  it is not that complicated.

The mother of a commissioner from Harbor Island passed away and it would
be nice if the village mayor would send a condolence note.

I am not sure what it is to be accomplished here in the interference and
blocking of my ability to perform my duties as the Mayor.

Again, I will ask you to provide met with the printers' information as I
had previously and I will take it from here and order the cards myself
or please let the Clerks; office help me.

Connie Leon-Kreps, Mayor
North Bay Village
1666 Kennedy Causeway, Ste 300
North Bay Village FL 33141
Tel: 305-756-7171
Mob. 786 877-1163
Fax: 305-756-7722

"The future depends on what we do in the present" Mahatma Gandhi
2.)  The Village Manager escalates the situation by putting all the commissioners and several new staffers on the to/cc lines and replies to Her Honor:

On Jun 2, 2015, at 3:21 PM, Frank Rollason wrote:

Mayor, I encourage you to bring my inefficiencies in addressing your
issues and my blocking your ability to perform your duties as the Mayor
to the Commission for appropriate action.  You asked for a meeting with
Jim Crosland and we had that meeting and since that time you have done
nothing but nit-pick at every single item the Administration has to deal
with.  You, quite frankly, do not like how the current Administration
handles anything.  So, let's get it out in the open with the full
Commission and you can explain to them how poorly the Administration is
performing for your purposes as Mayor. 
On the issue of the note cards,I do not make excuses, I tell you exactly where we are at. 
We shoppedaround for prices because that is what we should do.  And, as you
recall, on May 22nd, you sent an e-mail instructing the Administration
to "disregard - I will get my own cards," so, we stopped the rush and
looked for better prices.  Now you say, "Where are my cards?"   There
are 5 Commissioners on this Commission and I do not single out one more
than the other when it comes to such things as greeting cards or
thank-you cards.  If we are buying for the Mayor, we are buying for all
5.  Evelyn spoke with the printer today and was told the cards would be
ready for pick-up Thursday afternoon and it is our intent to do just
that.  It is unfortunate that 2 parents of sitting commissioners in
neighboring communities have just passed away, but I would certainly
think that Yvonne could provide two more cards on an emergency basis
until we pick up the cards this Thursday afternoon. 
I am tired of thesniping and squabbling over minor inconsequential items.  Several weeks
ago, I offered to meet with you on a weekly basis to "keep you in the
loop" in a face to face forum - I received no reply.  Some time ago, you
noted that when you go to events or travel or receive special guest that
you have nothing nice to give them as the Mayor from North Bay Village.
A week or so ago, I place two crystal pieces on your desk for you to
take to the NALEO Conference and did not here so much as a peep that
they are nice or you would like more or anything of the sort.  All we
here is negative, negative, negative and I am tired of it.  I am tired
of you rebuking staff members in public in a very unprofessional manner
- certainly uncalled for.  So, I would say, please air it out in front
of your peers at a full Commission meeting and let the chips fall where
they may.  I am not sure how or why we have drifted apart, but it is
quite apparent that we are reaching that irreconcilable point in our
relationship as Mayor and Manager.  I agreed to take this position with
only one caveat - that you and the other elected officials set the
policies and I run the Administration.  I constantly find that as I make
decisions which are clearly within my authority as the Manager, you take
offense to those actions and continually make comments to the rank and
file employees who eventually come to me as ask what is going on?  It
has to stop.  So, I would suggest you bring it to the Commission and
have a discussion on whether or not you want to continue to retain me in
this position or is it time for me to move on.  This is not a threat.  I
need this job like a hole in my head.  I came here for the challenge and
to help NBV get back on its feet.  Little did I know at the time how bad
the situations were, but it has been fun and satisfying to help get
things back on track.  It is a total team effort to make things better.
The elected officials cannot do it alone and the Administration cannot
do it alone - we need to be a team.  And if the Captain of the elected
official's team is dissatisfied with the Captain of the Administrative
Team then something has to give.  You decide on how you want to handle,
but this has to stop, Frank.

Frank Rollason, Village Manager
North Bay Village
1666 Kennedy Causeway, Ste 300
Tel: 305-756-7171 Ext 21
Fax: 305-756-7722
Mobile: 305-299-7300

3.) Eddie Lim responds:-----Original Message-----
From: Eddie Lim
Sent: Wed 6/3/2015 2:51 PM
To: Frank Rollason
Cc: Connie Leon-Kreps; Yvonne Hamilton; Jenorgen Guillen;; Jorge Gonzalez; Richard Chervony; Wendy Duvall;; Jenice Rosado; Evelyn Herbello; Brian Collins; Bert Wrains
Subject: Re: It is simple only note cards! not that complicated

Here is my interim response to this.

I am very upset and deeply saddened our Village Manager has been driven to his wits ends to write his email.

I've told the Mayor before and I am repeating my advice to her. LEAVE THE VILLAGE MANAGER ALONE to do his job !! He's not hired to only serve YOU ! Forget the little unimportant things ! It's all about priority.

Frank and his team has A LOT of much more important and time sensitive tasks to handle then worry about your damn cards !

Madam Mayor are you losing it ? Has your head grown so big you think Frank only caters to your mundane and insignificant requests ?

Folks if Frank resigns on account of the Mayor constant nit picking and uncalled for interference, I will hold the Mayor directly responsible. The Mayor will have to answer to the Commission, to all residents and to our county commissioner and to our state representative. At which time I WILL CALL for you to step down as Mayor because by then you are no longer relevant.

Eddie P. Lim
Commissioner, Harbor Island
North Bay Village FL 33141
Sent from my iPhone

So anyway, it seems like it's all sorted now and the course to true love never runs smooth and all that.  Oh, by the way, the commission bailed on the budget workshop twice in a row now.  It's all about the note cards.  

Kevin Vericker 
June 13, 2015

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Garbage Bid Equals Garbage Out

There is currently an item on the Tuesday June 9 Commission agenda to revive a 2010 bid from Waste Management Systems to privatize our garbage and possibly to end side yard pickup at the single family homes.  

I understand that the resolution is being pulled because one or more of the commissioners cannot be at the meeting, so it will be deferred until July.   

The garbage should not be privatized.  While there are significant short term cost savings, the long term shows that it always costs the taxpayers more and leaves us at the mercy of an oligarchical group.  Once we take away the infrastructure, it's incredibly expensive to build it back.  

But let's say the short term gain is worth it in the eyes of the commission.  Then it needs to be considered correctly and currently.  The Bid from 2010 includes items that are no longer relevant, does not include the impact of the new construction or the value of our current capital assets.  It does not even include the wishes of the residents.  It's just an old moldy bid five years obsolete.  

 I for one would be very surprised if the bid itself did not contain an expiration date but I am told it does not.  Still, it makes sense for the village discuss the issue and create a new RFP, maybe based on the old one, and get our current needs out to the current market and then evaluate.  Otherwise, we are recycling one big pile of organic mass and it won't work.  

The original RFP and response were dirty all along.  Back in September 2010, the resolution to accept Waste Management was presented with lies.  The city manager straight up told the commission that the savings would $500,000 per year while he was holding the finances showing that the savings would never exceed $50,000.   The commission was carefully financed through Waste Management campaign fund contributions and the whole process was so loose, it was becoming more and more clear that if it passed, someone was going to jail.  There were too many questions.  

The commission tried to backpedal and asked for a revised bid including side yard pickup which Waste Management declined to provide.  In the meantime, our now current mayor, then vice mayor had won a lawsuit to put her on the commission.  A competitor of WMS, Choice Environmental Systems, objected to the choice.  The new vice mayor Kreps then put a resolution on the agenda to reject their protest out of hand.  She then read the resolution out loud, acted confused, and shrieked "What did I just vote for?" when she voted against herself.  She has not improved since.  And that objection may still be out there. 

Finally, on June 30, 2011, the bid was considered by the village commission and Waste Management declined to participate as it now included side yard pickup.   This issue has been on hiatus for four years.  In preparation for the budget of 2015, the village manager is bringing the idea back as a cost saver.  But instead of saying let's review the old RFP, update it, get it on the market and get it moving, he's taking the easy path of let's consider this again.   It's wrong and it's unprofessional to do that.  

I hope there will be enough backbone on the commission to take the needed step back and do this right and in the sunshine.  

Kevin Vericker
June 6, 2015

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

June Agenda

Ah, June.  When the summer heat hits its full stride and things slow down in the Florida sun.  

It's a good time to sneak things into the village and our commission is great at that.   

Garbage:  The ruling junta of North Bay Village, the unelected unseen powers have long wanted to outsource our garbage collection and five years ago nearly did.  In fact, the only thing that saved it was when Connie Leon-Kreps voted against her own resolution to move it along because well, let's face it, she's not bright.  This was a big disappointment to the voices outside her head.  After all, why should the residents continue to enjoy sideyard pickup, our own dedicated sanitation force and the flexibility of being in charge of our sanitation when other people could make money on it?  

The whole thing was a fiasco.  Then city manager Bob Pushkin stated to the commission at the time that we would save $500,000 per year by privatizing even though his own calculations showed at best a $50,000 savings, we would lose side yard pickup, our employees would be let go.  The commission, sullied by greed, voted 4-1 to accept this.  Then as mentioned above, in her premier performance as the "Madwoman of Chaillot" Vice Mayor, Mrs. Kreps pretended that she had submitted a resolution to move the bid to a final but hadn't and she messed up her vote, leaving the bid unresolved.  When Waste Management Systems was asked to rebid with side yard pickup, they declined.  It was a mess.  
Now, rootin' tootin' straight shootin' son of a gun Frank Rollason wants to take the tainted, deceptive five year old RFP and pass it on next Tuesday night.  Such an honest move and one that will result in really killing off the rest of the quality of life we have here.  

It will pass.  Jorge Gonzalez who is now reduced to bullying residents who complain about garbage, will vote the way he's been instructed, as will the mayor if she brings the right personality and is prompted correctly, the other two don't give a crap so they'll vote for it.  

And then we'll be stuck.  

Water Rates:  The sewage is going up 18% and the water rate is going up 16.5%.  The village will blame this on the county water rates but that's not really true.  You see the village doubles the rate to cover "administrative costs" and that will simply put more money into overhead, not into a plan to fix and repair the sewers.   The costs of administering the water and sewer did not rise 16.5% and 18% respectively but that doesn't matter.  

The Magic Garage Lifts are Back:  Too many people were paying attention in May so they postponed the lifts at 7922 until June.  

The Open Space:  The commission was uninterested in hearing about the problems in May so they called in to say they were too busy.   It is being shoved to the end of the agenda and will be ignored by the four.   

August Meeting: They intend to cancel it because hey, once they've paid off their friends, ignored their constituents, protected Jorge Gonzalez from people gazing on him by stealing the easements, and made sure all the real estate flippers developers are happy, they have to spend their time somewhere.  

Happy Summer
Kevin Vericker
June 3, 2015