Saturday, January 27, 2018

Firing the Chief - Next Up On The Mayor's Agenda

People ask me, "Don't you have anything positive to say?" and they're right.  I often only point up the negative when I am posting about North Bay Village and do not give enough credit to the good things that are happening.   And here's the big one.  

Our Police Department is back, big and strong.  They are the police of old that I remember, involved in the community, making our traffic safer, talking to the residents and rebuilding the trust that had been shattered under the previous chief.   

And the credit belongs squarely with Chief Carlos Noriega.  He's not one of those warm and fuzzy guys with great PR, but he's solid, open and professional.  He's has slowly and steadily reestablished the community trust through visible policing, traffic patrols, supporting crime watch, and initiating community events.   Here's how good it's become.  A cop can actually be seen talking to a resident without worrying if his job on the line.   That's some great stuff.  

I wish I could stop the post right here with a tip of the hat and a jaunty sign off.  

But I can't.  

The mayor is trying desperately to fire the Chief.  After the firing of Robert Switkes, who stated he believed his firing to be retaliation for Switkes filing the reports of extortion, Switkes said clearly that "the mayor is a subject of interest" in that same investigation. 

The Police Chief has been pursuing that investigation.  In the meantime, the mayor, along with Jose Alvarez (whose wife was also named a "subject of interest" by Switkes) and Andreana Jackson, have joined in an unholy alliance to get rid of the police chief as soon as they can. 

Seem like they think if the Chief goes away, the extortion investigation goes away.  

News flash - it doesn't.   The feds take violations of the Hobbes Act very seriously and even if the State Attorney General, who is not known for her work ethic, lazes this one by, the feds are coming.  

Now only the Village Manager can fire the police chief, and for cause, but with an interim Village Manager and the active participation of the new Village Attorney, the pressure on the Chief continues to mount.   

There was an utterly insane email chain last Thursday about the Chief's supposed failure to keep the attorney informed on an internal investigation, a chain that involved misaddressed emails, the mayor and Commissioner Jackson throwing aside Sunshine, and a fundamental complaint of the Chief withholding information that the Chief had shared and that was already known to the attorney.   It's the documentation phase of the firing plan and if it's any indication, we have some very sloppy people running our village.  

But Noriega is not one of them.  I believe  most residents who have been here a few years see exactly what a great job the police are doing, even when they are giving you a ticket, and want this chief to keep it going.   If I'm right, then people have to show up at the commission meetings and speak their minds.  

The next commission meeting is February 13 and there is a special meeting on Monday (which will probably be cancelled as it's not kosher).   One way or the other, you have to be there to speak your mind and let the dais know that the police work for us.   

Kevin Vericker
January 27, 2018

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Things That Really Happened

Mayor Kreps
Last night, Village Manager Frank Rollason and Deputy Village Manager Jenice Rosado both resigned from their posts and left.  

Wait.  That's not right.  After a nearly year long campaign on the part of the mayor and her various personalities, and following the sleazy firing of Robert Switkes, and in the middle of an extortion investigation in which the mayor and the wife of a commissioner have been publicly called out as persons of interest by the former Village Attorney, and amazing disorganization on the dais, Village Manager Frank Rollason and Deputy Village Manager Jenice Rosado both resigned.  

Yeah, that's better. 

That was not a surprise.  There's only so much people will put up with.  But the Village was left in a bad situation.  Frank Rollason has offered to help in the transition but did not agree to stay.  I have not talked to Jenice Rosado but in her resignation letter, she referenced a "toxic work environment."  Mayor Kreps assured the meeting that "procedures will be followed" because the Village cares. 

Commissioner Mary Kramer's Husband
was at the meeting too. 
So today, in response to the resignations, the Village called an Emergency Meeting.  The description "emergency" was deliberately chosen as "Special" meetings require 24 to 48 notice.   Our charter makes no mention of procedures for an "Emergency" meeting (it should) but in the judgment of the new village attorney, the lack of a chief administrative officer in the village constituted an emergency so normal notice procedures, typically 48 hours, were suspended.   There was 8 hours notice.  

Anyway, to make a long story longer, the meeting went on with just 3 members of the dais, the Mayor, Commissioner Jackson and Mary Kramer's husband.   There was little suspense as the subject matter had been picked over before the meeting and Bert Wrains, our affable finance director, was appointed interim Village Manager by the commission, and then Ana de Leon, one of the best neighbors I've ever had, was appointed acting HR director by the commission which is not legal because the commission only hires the Village Clerk, Village Manager and Village Attorney but still it was a nice gesture.  It does make me wonder what the commission thinks their job is.   

Then the commission declined to authorize travel expenses if there is an attractive candidate for Village Manager which was odd again because that's the Village Manager's decision but that's how they roll.  

A few residents were there and several spoke.  The best line of the night was Celia Veloz who congratulated the commission on finally getting something done - driving Frank Rollason out.  She was being sarcastic, or is it ironic?  Still it was a good line and I wish I had said it.  

Laura Cattabriga, a self anointed vigilante out to destroy Doug Hornsby, went to the microphone and implored everyone to all learn to get along.  Or she'll sue their asses too.  (Not a direct quote but implied.)

Fane Lozman made an appearance to state that the meeting itself was illegal and there's no way a personnel matter should be considered an emergency like, I don't know, a tornado or a tsunami.   He used to be a good friend with Mayor Crazy Eyes but apparently that soured.  

So here we are, 2018, and we still don't have a commission that knows how to vote or what they are supposed to vote on.  I don't think it's going to get better soon.  

No Reason - Just liked the image.
And I almost forgot - the investigation into the extortion of Doug Hornsby is alive and well.  That could work out okay so there's reason for hope.  We might finally get all that publicity we've been looking for.  

Kevin Vericker
January 17, 2018.