Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Mayor Finally Reaches Around

For 8 years, I have been inviting the mayor to post here and on other social media unedited.   She never would but today she sent this email around to the village and it's as close as we get to seeing what she is thinking.  

I publish it here unedited and unchanged.  I invite other viewpoints to do the same.  

From The Desk Of
The Honorable Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps

Over the last few years, our Village has been the subject of several unflattering stories that has tarnished our reputation and stifled our progress. However, those stories are the product of a purposeful effort on the part former staff and certain members of our community who have disseminated patently false, misleading, and mean-spirited information, disguised as news or information. The purpose of this document is to provide the simple TRUTH concerning those matters.

1. FICTION: Former Commissioner Douglas Hornsby was the victim of criminal extortion.

FACT: The State Attorney’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated Dr. Hornsby’s claim and concluded that there was no evidence to support charging ANYONE with the alleged crime or that a crime was even committed. Although serious accusations were made, there was no proof of any threat or illegal behavior.

2.  FICTION: Former Commissioner Dr. Douglas Hornsby was improperly or illegally removed from the Village Commission.

FACT:   Dr. Hornsby was removed from the Commission because his original appointment was VOID. His appointment was void because his voting rights had not been restored at the time of his appointment and he failed to disclose that fact. He did not disclose his significant criminal record. When he received a letter from the Elections Department that he was ineligible to vote, he did not disclose the notification. His voting rights were not fully restored in Florida until several months after he was appointed (in July, 2017). His full citizenship rights were not restored until May of 2017. Both are required to hold office according to the applicable laws. A legal memorandum is available on the Village’s website and you can read it yourself. At this time, Dr. Hornsby is suing the Village for a substantial amount of money for a situation caused only by him.

3. FICTION:  Former Manager Frank Rollason, Assistant Manager Jenice Rosado, and Executive Assistant Evelyn Herbello were fired or forced out of the Village.

FACT:  The Village’s Administrative Staff were NOT fired or FORCED out of the Village. They abruptly walked out of the Village together, without the professional courtesy of notice (after hours), on January 16, 2018. They alleged, in self-serving letters, that they left because of a toxic work environment. However, they were responsible for the Village’s work environment. 

4.  FICTION:  Former Police Chief Carlos Noriega and other part-time police officers were improperly fired to derail an ongoing criminal investigation.

FACT: The Village’s former Manager made the INDEPENDENT decision to terminate Mr. Noriega. He was offered a severance package. He declined and instead decided to file a lawsuit against Village for a substantial amount of money. His lawsuit alleges that he was fired for “blowing the whistle” on wrong doing and violation of the Family Leave Protection Act. The matter is pending a judicial determination in court. The former Manager evaluated a number of part-time officer positions and determined that the taxpayer cost of those officers to the Village (including their take home vehicles) was not fiscally responsible.

5. FICTION: There has been no progress in the Village since Frank Rollason’s departure.

FACT: The Village successfully closed on the Sukura property for future Village development. In fact, Mr. Rollason INEXPLICABLY committed the Village to OVER PAY ($3,200,000.00) for the property. You read that right: over 3 million. Our new Village Attorney, Norman C. Powell, intervened and successfully negotiated the total purchase down to $2,595,625. Moreover, included in the negotiation is the assignment of the Sakura parking contract that generates $12,000 per month for the loan debt service. Our Interim Manager, Lewis Velken, has proposed an initial budget that SAVES the Village over $400,000.00. Mr. Velken has streamlined the Police Departments communications and is expeditiously seeking Department accreditation that will be accomplished with the next 12 months. The accreditation will save the Village Hundreds of Thousands of over time. Mr. Velken has implemented ethic training following the Hurricane Party scandal that occurred on the former Administration and Chief’s watch. In addition, the patrol officers are now equipped with GPS to ensure accountability and comprehensive Village patrol. Mr. Velken’s focus will continue to streamline the Village’s delivery of services.

We have updated our website, introduced Facebook, Twitter, and a new emergency contact system in the last several months. We have retained a communications expert to assist with getting important information out to the public.

My goal has always been to help you, the resident. I have been a tireless advocate for fiscal responsibility and progressive growth in our Village. I have never benefitted personally or financially from my position as mayor. A few like to throw around the world “corruption,” yet no one has ever pointed to any time where I benefited personally or financially from my role as Mayor. That’s because it’s never happened. I will continue to speak out with integrity for what I believe in, and in support of the North Bay Village community. 

Connie Leon Kreps

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