Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Response To The Desk

My Desk Wrote A Letter
Last week, I posted unedited a letter from “The Desk of” Connie Leon-Kreps.

I’m glad her desk wrote it because the mayor’s writing style hurts the eyes so it’s best that she seek outside help, even if it's from furniture.  (Yes, I am nitpicking.  "From the desk of" rather than "From" implies that the desk wrote the memo.)

The letter itself struck me as sad.

After 8 years on the Dais, through all the changes, there is so little she can point to other than that she made some bad choices in personnel and that she didn’t raise taxes too much, she is reduced to a PR exercise of half truths to defend herself.

Read the original post here and then I break it down.

Point 1:  The mayor dismisses the extortion of Doug Hornsby as fiction, saying "FICTION: Former Commissioner Douglas Hornsby was the victim of criminal extortion."

The mayor then claims that this is the finding by the State Attorney Office.

It is not.  The extortion happened.

There is no question about that and the investigators never said there was no extortion.

The State Attorney’s Office did report was the Connie Leon Kreps refused to be interviewed by the investigators and because of that refusal, they saw no reason to continue investigating, which seems like an odd and politically motivated decision, but nowhere in the memo do they even suggest that the extortion attempt didn’t happen.  You can read the memo here. 

Point 2:  The mayor disputes that Doug Hornsby was illegally removed from office.

Our Charter provides for exactly this sort of situation in (Section 3.07 b&c) of the North Bay Village Charter which lays out the process for removing a commissioner.  It’s right here (emphasis mine):

3.07 (b) Forfeiture of office. A Commission member Commissioner or Mayor shall forfeit his office if any time during his term of office said person, (a) lacks any qualifications for the office prescribed by this Charter or other by applicable law including § 100.361, Florida Statutes, (1989) or (b) is convicted of a felony while in office, or (c) fails to attend four consecutive regular meetings of the Commission, unless such absences are each excused by motion setting forth the reason for the absence duly entered upon the minutes or (d) having been elected or appointed from an election district fails to reside within the election district from which he was elected or appointed for any reason other than redistricting. Forfeiture shall be determined by the remaining members of the Commission.

3.07 (c)  Forfeiture hearing. A member charged with conduct constituting grounds for forfeiture of his office shall be entitled to a Public Hearing on demand and notice of such hearing shall be published in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the Village at least one week in advance of the hearing.

The commission could have done the legal route, which is generally called due process, and avoided lawsuits, plus, you know, do things the right way, but instead they chose a previously unknown process and appointed themselves judge, jury, prosecutor and defense attorney, and ignored the due process requirement.

Point 3:  The mayor asserts that Rollason, Rosado, and Herbello were not forced out.  They for some reason just wandered out and their allegations of a “toxic work environment” were false because they were responsible for the work environment.

Actually, the allegations of a toxic work environment were about the mayor’s behavior, something for which they were not responsible.  As for the walkout, when your top three employees all walk out, something’s wrong.

Point 4:  Chief Noriega and the two detectives were fired for … well, she really doesn’t specify, does she?   The fact that the two detectives were also investigating the very real Hornsby extortion, another case against a close ally of the mayor, and the chief asserts that he notified the Village of a whistle-blower complaint seems to be irrelevant to the mayor.

I do note that the Village Manager who according to this word soup made the decision independently of the mayor et al was asked to resign two months later, at a cost to the city of $127,000.   Martell was asked to resign because she did not produce fireworks at the mayor’s command.

Point 5:  The progress Her Honor notes is the purchase of a piece of property with an unfinanced $2.1 million balloon payment due in 2020.  Nobody knows why we bought it but we did buy it.

The interim Village Manager and former police chief is proposing to cut police services including dispatch (we’ll be going to the county at an unnamed cost) and the detectives who investigate municipal corruption.  However several loyal to the mayor cops are reportedly getting raises.

The GPS is not working but we are paying for it.

We do now have a Facebook page and it’s starting to work, so good.   Of course, it cost $40,000 and does not have a place for the public postings by the residents.

In the meantime, the rest of the cost savings, which remain in doubt, were proposed by Marlen Martell, including a process to reduce the emergency spend.

But I guess that’s progress?

Finally, the mayor concludes by saying the she is not corrupt.  Which is probably true.

But that seems a sad accomplishment after eight years.

Kevin Vericker
August 21, 2018

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