Friday, January 11, 2019

It Looks Like A Duck

During January 8th's Commission meeting, something struck me and some others as odd.  The discussion about two charter officers, the Village Clerk and the Village Manager, included the phrase RFQ, which generally means Request for Qualifications, something you write when you are requesting a service, not when planning to recruit an employee.

The Manager and Clerk positions are both going out for advertising as they are filled with interims.  Graciela Mariot is filling the role of Village Clerk after Yvonne Hamilton was viciously savaged by Commissioner Andreana Jackson, and "Police Chief" Lewis Velken has been acting as Village Manager.   

The commission announced their intention to permanently fill these spots and so the question came up as to why the Village was not talking about job postings for these two positions historically filled by permanent Village employees.  And the answer was that the RFQ was a mistake and of course we were looking for full time employees.   

The only other charter position, Village Attorney, has to my knowledge always been contracted out so an RFQ seems about on course.  


It turns out that Lewis Velken, appointed as police chief in April of last year, then dual appointed to the role of interim village manager and police chief in July, then unappointed as police chief the following morning since dual appointments are against Florida law, is not for payroll purposes an employee of the Village. 

His services are contracted through Stephanie Leon PA, a real estate agency in Miami Lakes.  

Now I'm not a strip club lobbyist municipal attorney, but it seems like an arrangement whereby our police chief, now acting as a charter officer, is actually employed by a real estate agent named Stephanie Leon in Miami Lakes is something that would require a commission resolution, you know to agree to and understand the contract with the real estate agency.

But to my knowledge, this was never discussed on the dais and I am willing to bet that the members of the commission were unaware of this unusual arrangement.  

I even made a table of the payments.

Stephanie Leon PA
10/05/2018 Regular 0.00 10,153.84 7934

18-704 Invoice 10/04/2018 LABOR WAGES- 8/31-9/27/2018 LEWIS VELK…

Stephanie Leon PA
11/05/2018 Regular 0.00 12,692.30 8122

18-705 Invoice 11/05/2018 LABOR WAGES- 09/28/18-11/14/18 LEWIS V…

Stephanie Leon PA
12/04/2018 Regular 0.00 10,153.84 8278

18-706 Invoice 12/03/2018 LABOR WAGES FOR L. VELKEN -11/02-11/29…

For what it's worth, I asked for an explanation of Mr. Velken's salary as long ago as August 2018 but I have never gotten an answer.  Now I understand why I did not get that answer.

I hope our commission gets to the bottom of this.  After all,

If it looks like a duck.
If it walks like a duck.

Kevin Vericker
Jan. 11, 2019


1 comment:

  1. So, let me get this straight. Your acting City Manager, Lewis Velken, is not an actual employee of North Bay Village? While your Charter ( does not specifically state that the manager must be on the payroll, it is very clear about the qualifications of this position.

    The Charter states, "The Manager shall be a graduate of either an accredited school of public administration or its related equivalent in engineering, fiscal management or business administration with no less than three (3) years' experience in the administration of local government or in lieu of the foregoing, he must have not less than five (5) years' experience in the administration of local government."

    According to her own LinkedIn page (, Stephanie Leon lists her only "education" as having attended the Gold Coast School Of Real Estate, and that she is a "certified" as a "reo foreclosure specialist" and as a "short sales agent."

    Nowhere does profile state that she has a degree in public administration, engineering, fiscal management or business administration, as required by your Charter. Nor, does her bio reflect any experience whatsoever in the administration of a local government, as also required by your Charter.

    In essence, by hiring and paying a real estate agent as your village manager, the Mayor and Commission are in violation of their own municipal charter.

    I think Jose Arrojo, executive director of the Ethics Commission, needs to be notified.


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