Tuesday, April 30, 2019

North Bay Village Leaning Forward

Sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward in life.   And that's what the commission is being asked to do.   

I refer of course to the Carlos Noriega matter, our police chief who was fired as part of the final throes of the last administration.  Noriega has been suing to get his job back.   

There's a new administration now and much of the community discussion has supported reinstating for very good reasons which you can read here.   

Yesterday, April 29, the commission met in an executive session to consider the route to getting the police department back on track from which they were derailed by the firing and in act of radical transparency, they preceded the meeting with a short session for public comment.  

I want to stop for a second and point out how radical and correct this simple step of encouraging and allowing public comment about a contentious issue was.    

We grew used to a fearful commission afraid of questions who used the legal pretext of not being able to discuss the matter due to fear of lawsuits.  This shut down virtually every question.   

The new commissioners, Julianna Strout, Marvin Wilmoth and Brent Latham, instead are carefully navigating the process to include the primary stakeholders, the residents, in the discussion.  

It's not easy.  It might even feel like there is an attempt to restore the status quo before the collective meltdown of the dais last year, a restoration that would not serve us well, and it must get tiring to hear the same people with the same points one more time.   

They do it because they have to get it right and they have to rebuild trust that they did not destroy.   

I don't know what the settlement strategy with Noriega will be.  I hope it's to bring him back.  But I do know that the commission has heard us and that matters.  

Kevin Vericker
April 30th, 2019

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