Thursday, May 9, 2019

Moving Forward

As the Village emerges from the chaos of the last administration, the first question that had to be answered is "Where the hell are we?"  
All of our executive positions, the Village Attorney, the Village Clerk and the Village Manager were replaced in the last year with political hires of little experience and often even less judgment.   
It left North Bay Village in a terrible situation.  There is so much out of balance that the first order of business for the new commission was to get an assessment of the current status so that moving forward could be done from a fixed point.   

Alvarez & Marsal Lay Out Where We Are

The consulting company, Alvarez & Marsal, have spent the last 2 months establishing where we are  and on Tuesday, May 14 at 4:30 PM, they will be presenting their report to the commission.   It is included in the agenda packet for the meeting and makes for some very interesting reading.  You can access it here.   

Putting Concerns to Rest

In the first part of the executive summary, A&M consultants address two falsehoods that were being floated to discredit the North Bay Village staff and administration:  
  1. Falsehood 1 is the claim that finance had misallocated money and funds were missing.  After an extensive review by the consultants and our auditors, there is no evidence that supports this slander. 
  2. Falsehood 2 is the claim that Village Staff is not doing their jobs, including the reckless accusation by former mayor Kreps that there are no show village employees.  The assessment found no evidence to support this, not even anecdotes.   
Having established that, the report delves into those areas where the village most needs improvement. 


Assessing the finance group, A&M found that our accounting procedures are solid but the Village needs to step up its game in planning, budgeting and efficiencies that can be achieved through fully implementing the automation tools at the village's disposal.   

A strong recommendation is create a new Chief Financial Officer reporting to the Village Manager.  The commission will be considering this move at the meeting.  

Assessing the personnel group, A&M strongly recommended recruiting and hiring a professional HR Director, reporting to the Village Manager, to re-establish the training, development, recruitment and standards.  

Special note:  Much of what A&M noted as lacking in HR is a report of the status quo, that is what they did not find currently.   Particularly in the area of evaluation and training, the Village had strong procedures in place that were inculcated in the policies and procedures.  These were put aside in the  last year, so the observations are correct on the part of A&M, they are not currently in place but there are policies and procedures established, the several village managers just ignored them and now they look like they never existed.  The new director and Village manager need to do some digging and they will quickly find that they do not need to start from scratch.   This should make re-implementing these easier.  

The lack of permanent personnel at the management level is holding us back and North Bay Village needs to aggressively fill these positions.  

Here's a short list of the interim or vacant positions:

Village Manager - Currently occupied by Dr. Ralph Rosado as an interim.   The Village needs to fill this position with an experienced change management professional who can get us back on track.  In my view, Rosado fits the bill and I hope the Village does not waste time looking for a slightly better match.  It's not Tinder and there's a lot at stake by not moving forward.  

Village Attorney - Weiss Serota is acting as interim Village Attorneys and has been actively restoring the integrity and focus of the office.  It may be that the same situation as the Village Manager is true.  We are in enough need to justify making the relationship permanent, although I do believe that the option of hiring an in house attorney should at least be discussed before acting.  

Police Chief - On the second agenda for Tuesday night, there is a resolution to reinstate Carlos Noriega, wrongfully dismissed during the last whirlwind of the previous mayor.  Noriega enjoys broad support in the community, the administration, and the police union.   There is no serious opposition to his reinstatement and the police department had significantly advanced under his stewardship.   Should be solved next week.  

Building & Planning - These essential departments are outsourced, not unusual for municipality our size, but it has led to an unclear situation about responsibility.   There are several possible routes and once we have a permanent Village manager, this needs to be addressed.  

Code Enforcement - At several points A&M discusses the optimal placement of coding.  Like everyone else, they have not noticed that as a parting gift, Mayor Kreps and her handlers put in the charter that coding can only report to the Village Manager and that precludes a reorganization of the function.  Thanks, Crazy Eyes!

There's a lot of detail and I would strongly recommend reading the report.  It should give us a clear view of what's next and what has to be done.  

Kevin Vericker
May 9, 2019

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