At the bottom, I've added Charlotte's spot-on email to the Broward County Commission yesterday, plus the copy of the amendment Comm. Lieberman wants to have heard on the 14th, after her trip to China, which I sent many of you on Monday.
I've seen ducks up close before -this ethics amendment of her's looks like a duck to me.
Perhaps we should all get a t-shirt printed-up reading: "One of my commissioners went to China but all I got was much-weaker ethics laws."
By the way, for those of you who don't know your Texas geography, Tarrant County includes Fort Worth, and it's county pop. is 1.7 million, says the guy whose family first moved to the Hill Country of Texas in 1855.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Charlotte Greenbarg
Date: Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 12:59 PM
Subject: Bob Norman: Lieberman in China
To: Charlotte Greenbarg
This probably isn't the best time to visit China;
all travel should be on hold until the County gets it act together, ethically and fiscally.
Personal note: When we were in business late 70s, 80s and until 1993 when we sold and retired, the Chinese government offered to provide at no cost to us for 2 years all the labor we needed to manufacture our orthopedic soft goods and the famous black belt w/suspenders that my late husband perfected. We said no thanks. First, we'd have to lay off the factory full of people who supported families, many single moms, and second, we knew that once they made our goods, they'd go back to China and undercut us, probably with inferior products.
Lieberman In China
By Bob Norman, Tue., Aug. 31 2010 @ 10:43AM
While the Chaitgate corruption investigation rages on, Broward County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman won't be at today's commission meeting. She's gone to China.
Read the rest of the column at:
Reader comments at:
Charlotte's email to the Broward County Commission last night at 7:50 p.m.:
You've just had (5 p.m. today) an item added to tomorrow's agenda, dealing with the selection of an insurance provider. Staff tied on the selection (Commissioners are no longer on selection committees now that the Ethics ordinance has passed) between Coventry and Aetna.
Problem is that the Florida Assoc. of Counties (FAC), President of which is Comm. Ilene Lieberman, contacted each Commissioner re: this selection. Turns out that the FAC would get $2/month for each enrolled employee if Aetna gets the contract. This is a statewide "arrangment" that FAC has with Aetna.There's nothing wrong per se with the company Aetna; but the "arrangment" waddles and quacks.
Furthermore, FAC Pres. Lieberman is presently in China representing FAC.
So how is this connected to Item 51? Well, we need an open record of who gets and gives what to whom. We wanted
full public disclosure when we demanded an Ethics ordinance. When FAC has an event (and the National Assoc. of Counties and others likewise), there are sponsors for the open bars, for example, and those sponsors are often law firms and lobbyists that do business with counties or have clients who do. But we don't know that, do we? It's not easily available information. And there's the rub.
You need to let the Ethics Ordinance continue to take effect before you begin to make any changes, and Item 51 is a very large change.
I am copying my members on this communication, and know from many, many meetings, emails and conversations that they totally agree with this position.
Wendy Murray's cc of her email to the Broward County Commission
Thank you, Wendy!
I agree with both Charlotte and Don.
Please inject ethics and integrity into the Broward County Commission by acting openly and with the avoidance of perceived mischief.
Being an elected official is an honor bestowed upon you by the votes of the residents you serve. Public service should be discerning and in the best interest of the residents. It should not be self-seeking nor give the appearance of such.
Truly, I thank you for your service and hopefully, I observe your actions to avoid all perceived mischief while embracing the arms of integrity and character.
Thank you for your time.
P.S. Please forgive any typos as sending from phone. Thank you.
Wendy Murray, FEMV, CMCA, LCAM
Director of Business Development
Association Services of Florida
10112 USA Today Way
Miramar, FL 33025
Per my email yesterday
Item #: 51.
Broward County Commission Regular Meeting
MOTION TO ADOPT Resolution directing the County Administrator to publish Notice of Public Hearing to be held on Tuesday, September 14, 2010, at 2:00 p.m., in Room 422 of the Governmental Center to consider enactment of a proposed Ordinance, the title of which is as follows:
(Sponsored by Commissioner Ilene Lieberman)
Why Action is Necessary
The proposed Ordinance was prepared by the Office of the County Attorney at the direction of the Board of County Commissioners at its Commission meeting of August 17, 2010.
What Action Accomplishes
The proposed Ordinance amends the Code of Ethics to provide an exception to the gifts restriction and prohibition, allowing County Commissioners to accept accommodations to attend official events and functions that are provided for, or arranged by, state, regional, national, and international organizations, including the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the Florida Association of Counties (FAC), which promote the exchange of information or the professional development of elected public officials, thereby saving Broward County the cost or potential cost of such attendance.
Is this Action Goal Related
Previous Action Taken
Summary Explanation/ Background
The proposed ordinance amends the Code of Ethics to provide an exception to the gifts restriction and prohibition, allowing County Commissioners to accept accommodations to attend official events and functions that are provided for, or arranged by, state, regional, national, and international organizations, including the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the Florida Association of Counties (FAC), which promote the exchange of information or the professional development of elected public officials, thereby saving Broward County the cost or potential cost of such attendance.
Fiscal Impact/Cost Summary:
Fiscal Impact Statement by Office of Management and Budget attached as Exhibit 3.
See also: http://188.8.131.52/adv_search_results.cfm?fp=ADVSRCH
for the Motion to Direct and Motion to Adopt requested by Comm. Lieberman and County Attorney Jeffrey Newton.
In case the link to Bob Norman's column of last Monday above -which mentioned Hallandale Beach mayor Joy Cooper- doesn't work for you:
Our Politicians at the Trough
By Bob Norman
Speaking of ducks, if only South Florida news reporters would start paying closer attention and boning-up on the context and backstory of these sorts of stories, maybe even showing-up en masse to the County Commission meetings just to humor citizens like myself, and started channeling Le Canard enchaîné.
Of course, the Chained Duck intentionally has very limited info on le Internet, which they explain away thusly at http://www.lecanardenchaine.fr/:
"Mais notre métier, c'est d'informer et de distraire nos lecteurs, avec du papier journal et de l'encre. C'est un beau métier qui suffit à occuper notre équipe."
But our job is to inform and entertain our readers, with newsprint and ink. It is a wonderful profession that's sufficient to occupy our team.
If only the Sun-Sentinel and Herald were both like-minded and high-minded, and focused their energies on the very large task before them in Broward County, a target-rich environment for corruption with a Capital "C" rather than waste their resources. But no.
Miami TV news reporters have no such excuses.
Instead, the latter do "news stories" on eyelash operations, or get sucked into doing stories on bus shelter advertising signs bought by Hollywood film studios to promote an upcoming film with the word "virgin" in it, which got on the air last night on Channel 4 at 11:11 p.m.
Which only makes me ask: If a dog chases its own tail, is that news?
As we all know from personal viewing experience, in South Florida TV circles, dogs that chase their own tails are golden!