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Friday, March 9, 2012

Wednesday night's HB City Comm. mtg. re the gory details of Marcum LLP's audit of the City of Hallandale Beach and its entrenched anti-Sunshine, anti-taxpayer culture

Above, Hallandale Beach City Hall, February 13, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier
Wednesday night's HB City Comm. mtg. re the gory details of Marcum LLP's audit of the City of Hallandale Beach and its entrenched anti-Sunshine, anti-taxpayer culture
I'll have more news to share about the Marcum LLP report on Hallandale Beach City Hall over the next few days, not only my own individual take and that of other outraged HB residents, but also the lame and preposterous excuses that were predictably trotted-out by Mayor Joy Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew -and City Manager Mark A. Antonio- on why they weren't aware of SO MANY TROUBLING EPISODES that were like exploding emergency flares being fired off into the night sky.

Episodes that were largely ignored by Mayor Cooper, Dotty Ross, William "Bill" Julian and Anthony A. Sanders, all of whom had a moral duty to look out for the long-term financial interests of HB taxpayers -but didn't.

Frankly, you could add up all their efforts, individually and collectively, and it might barely fill a sewing thimble, which is a real indictment of their lack of their seriousness, their general unfitness for office, and their laissez-faire attitude, with some barely awake at some meetings.

Yes, the Marcum findings, somewhat superficial as they necessarily were, due to what the powers-that-be at HB City Hall didn't want them to do or discover -fraud, for instance- were the logical consequence of the Commission's chronic lack of oversight, a hole in the security fence that city employees have come to take advantage of for years, like a sleeping watchdog.

But before I get around to posting my impression on that very long night in a few days, I wanted to first post this copy of an email I wrote and sent to Comm. Keith London Wednesday afternoon, about two hours before that night's City Commission meeting, where the Marcum report was, of course, the main subject du jour.

I meant to post it online before heading over to the 7 p.m. meeting, but was having more trouble than usual with the Google Chrome OS crashing over-and-over, and after reaching the point of frustration, just gave up on the idea, grabbed something to eat and headed over to HB City Hall.


March 7, 2012

Dear Comm. London:

Tonight, the long-suffering taxpayers of Hallandale Beach will finally hear the FINAL gory details of
Marcum LLP's audit of the City of Hallandale Beach and its entrenched anti-Sunshine, anti-taxpayer
I will be in attendance, eager to hear the city try to explain away all the inconvenient facts raised by
this audit, which is only of just some of the financial records -NOT all the ones- that Hallandale Beach
taxpayers have long had serious questions and reservations about.

Because I am someone who for years has publicly advocated more transparency and accountability
at Hallandale Beach City Hall, both among elected officials and city employees, NOT more spin and
stealthiness, and was very much against the idea of this small city hiring someone to act as an official 
spin-meister, rather than simply being MORE forthright and forthcoming with the community with
PUBLIC INFORMATION, at some point or another in the proceedings, I'd appreciate it if you mentioned
to everyone in the room that even while trying to effectuate a whitewash of this embarrassing situation,
the city has once again been both clumsy and incompetent.

As of 4:45 p.m. today, on the city's own website, http://www.hallandalebeach.org/ under News &
Announcements the top story is to a link that the City Manager Antonio and his staff are labeling,
Independent Audit Firm Finds City, CRA Adhere to Best Business Practices

But what you actually encounter when you open that link is the preliminary report of last September,
titled, City of Hallandale Beach Agreed Upon Procedures September 2010NOT the updated and
more devastating report that was recently delivered to the city and not placed on the city's website
until Saturday.

To be honest, I thought it was unusual that the city's official response to the audit, what I call a
whitewash, was actually a COHB press release that was actually sent to me from Mayor Cooper's
personal email account, not from City Hall itself, but that's how things are routinely done here,
isn't it?

I know that I am not the only HB resident that really appreciates the fact that despite great odds,
your longstanding commitment to bringing more accountability and transparency to the public policies
and financial doings of this city, and especially getting that audit in the first place -since your colleagues
on the commission were not so sanguine- have proven somewhat successful.

Having gained at least a peek into the mess the city has been in for more than a few years, I fervently
hope that you follow this up and make a motion to have all or more of the city's financial records FINALLY
come under some objective and professional scrutiny, and perform a full-blown audit, not one where
the city gets to pick and choose what can be seen and under what circumstances.
Like what we have now.

The new Marcum LLP report shows why anything less would be merely whistling past the graveyard,
especially given the city's looming huge pension payments and the city's longstanding proclivity to
balance the annual budget thru borrowing from its reserve.

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