Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida, Europe and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura.
Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Csaba Kulin sounds the alarm over Hallandale Beach City Hall's aggressive attempts to prevent HB citizens from knowing just how much taxpayers will be paying the Police under their new union contract and how they arrived at those figures; HB City Commission's First Reading on this item is tonight at 6:30 p.m.; decision on waiver of $450k in fines owed by Florida East Coast Realty to be decided tonight


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Today, courtesy of an email from my friend and fellow Hallandale Beach and Broward County civic activist Csaba Kulin to City of Hallandale Beach Attorney V. Lynn Whitfield, City Manager Renee C. Miller, City Clerk Sheena James and the five members of the HB City Commission, plus others,  I have some amazing information to share with you regarding Hallandale Beach City Hall's aggressive attempts to prevent HB citizens  from knowing just how much taxpayers will be paying the Police under their new union contract, and how  they arrived at those figures. As per usual, I've deleted the email addresses for obvious reasons.

Also on tonight's agenda, 
http://www.hallandalebeachfl.gov/files/2013-03-20/Agenda%20Outline%20for%202013-03-20%2018-30.htm
will be the continuing debacle of a real estate developer trying to get out of paying $450,000 in fines it owes HB taxpayers, namely, Jerome Hollo and Florida East Coast Realty and its property next to the Mardi Gras on U.S.-1, which I've previously discussed here at the blog

You need to show-up and let your voice be heard -no handout$ to developers with no tangible plans to do anything with land but let it sit idle.

HB City Commission meets tonight at 6:30 p.m.

-----

March 19, 2013
Dear City Manager Mrs. Miller, City Clerk Mrs. James and City Attorney Ms. Whitfield:
The printed Agenda of the City of Hallandale Beach's City Commission meeting for March 20, 2013 at 6:30 PM lists item #14-B as Resolution to Ratify a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Hallandale Beach and the Broward County Police Benevolent Association.
In reading the Supporting Documents of Item 14-B, I noticed that a part of the Agreement refers to modifications, i.e. additions to the existing and new pension systems.

The Florida Constitution and Florida Statutes (Exhibit 1) explicitly require an “actuarial review, and has furnished a copy of such statement to the division” prior to the last public hearing on retirement systems benefit changes.

I submitted a Public Record Request (Exhibit 2) on March 7, 2013 to inspect ALL actuarial reviews -and have reason to believe there is more than one- related to the current pension changes to see if the changes are being made on a sound actuarial basis. Taxpayer dollars paid for the report and taxpayers have a legal right under the Florida Constitution to see the public information BEFORE a vote of the City Commission is made, to ensure that the city is being diligent and following applicable state laws.

Exhibit 3 is the response I received from Mr. George Amiraian, the City of Hallandale Beach's Director of Human Resources on March 15th, 2013.
Item 1 of Mr. Amiraian’s e-mail refers to an Annual Actuarial Report prepared for an entirely different purpose, NOT for the current pension changes.In Item 2 of Mr. Amiraian’s e-mail he makes the claim that the City of Hallandale Beach is “exempt from public records disclosure” on account of ongoing negotiations with the Hallandale Beach Fire Dept., a separate unit, and for which a separate Annual Actuarial Report will eventually be provided to the city for their specific use in THOSE negotiations, a fact that Mr. Amiraian knows well, since he is a person who has been directly dealing with these issues for many years.

The claim of immunity would thus seem to be false because one Actuarial Report has nothing to do with another legally-mandated, taxpayer-paid for Actuarial Report, otherwise, there would be no need for the city to eventually receive a second Actuarial Report at the appropriate time that deals exclusively with HBFD. This is yet another fact well-known to Mr. Amiraian.

Since I attended the February 25, 2013 meeting of the Hallandale Beach Police and Firefighters’ Personnel Retirement Trust and Mr. Adam Levinson reported on the “Ratification of Actuarial Study Regarding Proposed Police CBA”. Mr. Adam Levinson, attorney representing the Trust, told me after the meeting that the “Actuarial Study” is a public document as of that time.

There was a mention that there are two additional Actuarial Reports, but they are not public records as of February 25, 2013. Further evidence of an existing Actuarial Report is the City Manager’s reference to the total dollar amount of savings without any detail as how she arrived at that number.  I'd like for you to review the entire issue of immunity in this case and notify me in a timely fashion why the City of Hallandale Beach is NOT required to adhere to the current applicable Florida state laws.

Additionally, I'd like for you to explain to me why the official “Actuarial Study” is NOT part of the publicly-disclosed "Supporting Documents" available to the public in sufficient time BEFORE Wednesday night's City Commission meeting to analyze its financial impact on their city's futures, since it's THE most-germane document there is. http://www.hallandalebeachfl.gov/files/2013-03-20/Item%2014B/index.html

I believe I'm being entirely consistent when I insist that the citizens of this city have the right under Florida's Constitution to know ALL the pertinent facts in this important matter and know exactly much money the elected City Commission will be spending as well as how they will be making allowances for those particular costs in the future. In short, show the public how those specific costs figures were arrived at.

They have a right to know these facts BEFORE the Hallandale Beach City Commission votes on it, NOT months after the fact.
Given these facts, I'd like you to explain to me why Agenda Item 10-B should not be postponed to a future date until all these issues have been properly resolved and the city is in compliance with the letter and spirit of Florida's laws and Constitution.

Sincerely,
Csaba Kulin
   
Exhibit 1.
Florida Constitution
ARTICLE X MISCELLANEOUS
SECTION 14.  State retirement systems benefit changes.
SECTION 14. State retirement systems benefit changes.—A governmental unit responsible for any retirement or pension system supported in whole or in part by public funds shall not after January 1, 1977, provide any increase in the benefits to the members or beneficiaries of such system unless such unit has made or concurrently makes provision for the funding of the increase in benefits on a sound actuarial basis.
History.—Added, H.J.R. 291, 1975; adopted 1976.
2012 Florida Statutes
Chapter 112. PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES: GENERAL PROVISIONS
PART VII ACTUARIAL SOUNDNESS OF RETIREMENT SYSTEMS
112.63 Actuarial reports and statements of actuarial impact; review.
 (3) No unit of local government shall agree to a proposed change in retirement benefits unless the administrator of the system, prior to adoption of the change by the governing body, and prior to the last public hearing thereon, has issued a statement of the actuarial impact of the proposed change upon the local retirement system, consistent with the actuarial review, and has furnished a copy of such statement to the division. Such statement shall also indicate whether the proposed changes are in compliance with s. 14, Art. X of the State Constitution and with s. 112.64.
Exhibit 2.
March 7, 2013
Dear Hallandale Beach City Clerk,
I request to inspect the following documents under Florida Statue 119 from the City of Hallandale Beach Police Officers’ and Firefighters’ Personnel Retirement Trust and the City of Hallandale Beach.

If for any reason you believe any of the requested material is exempt from Florida Statue 119 please list the exemption and fulfill the remainder of this request.
I would like to inspect the following documents:
1.    Copy of the Actuarial Study Regarding Proposed Police CBA.
2.    Copy of the Actuarial Study the City of Hallandale Beach has in its possession.
3.    Draft of the Pension Ordinance which will be presented to the City Commission and the residents in the near future.
After inspection, I will decide the documents I wish to have a copy of.
Please acknowledge my request and notify me with an estimate of the cost, if any, and when the records requested will be available for my inspection.
Sincerely,
Csaba Kulin

Exhibit 3.

From:
"Amiraian, George" 
To:
"Kulin, Csaba" 
Subject:
Public Records Request
Date:
Fri 03/15/13 05:09 PM
Attachments
Name
Type
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Part 1
text/plain
Part 2
text/html
Csaba, I have listed below the answers in writing to your Public Records Request received on March 7 2013
1. Copy of the Actuarial Study regarding Proposed Police CBA.
As previous discussed, the latest Actuary Study can be found on the City’s website www.hallandalebeachfl.gov
2. Copy of the Actuarial Study the City of Hallandale Beach has in its possession.
Also discussed, the Actuary Study that the City of Hallandale Beach has in its possession is exempt from public records disclosure due to ongoing negotiations with the Fire Union.
I hope this answers your questions.
George Amiraian
Director of Human Resources
City of Hallandale Beach
400 South Federal Hwy
Hallandale Beach, Florida 33009

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Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood and Aventura.

If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect. But seldom if ever see...

This is particularly true in the Broward County city I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, north of Aventura and south of Hollywood and right on the Atlantic Ocean. Here, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent. Sadly for its beleaguered residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with tremendous potential because of its terrific location and well-educated populace, yet its citizens have almost become numb to HB City Hall's frequent outrages and screw-ups, the result of YEARS of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, residents and Small Business owners wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road for others to solve in the future.

I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog of my own that could try to do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable-but-skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time with fresh eyes, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change in public policy and goivernment engagement. If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY of Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials, elected and otherwise. Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru shining some well-needed public scrutiny on the issue or pol, or requires a higher degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of the incompetency, cronyism or negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.
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