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Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Question of Ethics & Process: Why should someone who in the past consistently failed to show up for her official duties -and was removed- deserve to be rewarded and made an interim Hallandale Beach City Commissioner on Tuesday night?; Sheryl Natelson's excessive absenses & tardiness at P&Z meetings

Below is the email that I sent out earlier this afternoon with respect to Tuesday's important decision, and some information that not a lot of people in this city are privy to.
I've removed email addresses and I am the DBS below, of course.

May 10, 2014

I've been waiting until now to send this email out to you all since I was unsure until yesterday whether the rumors I'd heard were true that current HB Planning & Zoning Board member and just-elected chair Sheryl Natelson was going to put her name forward as a candidate to be named the interim HB City Commissioner this coming Tuesday night.

Yesterday's email from the city, with the complete list of candidates that I shared with you all, finally answers my question, and now that I know the reality, I can share with you now what my real concern was and continues to be about Natelson: the very bad example it sets for the future of this city of rewarding someone who was removed from the HB P&Z Board for failure to consistently appear at meetings
and consistently showed-up LATE for meetings when she did deign to appearwithin no time at all, is re-appointed to the second-most important body in this city by Mayor Cooper, her longtime patron who appointed her years ago.
·         Steven Carlo;
·         Albert J. Chiaravalle;
·         Susi Correa;
·         Howard Garson;
·         Harriet Ginsberg;
·         Leo Grachow;
·         Ann Henigson;
·         Keenan Z. Johnson;
·         Samantha Kleinman;
·         Csaba (Chuck) Kulin;
·         Charles Lincoln;
·         Sheryl S. Natelson;
·         Edward Pickett;
·         Anthony H. Romano;
·         Thomas Sands;
·         Etty Sims;
·         Von Thomas;
·         Phil Washington; and
·         Diane Lyon Wead.

This past March's HB P&Z meeting was like a sad replay I've seen far too many times for comfort in this city.
There was only one agenda item and Natelson showed-up long after that matter was thoroughly discussed and a vote had taken place by the Board members who DID take their responsibility seriously and showed-up, just as they were expected to do.
Furthermore... well, I think my previous comments to the City Clerk about what Natelson did after she finally showed-up speaks volumes, so read that below and draw your own conclusions.

I don't oppose Natelson merely because she's been a consistent and unwavering pro-development vote for what this community has vigorously opposed, with her often speaking from the dais more like she was the 
developer's point person on a project, rather than a person who was supposed to be looking to get all the facts out and look out out for the best long-term interests of you, me and the community at large.
And I don't oppose her just because she has consistently supported projects that were completely incompatible to the HB neighborhood it was situated in.
I oppose her for both of those things, plus I personally believe that her ethics and motivations are suspect, which her OWN behavior and actions have done nothing to dispel over the years -and currently.
Now you know the pertinent facts.

Good luck Tuesday night, Csaba, Chad and Diane!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Talmadge, Chris 
Date: Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 4:38 PM
Subject: FW: PRR re HB Planning & Zoning Board memmber Sheryl Natelson's excessive absenses & tardiness at P&Z meetings; her violation of Sunshine Laws from the dais

Mr. Smith,
Here are the records you requested about Sheryl Natelson. See the second attachment for her attendance records for the years 2011-2014.
Thank You.

From: James, Sheena
Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 3:11 PM
Cc: Talmadge, Chris; Dominguez, Christy; Jefferson, Althea
Subject: RE: PRR re HB Planning & Zoning Board memmber Sheryl Natelson's excessive absenses & tardiness at P&Z meetings; her violation of Sunshine Laws from the dais

Good Afternoon Mr. Smith,

We are in receipt of your request and will provide the requested records within 3-5 business days.

Additionally, I thought it may be helpful for you to know, based on the policy governing Boards and Committees, the City Clerk’s Office conducts reviews of the attendance records biannually and takes the necessary action.  Upon the 2013 review of attendance records for the Planning & Zoning Advisory Board for the period 2011-2012, Ms. Natelson was removed from the Board due to excessive absences (see letter attached).  Ms. Natelson was later reappointed by the City Commission to the Planning and Zoning Board as of March 6, 2013 (click here to see action taken under Item #6E of the March 6, 2014 meeting Minutes).

I have also forward this request to our City Attorney. 

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any additional questions in the interim.


Sheena D. James, MBA, CMC
City Clerk
City of Hallandale Beach
400 South Federal Highway
Hallandale Beach, FL 33009

From: DBS
Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 1:35 PM
To: James, Sheena
Cc: Dominguez, Christy; Scott, John W.
Subject: PRR re HB Planning & Zoning Board memmber Sheryl Natelson's excessive absenses & tardiness at P&Z meetings; her violation of Sunshine Laws from the dais

April 23, 2014

Dear Ms. James:

I'm writing today to make a formal Public Records Request for the Hallandale 
Beach Planning & Zoning Advisory Board attendance logs, specifically, Board 
member Sheryl Natelson's for the years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Ms. Natelson once again showed-up late for last month's meeting, as she has 
so many times over the past few years, arriving well after the only matter on the 
public agenda was publicly discussed and voted upon by the members who 
actually deigned to appear on time.
In my opinion, she should have been dismissed from the Board many years 
ago under the city's existing rules regarding attendance, due to her frequent 
absences and frequent tardiness, frequently arriving well after meetings 
have commenced.

Since nobody at HB City Hall seems much inclined to raise this point publicly, 
I will, and will examine those records you can provide to make my feelings and 
the known facts publicly known.

Additionally, there is a yet another serious matter which I need to bring to your 

Just moments after the March P&Z meeting ended, while Natelson was still 
on the dais in the Commission Chambers, she began to lobby other members 
of the Board to make her the new Chair of the Board despite the fact that it 
is expressly forbidden for her or any other Board member to discuss Board 
business with other members, esp. in such an egregious fashion that fails to 
follow either the spirit or letter of this state's Sunshine Laws.

Among other things, Natelson specifically mentioned that in her opinion, being 
an attorney would make someone an ideal choice to be Chair of the Board 
because many of the skills that go into being a good attorney are also ones 
that she believes are helpful for someone serving in the position of Chair, 
the Chair of the second-most powerful govt. body in this city.
As if it was lost on anyone that she is an attorney.

She also proceeded to cite what she thought were some of the failings of 
the just-resigned longtime Chair, Arnold Cooper, among them, that in her 
opinion, the Board had not properly benefited from Mr. Cooper's professional 
expertise, which I believe is that of an engineer

It was hard not to see all this and hear what was being said because I was 
one of only three citizens in what was otherwise an empty Commission 

Since City Attorney Whitfield has made abundantly clear since she has been 
here that she does not believe it is part of her job description to be "the ethics 
police," and because I believe that the citizens of this community are entitled 
to have people making important decisions for the community to be people
who not only obey ALL the appropriate laws and rules, not just the ones they 
like, but to actually embue the spirit of the Sunshine Laws, I am forwarding 
a copy of this email to you to the Office of the Broward Inspector General 
for their attention.

DBS, 10-year Hallandale Beach resident

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