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.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

#Ethics in #SoFL - Updated news & observations re December 4th meeting of the Oversight Committee for Office of the Broward Inspector General; @BrowardIG

The email below, sent out yesterday afternoon, is a follow-up to my post of November 17, 2014 titled, Because #Ethics still matter to some of us in Broward County; re upcoming December 4th meeting of the Oversight Committee for Office of the Broward Inspector General
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2014/11/because-ethics-still-matter-to-some-of.html
-------
November 28, 2014
1:00 p.m.

Per my last email to many of you, and as you can see below, I heard back on Thursday morning from Philip Shailer, Chair of the Oversight Committee for the Office of the Broward Inspector General, which will be holding its annual meeting next week:

Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.
Broward County Governmental Center,
Room GC422 (County Comm. Meeting Chamber)
Fort Lauderdale Florida 33301

Purpose of Meeting:
(a)   As required by the County Charter, the Committee will review the Inspector General’s Annual Report and evaluate his performance; and,
(b)  As required by the Charter, the Committee will determine whether to renew the contract of the Inspector General or to solicit new candidates.


The Committee's liaison is "Kelleher, Kevin" <kkelleher@broward.org>
who is the Director of Human Resources for Broward County.

I know that writing persuasive comments isn't necessarily everyone's thing, or even at the top of their list for things to do this particular holiday week, especially if you prefer shopping to writing.

But that said, IF you are considering sending the Oversight Comm. an email with your own comments about the sort of job you think the Broward IG's Office is doing, whether good or bad, or have constructive suggestions of your own -like me- for what you think they OUGHT be doing better or more of, I'd appreciate it if you'd consider bcc'ing me your particular thoughts.

NOT for public discussion or publication -unless you specifically want me to and give me permission to use your remarks before the meetingbut rather so I can accurately gauge what other people around the area are thinking these days regarding the IG's Office and whether it's performing as well as Broward's long-beleaguered citizenry needs it to.

Since I already know that I won't be able to attend that meeting in person, I'm sending my comments -via "Kelleher, Kevin" <kkelleher@broward.org> -
by Noon next Wednesday, the 3rd, to give everyone on the Committee plenty of time to adequately review them and incorporate those concerns into their own myriad questions and queries of the Broward IG (John W. Scott), the IG's Chief Counsel and any elected officials or city attorneys who choose to speak in person at the meeting.

Unfortunately, I strongly suspect that just like last year's annual Oversight meeting -which I attended and spoke at, as did Keith London- most of the people in the room will be elected officials or former
elected officials who are directly associated with the Broward League of Cities.

That group, which receives substantial taxpayer dollars from cities and towns all over Broward County in the form of dues and other fees -but with precious little enterprise reporting on what happens to the money afterwards- has been the nexus for years of a consistently anti-citizen mindset and anti-taxpayer agenda that's been fighting hard for LESS OVERSIGHT of elected officials and government employees and their interaction with lobbyists, businessmen, vendors and other third-parties in Broward.
Yes, even while the latter group continues playing the role they have for so long down here -unofficial intermediaries and campaign fundraising "friends" and bundlers in what's long been Broward's pay-to-play culture.
Precisely what we DON'T need more of!

Plus, it's not like we can trust them to be honest enough to actually write down in the written visitors logs at City Halls around Broward when they visit each other to figure out what their next move is to
try to frustrate the public's will, "Strategize on how to avoid compliance with Broward IG and state statutes."

Here's an except from my November 9th email of last year, written shortly after the 2013 Oversight Comm. meeting, which as I recall it, only the South Florida Sun-Sentinel bothered to actually cover in person:

"It was also NOT a good day for the anti-IG Broward League of Cities and their hardcore and permanent crew of longtime apologists and paid consultants throughout the county, who continue to want to allow themselves the freedom to continue to misrepresent what's really going on with ethics in this county and what the IG's Office is doing, but also continue using municipal taxpayer dollars to pay attorneys to tell them exactly what they want to hear, instead of simply following the spirit and letter of the law."

"Or as one of the learned members of the Oversight Comm. put it, it seems like Broward cities love using taxpayer dollars to "shield" themselves, but there's no reason for that to continue any longer."


By the way, if you didn't already know, I'm reliably informed that Mr. Shailer is, in fact, the former Broward State's Attorney. I'd mentioned that fact many years ago to some of you in a 2011 email
account of what was going on with the effort to create an IG-like position, but, somehow, I came to forget that important fact myself in the intervening years.

In going thru my notes about last year's Oversight meeting, I happened to come across a sad reminder of what we all heard about a year ago this very week, though some of us suspected this all along.
It concerns the antics of Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper and her longtime pal, state Senator Eleanor Sobel -never a friend of ours- and Sobel's successful efforts to completely thwart, undermine and BLOCK Hallandale Beach citizens' efforts to finally get to the financial truth about the longtime incompetency and corruption surrounding the HB CRA via an audit by the Joint Auditing Comm. in Tallahassee.

As we know, the last thing that Mayor Cooper wanted was to have a team of professional investigators with a nose-for-numbers looking at the extant CRA records -the few that exist- to see where the tens of millions of dollars really went buh-bye -and under what circumstances-
since Cooper's been in office the past ten-plus years, with worse-than-zero oversight from HB City Hall, with her personally micro-managing everything from A to Z. 

BADLY.

Broward Bulldog
Two senators short-circuit Legislature’s plan to audit troubled
Hallandale Beach CRA

By Willliam Gjebre, BrowardBulldog.org
NOVEMBER 26, 2013 AT 6:13 AM
http://www.browardbulldog.org/2013/11/two-senators-short-circuit-legislatures-plan-to-audit-troubled-hallandale-beach-cra/

Yes, the longstanding HB CRA scandal that current state Rep. Shevrin Jones wrote to me earlier this year in a Twitter response that he had NEVER heard anything about the problem. Really.
This, despite the fact that,
a.) it was as well-publicized as it was over several years, and
b.) was chronicled by the Broward IG in his damning report, and,
c.) took place almost entirely in HIS legislative district.
Yep, it's the Army's classic definition of SNAFU!

Free Advice Dept.: I say the following as someone who:
a.) likes to save money,
b.) share news, and
c.) who loves Scandinavia
Due to scheduling conflicts, last year I missed seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland on my way back from my nine-day trip to Sweden, via side trips from Reykjavik.
On Wednesday afternoon, I got word via an email from Norwegian Air -which started flying out of Hollywood Ft. Lauderdale Int'l Airport a year ago this week- is now offering non-stop flights to Oslo from $217 one-way.
IF you want to catch the Northern Lights this year, you can take one of their flights and connect via beautiful Oslo to Tromsø for only $332 one way.
That's ridiculously CHEAP!

Plus, Tromsø is actually farther north than any part of Iceland is.
REAL Northern Lights.... for a pittance
Just saying... if the Northern Lights are on your bucket list...

Dave
Twitter: @hbbtruth,  https://twitter.com/hbbtruth
https://twitter.com/hbbtruth/with_replies
http://www.hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/
http://www.youtube.com/user/HallandaleBeachBlog



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: PhilShail
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:31:09 -0500
Subject: Re: re Dec. 4th meeting of the Oversight Committee for Office
of the Broward ...
To: hallandalebeachblog@gmail.com
Cc: kkelleher@broward.org


Sorry I was unable to respond sooner.

As I know you observed from reviewing the Agenda, at the upcoming  meeting
members of the public wishing to do so will be invited -- indeed,
encouraged -- to address our committee.  Also, in that you would like
to  have us
receive viewpoints and issues in advance, to give us additional time to  digest
them, I would suggest that you send all such queries to  Kevin Kelleher.

By copying Mr. Kelleher on this e-mail, I am requesting that he  promptly
forward everything he receives from you and others in this regard to  all
committee members.

I rather doubt that any member will give you a substantive response to
matters you raise, as we don't operate other than as a committee at
duly-noticed  public hearings; but you can rest assured that all of us
will have read
and  considered anything that you send, and will address those things at the
meeting  to the extent warranted or advisable.

I hope that you and yours are enjoying the best of this Thanksgiving  Day.

Sincerely,

Phil Shailer


In a message dated 11/21/2014 4:23:07 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
hallandalebeachblog@gmail.com writes:

November  21, 2014
4:20 p.m.

Dear Mr. Shailer:

On Monday I contacted  Kevin Kelleher to find out when the upcoming
Oversight Committee meeting  for the Broward IG Office would be held,
below.
I heard from Mr.  Kelleher soon thereafter as to the date, time and
location, and subsequent  to that, also heard from someone that you'd
be the point person of sorts  for public comments submitted prior to
the Dec. 4th meeting.

At that  point I forwarded my original email and the Kelleher response
to some  people and civic groups around the County and South Florida
about that upcoming meeting, as well as some of the policies we are
concerned about in  order to make sure that the Broward IG Office has
both the resources and  energy it needs.
Later, I blogged about some of my concerns.

At some  point over the weekend or early next week, I'm planning on
writing some of  those same people and civic groups and suggesting
some possible areas of  discussion.

Given this area's long-prevailing political culture and  the
strong-willed opposition to almost everything the IG Office does among
many Broward elected officials, municipal administators and
attorneys, as well s the principal taxpayer-subsidized non-profit
group that's the public face of their adversarial approach towards
citizens,
taxpayers and the entire notion of someone being able to independently
monitor their actions and behavior -especially where I live in
Hallandale Beach- it's important to me and this area's future that
concerned citizens speak forthrightly about precisely what is  needed
now, and face that public opposition head-on.

Given that, I'm  writing you today to make sure of something before I
started that  communication train going. Would you prefer that
citizens and other  interested parties send their comments to you via:
a.) Mr. Kelleher's  Broward.org email,
b.) to you via the email address above, or,
c.) to  some separate official email address, since the comments would
be considered public?

Also, is there a specific time deadline that you and  the Commitee
would like comments to be submitted by to ensure that you and the
other members have enough time to carefully review them and be able
to include some of their concerns?

Just want to make sure that I get  the facts right!



----------  Forwarded message ----------
From: 
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2014 15:27:11  -0500
Subject: re upcoming meeting of the Oversight Committee for Office  of
the Broward Inspector General
To: "Kelleher, Kevin"  <kkelleher@broward.org>
Cc: Bertha Henry  <bhenry@broward.org>

November 17, 2014

Dear Mr.  Kelleher:

I'm writing to you today in your capacity as liaison to the  Oversight
Committee for the Office of Broward Inspector General.

I  would like to know when and where this year's meeting will take place
so  that I can make sure that my voice, as well as the voices of  other
concerned residents of Broward County, have the opportunity to  continue
to push-back and call-out the stealthy, frequently anti-democratic  and
very antagonistic actions taken by so many elected public  officials,
who for some reason persist in thinking that they are beyond the  reach
of both the law and society's norms.

At last year's annual  meeting of the Broward IG Oversight Committee,
I spoke in some detail about  some of the matters that I was most
concerned with involving the evolving  structure, operations and public
outreach responsibilities of the Broward  IG's office.
I noted specific areas that I believed the office was  deficient in and
called for much-needed improvement in those areas* IF* it  wanted to truly
satisfy Broward County's much-beleaguered citizenry's very  strong interest
in seeing unethical behavior investigated, pulled-out by  the roots and
fully-prosecuted.

I said that in my opinion, *IF* the  Broward IG's Office wanted to continue
to maintain the public's trust, the  area that most-needed tangible
improvement was the allocation of adequate  resources and personnel to
public outreach in cities that were being  formally investigated, so
that the public would
know with certainty just  what* WAS* and was *NOT* being investigated, and
how the public could best  assist the office with respect to perhaps
gathering additional relevant  facts and evidence, to say nothing of
context.

The latter was something  that, to my astonishment, was *NEVER* done in
Hallandale Beach in 2012 and  2013 when the Broward IG was investigating
the longstanding Hallandale  Beach CRA scandal involving tens of millions
of dollars, since in my  opinion, it would have produced a *LOT* more useful
information and context  for the IG's Office to peruse and consider.
*In my opinion, they barely saw  the the tip of the iceberg.*

As someone who was frequently the only  member of the public attending
those early morning meetings years ago of  the appointed Broward County
Ethics Committee, someone who actually  videotaped many of them so
that I could later describe in accurate detail  what had transpired in those
meetings, esp. with respect to which appointed  member was consistently
voting *FOR* meaningful ethical standards and  thresholds and which
appointed members had consistently tried to obfuscate, misdirect or
otherwise water-down any serious effort to hold people with power, influence
and opportunity to account, I take what happens with the Office of Broward IG
very seriously.

I don't think I or others need  to apologize for wanting to make sure that
the will and best interests of  the Broward citizenry is represented as
often as possible, *NOT* pushed to  the side of the road by self-interested
politicans, government employees  and outside groups, esp. ones with zero
public oversight like the *Broward  **League of Cities*, a group that *STILL*
clearly wants its member cities  and officials to have as low a threshold as
possible, to meet and carve-out  exceptions to common sense -as if
common sense was something that we'd been enjoying too much of over
the years, instead of its opposite.

Obviously, many of these individuals and groups would very much like to
keep their perks and the trappings of the pay-to-play culture  that had long
flourished in Broward, and want to un-do the very small,  positive things
that have *FINALLY* taken place.
*Sorry, that ship has  sailed! *

Despite my fact-filled warnings and anecdotes last year to the IG Oversight
Committe and the public attending that meeting about the reality
on-the-ground at Hallandale Beach City Hall, that same corrosive  attitude
and anti-citizen culture I described then persists from  top-to-bottom at
HB City Hall.

There has been no let-up by Mayor Joy Cooper and City Manager Renee Miller
since either the April 2013 issuance  of the IG's damning report on the
Hallandale Beach CRA scandal that  involved tens of millions of dollars, or,
even since Mr. Scott and the  Chief Counsel's own descriptions last year of the
sorts of foolish and entirely self-serving gambits and attempts at
misrepresentations
engaged in  by those women and the city.
Right down to Mayor Cooper *intentionally*  sending her inaccurate letter
and account of the facts to everyone scheduled to attend last year's IG
Oversight Comm. meeting
*That is, everyone BUT the IG's Office itself.*

Yes, it was hard not to see that desperate and pathetic effort for
precisely what it was.
A shameful  effort to obfuscate and blame others for their own unethical
behavior and  lack of proper governance, due diligence and meaningful
oversight for SO  MANY YEARS, which is just how I described it last
year since  that's precisely how the majority of Hallandale Beach's
best-informed
residents and Small Business owners see it

I look  forward to hearing from you soon about that upcoming meeting.


Mr. Smith,

The next Inspector General Selection and Oversight Committee Meeting is currently scheduled for Thursday, December 4 at 2:00pm in Room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 South Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale Florida 33301.

Should you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kevin

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