As indicated in the subtitle above, some of the events observed at the Boca Raton Airport Authority meeting of June 17th reminded me of that famous ‘Abbot and Costello’ skit on baseball from years ago….(link posted at end of article)
The meeting took just over 3 hours. Focused here in this article will be the first 30 minutes and last 30 minutes respectively.
The remainder of the meeting was a clear demonstration of a very competent staff making concise, informative and responsive presentations on the agenda topics. The Executive Director was well prepared and extremely professional while, when necessary, calling upon her staff to further elucidate on the facts and figures underlying the details within the reports…..
So where’s the drama….
To start, both Robert Weinroth and George Brown took seats on the board while ethics complaints against each are pending and moving forward at the Florida Commission on Ethics. Both these appointees and a third member, Jack Fox, are under the specific cloud of ethical challenges.
In Agenda Item III, Mr. Weinroth stated that in Item XIV, Other Business, he would be introducing discussion for a review and amendment of the Authority’s by-laws. He stated that this was prompted from discussions at the City Council’s goal setting session, making the City’s top priorities to change the relationships with the Parks’ district and the Airport Authority. Also stated is that since the goal setting, the City Council has met with the Parks’ district to address the City’s concerns. No such meeting has been scheduled for the Airport Authority.
Instead of meeting with the Airport Authority, the City Council chose to not renew previously appointed people and appointed Weinroth and Brown making it necessary for Weinroth to decide which political body to sit on if ever a joint session of the two bodies were to be held….
Perhaps, if such a joint meeting were held Weinroth would see the conflict and recuse himself like he did in the City Council’s authorization to the City Attorney to incur unlimited legal expenses to defend himself in the legal challenges at the FCOE.
However, I would not hold my breath waiting for his recognition of a conflict. Where is King Solomon when you need him?
Item IV, Elections of Officers resulted in what can only be termed a ‘farce’….
Two nominations for Chair were made from the floor; to wit: Member Folden and Member Feiler. Once nominations closed a vote resulted in a 3 – 3 tie. The sides were immediately drawn.
The Authority’s legal counsel stated that the tie would result in the current Chair’s term being extended until such time as the impasse was broken. With that and after some discussion, Weinroth suggested a second vote….resulting in the same outcome….
Out of the audience, a voice emerges…here he comes to save the day….
Jack Fox, the third member under investigation by FCOE and the only one with an actual finding of conflict of interest on the record, requested that he be allowed to take his seat for the sole purpose of voting on the reorganization.
Having been absent from the dais for the past 3 meetings, he must now feel empowered to disregard the FCOE finding and participate regardless…a curious action….It will be interesting to see what argument is presented to legally defend this act….Another story for another day….
The Authority’s Attorney informed the body that state law requires that if Mr. Fox is in Chambers, he must vote on all items where he does not declare a direct conflict. So by simply being in Chambers, Fox has the obligation to participate.
His choices were to leave the Chambers or to join the others on the dais and vote. He could not help himself…he took his seat; voted on the appointment of officers and stayed to participate in all other items presented….
Once Mr. Fox took his seat, a third vote took place. This 3rd vote went 7 – 0 for Mr. Folden, a truly curious outcome….Why did the 3 votes in opposition not continue their opposition for a 4 – 3 result? No discussion on the public record allows for even speculation as to why…..Click here to view 1st 30 minutes of meeting
Again moving on….
In the last half hour, under item XIV, Other Business, the introduction of by-law changes was presented by Weinroth. Cheryl Budd, the immediate past chair, asked for some explanation as to what is the dissatisfaction with the way the Authority has operated in the past prompting these changes.
Weinroth commented from what appeared to be a prepared sheet stating that the problem was in communications. He objects to the by-laws requiring Authority members to report ex-parte communications from people in the community on items that come in front of the Authority.
The changes recommended by Weinroth are very important aspects of the by-laws regarding the conduct and disclosure of board members. These will be brought to the floor for a debate and first reading at the July 15th Authority meeting.
I suggest that readers take the time to view the attached videos and read the highlighted sections of the current by-laws Weinroth wants changed. The proposed changes of by-laws are available to our readers via email upon request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
My impression is that if changed as proposed, no conversation from community interests, whether a lobbyist, a contract provider or simply a resident need be reported as ex parte.
That is very similar to what goes on at the city council….If anyone has ever listened to the ex parte disclosures made by the elected or appointed members in the City, you realize that it is simply lip service as nothing meaningful can ever be ascertained from the disclosure.
Talk about Irony…..
Joining Weinroth in his diatribe about the by-laws was Brown and Fox. The discussion then took another turn accusing the Authority of being held captive to the Authority’s Attorney. In their comments, these three under investigation members challenged past board directives and policies.
Their comments can only be seen as derogative to the good and earnest efforts of the past board members. Disgraceful….
At any rate, please view the video and read the suggested changes.
Formulate you own opinion and let your voice be raised….
Your comments on BocaWatch are welcomed and, believe me…they are being read and heard.
And…for your amusement the board appointments went something like this…Watch Who’s on First