This article, originally published by Al Zucaro on BocaWatch.org, is preserved for historical purposes by Massive Impressions Online Marketing in Boca Raton.
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Time is of the essence….
A lesson learned by elected officials is that no matter how active a citizen tries to be, the task of keeping up with the pace of city business and being informed on the myriad of issues is a near impossibility. We all have lives apart from what is going on at City Hall, regardless of how much an individual might want to be informed….and leadership knows that….
The Mayor and Council members have often voiced a desire to have a “strong partnership with the community.” Over the last few years, significant conversation has centered on how to have a well informed and actively involved resident who has trust and confidence in the administrative/political leadership of the City.
A deserving goal not easily achieved….
Recent events have tarnished this objective. A trusting electorate requires acknowledgment of this sentiment and a demonstration that the underlying behavior will not be tolerated….Trust and confidence requires leadership and leadership starts at the top….
Residents, especially the more active ones, may accept facts and details given to them from staff, but for the emotional objectives of trust and confidence, residents need to hear from their representatives; representatives elected into office to exercise good judgment and vote the vote as a voice of the people.
No administrative voice can achieve this result, especially administrative voices that have lost their credibility. People do not believe these administrative types anymore….People need to hear from the elected leaders who have asked residents for their trust, for their confidence, and ultimately for their vote.
So let’s get specific….
The Wildflower site provides a vivid demonstration of the residents mistrust with the process. On at least two occasions over the past month residents have uncovered proofs leaving no doubt that City Staff blatantly ‘lied’ to the Council and to the public at large.
With the advent of the Communication Officer, items are now being placed on the city website to keep the public informed. Such a posting was placed on the City’s site recently that told a fictitious story about the Wildflower site and the City’s original intentions for acquiring it.
The ‘lie’ was captured in staff’s rewriting history by stating that the Wildflower property was bought for the purpose of being a restaurant (a revenue generator) for the City.
Through the good work of some active residents and the availability of public records and videos, Councilman Singer was made aware of this blatant ‘lie’ and the City Manager was presented with an accurate factual recollection. Within hours of this discourse, the city’s website was corrected by removing the (mis)statement; a quick and obvious admission of the ‘lie’.
As if this was not enough….
Thanks to the good work of resident Jim Wood, the 2011 poll taken to determine what residents wanted to see on the Wildflower site was revisited.
What was presented to the City Council by Assistant City Manager George Brown in 2011 is now found to also have been a blatant ‘lie’; a ‘lie’ used for the justification of four years of wasted time negotiating for a restaurant that was not part of the City’s original intent and justification.…
As reported last week in the BocaWatch’s article “Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics”, Mr. Wood proves beyond doubt that the results presented to the Council and the public was a manipulation of facts designed to result in support for a predetermined outcome; to wit: an intracoastal restaurant.
These are but two instances of staff ‘lying’ to council and to the public. This behavior is often the case. Perhaps the ‘lying’ is not always as blatant but nonetheless every bit as effective.
Other examples have been found and reported in BocaWatch.
The City Council cannot stand by in light of this behavior; the Council must take remedial action or be tainted as well….Leadership starts at the top….In Boca Raton, leadership is with our elected officials. The administration must be beyond reproach. We are waiting and watching for this administration to show us that….
It is not the responsibility of residents to oversee the integrity of staff. It is the Council’s responsibility and the Wildflower situation demonstrates the need for a course change; a clear message that this behavior is not to be tolerated.
Lying to the public and lying to the Council ought to be fatal offences. Behavior like this can only result in distrust; distrust that clearly exists with many concerned residents here in Boca Raton.
BocaWatch believes that the highest levels of Boca Raton’s administration are tainted and calls for the immediate resignation of the City Manager and Assistant City Manager.
In the absence of these resignations, the Council must act to remove these individuals for cause.
Faith and trust cannot be replaced once shattered….the public demands a demonstration by the Council that behavior like this will never happen again….
So what should an elected official do….
Get off the cocktail circuit and go to the People; the People that have placed faith and trust in you. Appropriate action and open discussion will reduce resentments and raise the bar to meet the Council’s lofty objective of a trusting, informed and active citizenry reaching across all socio-economic lines and areas within this city, the City of Boca Raton….
If this concerns you, please contact your City Council now:
Mayor Susan Haynie – email@example.com
Deputy Mayor Robert Weinroth – firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilman Mike Mullaugh – email@example.com
CRA Chair,Councilman Scott Singer – firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeremy Rodgers – email@example.com