The pertinent question to ask, however, is what and whose truth is being told. So here, I will try to analyize: The ‘Truth’ involving the Boca Raton Airport Authority; the recent controversial appointments by the City Council; and the upcoming July 15th Airport Authority’s meeting where proposed By-Law changes are being brought forward….
Beginning here with 10 inconvenient ‘Truths’ out of literally dozens….these ‘Truths’, identified through the public records process, are ‘Truths’ that have been presented in one way or another to the residents of Boca Raton….
So let’s begin….
Truth 1: The City Council, at their ‘goal setting’ session, determined that a top tier priority for the year is to improve communications between the City Council and the Airport Authority. In this regard, at ‘goal setting’, there was discussion of the communication concerns with the Airport Authority and a commitment to take corrective action.
Truth 2: At ‘goal setting’ only a brief general directional compass was discussed but details were sparse at best. No precise plan was formulated or presented. Subsequent to ‘goal setting’, there has been little public discourse describing what was to be accomplished and how it would be achieved.
Truth 3: Since then, Robert Weinroth has offered himself to be appointed by the City Council to the Airport Authority as the ‘resident’ appointee from west of I-95. This is one of five appointees to the Airport Authority from the City authorized by the Airport’s enabling legislation.
Mr. Weinroth’s appointment was controversial the evening it was made as he, himself, as Deputy Mayor, voted the tie-breaking vote for his own appointment; an appointment which is now the subject of an investigation by the Florida Commission on Ethics.
Truth 4: Mr. Weinroth is a multi-faceted personality. He now holds five (5) titles that can easily come in conflict with one another.
These titles are as follows: 1) Resident; 2) Deputy Mayor; 3) Community Redevelopment Agency Member; 4) Metropolitan Planning Authority Member; and 5) Boca Raton Airport Authority Member.
Isn’t it curious that in the City of Boca Raton, residents are limited to holding two and no more than two appointments to boards and committees….But I digress, in Boca Raton, it seems that members of the City Council can do whatever they please…….
Truth 5: Sitting as the resident appointee to the Airport Authority for the first time on June 17th, Mr. Weinroth brought forward a comprehensive proposal for significant changes to the Airport Authority’s existing By-Laws; By-Laws that have been in place since 2005. He argues that these changes are designed to improve communications with and to the public by Airport Authority members; to allow the members the ability to readily discuss relevant airport issues in the community and with members of the community.
Truth 6: Resident Weinroth’s submitted By-Law changes have been prepared by the City Attorney’s office; an inconvenient truth disclosed by Mr. Weinroth in his communication to the Airport’s Executive Director and uncovered through a public record request of the Airport Authority.
Please note that pursuant to the City Charter, the City Attorney’s office is limited to opining on and responding to items that are directly related to the official duties of a city officer.
Nowhere is there reference to the City Attorney acting on behalf of a resident appointee; in this case, resident Weinroth, but, let us not forget that the City Attorney, apparently at the behest of the Mayor and supported by the entire council, is also acting on behalf of resident Jack Fox on Mr. Fox’s controversial appointment to this same Airport Authority and, now, also the subject of an investigation by the Florida Commission on Ethics.
Nowhere is there proof that an appointment to the Airport Authority of resident Weinroth is tantamount to the appointment of Deputy Mayor Weinroth….and, even if that were the case, nowhere is there supporting evidence that the Deputy Mayor’s official responsibilities include a resident appointment to the Airport Authority.
Lest I not be accused of ‘dancing’ on the head of a pin with this analysis, I continue….
Truth 7: Research of the public records fails to uncover any public disclosures documenting to whom resident Weinroth conversed with in preparing the By-Law changes he has brought forward.
No public record is found authorizing the City Attorney to prepare these changes, a fact we now know to be the case.
No public discourse can be found that authorizes Deputy Mayor Weinroth, not resident Weinroth, to sit on the Airport Authority as the resident appointee of the City Council; and, no public record exists enabling these proposed Airport By-Law changes to be brought forward by Mr. Weinroth, regardless of which hat he wears, at Boca Raton taxpayer expense.
Remember, it was resident Weinroth that was appointed to the Airport Authority. Hence, now appointed, Airport Authority Member Weinroth, under the Airport’s current By-Laws has a duty to disclose what conversations have taken place. He certainly conversed with the City Attorney. Did he converse with the Mayor? The City Manager? Outside council?
If Deputy Mayor Weinroth did not converse with anyone inside city hall other than the City Attorney, then engaging the City Attorney to prepare the Airport By-Law changes would be an unauthorized act.
If Deputy Mayor Weinroth did converse with others within city hall and did not disclose those communications to the Airport Authority, he would have violated his sworn responsibilities as a member of the Airport Authority and, perhaps, as an elected official of the city of Boca Raton, possible Sunshine Law matters; a catch 22 that I assume he has an answer to.
Enough….I think you get my drift….
Mr. Weinroth must be conflicted in these five (5) roles. I suspect that he does a lot of talking to himself…he may even answer himself…but what has happened to date cannot have happened without him talking to others as well. Those conversations rightly are the subject of public discourse and must be brought into the public domain….
Truth 8: Mr. Weinroth has stated at various times in his roles as resident, as Deputy Mayor, and as Airport Authority Member that the proposed By-Law changes are designed to improve communications; to allow Airport Authority members to speak in public about items affecting the Airport.
That stated objective, a part of his proposed changes, is simply not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…. because….
Truth 9: Nothing in the current Airport By-Laws prevents Airport Authority Members from communicating with the public; with the City Council; with neighborhood groups and individuals and/or with the media. The current By-Laws simply require notification to the Executive Director of these communications so that these communications can be documented and preserved for the public record; the member is also provided guidance as to what is a public record and how to maintain it; certainly a laudable goal;
Truth 10: Yet to be discussed by Mr. Weinroth in any medium or any public forum is that his proposed By-Law changes all but eliminate the requirement that Airport Authority members report with whom they converse about official Airport business; not a laudable goal.
The County Code of Ethics was adopted in November 2010. That code has been adopted by the city of Boca Raton. There is no provision that the County’s Code of Ethics apply to the Airport Authority.
Since the County’s Code of Ethics has been adopted, there has been one re-adoption of the Airport’s By-Laws and 8 amendments, the latest being in 2014. Some of these amendments are designed to effectuate an ethics platform for documenting outside influences to Airport Authority members by lobbyists and/or third party interests in the affairs of the Airport.
Mr. Weinroth’s proposed changes eviscerate this almost entirely….an inconvenient truth he has yet to present, yet to defend.
BocaWatch invites resident Weinroth; Deputy Mayor Weinroth; CRA Member Weinroth; MPO Member Weinroth; and/or Airport Authority Member Weinroth to a sit down for an interview addressing these conflicting issues and how he proposes to resolve these inherent conflicts.
In the alternative, BocaWatch invites this multifaceted personality to an open forum and debate where the residents can be truly informed as to the objectives of his proposed changes and the manner and process in which they have been formed; a perfect opportunity to have the better communications he pretends to defend to keep the public better informed on the activities of the Airport Authority….
I would not take odds on either of these invitations actually happening….