I had no idea…. today is my One Year Anniversary with WordPress.
I moved this blog over from my old Blogger account after several years there. You may get a link to my old blog here.
It has been fun at WordPress and I plan on sticking around for a while longer!
Thanks to everyone for the support, the great reading and the new friendships!
Last night the Town of Lake Park CRA Board and Commissioners met in regular session.
Commissioner Longtin was unable to attend either meeting. All other Commissioners and Board Members were present.
In general business, the town’s CRA approved the meeting minutes from November 7th, unanimously.
A contract for Security services within the CRA was approved on a vote of 5-1. Board member Hockman voted against the security for the CRA district.
Exec Director Sugerman provided his monthly report on activities within the CRA. Ms. Jennifer Spicer was on hand to discuss the recent Lake Park Seafood Festival.
Board members agreed that the Seafood Festival was successful and that Ms. Spicer provided an excellent service in producing the event. It was recommended that if she would like to provide additional proposals for events the Board and Town Commission would be open to review.
With no further business before the Board, the meeting was adjourned.
Immediately following the CRA meeting, the Town of Lake Park Commission meeting was called to order by Mayor James Dubois.
As the meeting began, Town Manager Sugerman advised that item G2 must be pulled as it was being contested by one of the parties who bid. The item, “Award of Bid 107-2012 Custodial Services Term Contract for Town Hall, PBSO District 10 Substation, Public Works Department, Lake Park Harbor Marina, and Lake Shore Park Bathrooms” was pulled from the agenda.
With no other changes to the agenda it was approved.
The consent agenda was approved 4-0, adopting the meeting minutes of the Regular Commission Meeting Minutes for November 7, 2012.
Representatives were approved to serve on both the Library Board and Planning & Zoning Board.
Staff brought forward two ordinances on first read that dealt with lots owned by the Town on Foresteria Drive. These lots, 711, 725 and 761 Foresteria are located where the Seeds of Hope Community Garden now grow.
These properties were being recommended for a change in zoning from Residential 2 (R2) to Public District (P). Both ordinances were approved unanimously.
Town Manager Sugerman brought forward a plan for discussion to create a “Memorial Tree Planting Program at Pre-Determined Town Locations.” Mr. Sugerman stated that a number of residents have asked about the possibility of planting memorial trees in the Town and the staff had done research for locations, costs and possible markers at each tree.
After his presentation, I questioned Mr. Sugerman as to the number of people who had asked about a program, at this time 3 people have made a request. I then asked if the tree dies who is responsible for it? Mr. Sugerman advised that for the first year we would have a warranty on the tree from the grower.
During his presentation Mr. Sugerman had advised that the hiring of a certified arborist to help plan the program’s planting locations would cost approximately $3,000. During my comments, I advised that I have no objection to the program but do not support hiring the arborist, I am confident that we have staff who can help determine the best locations for the tree plantings. My comments received support from the remaining Commissioners and direction was given to move forward without the additional expenditure.
Mr. Sugerman presented an update on Fireworks with a proposal from Zambelli Fireworks.
Mr. Sugerman presented an update on dog park locations.
Mr. Sugerman advised that the Town is entitled to receive $37,294 from the County’s Community Development Block Grant Program. With these grants there is no money match required. Each Commissioner provided ideas for projects that may utilize these funds.
Mr. Sugerman advised a resident has offered his photography services at Lake Park Harbor Marina for the Town’s marketing needs. Commission provided endorsement for the Mayor to sign a “photo release” with the resident.
With this the regular business of the Commission concluded.
During my Commission comments I read a long statement regarding a recent situation I have had with Town Manager Sugerman, my comments in total are below.
Last week a series of emails were distributed to all elected officials and department heads that originated between myself and the Town Manager. Tonight I would like to respond to the emails and I request that madam Clerk record my comments verbatim into the record. I will have a copy for you at the end of the meeting.
At our last Commission meeting on Wednesday, November 7th I made a request for additional information on three discussion items. None of these items appeared to be overly complex and I would have thought that within a couple of weeks I could have reasonably expected a response.
On Wednesday, November 28th three weeks after making my requests I sent an email to the Town Manager asking for details. I also included a request on an issue that Commissioner Longtin had asked about as I was also interested in the response and had seen nothing on her issue either. Admittedly, I was disappointed that I had heard nothing from the Town Manager in the preceding three weeks and expressed my frustration.
On the following day, I received an email back from Mr. Sugerman with the answer to two of the questions, and the statement that the other two would be answered in his upcoming end of the month report.
Mr. Sugerman then went on to say “Finally, it is clear to me that you are dissatisfied with my performance as town manager, especially as it relates to the timeliness of communications. Frankly, I am dissatisfied with the imperious tone of not only this e-mail, but virtually all of your e-mail communications with me. To that end, it appears that the best course of action to ameliorate your dissatisfaction with my performance is for you to offer a motion at the December 5th Town Commission meeting to terminate my employment with the Town. Once you receive a second to your motion, I will support the same.”
It is with this response that I feel it is important for me to respond publicly.
Over the past four years I have worked diligently to represent the Town of Lake Park in the best way I know how. I may not have always made the right decision, but I assure you nothing I have done here has been decided randomly or without thought.
In the years that I have been a Commissioner, I have served with six other commissioners, two mayors, one attorney and three town managers. I have worked with numerous staff members and been open to discussions with virtually any resident who wanted to discuss an item.
I have made it a priority to respond to the residents and employees in a timely manner. I think it is my job to be responsive to the people who employ me.
Over the years I have had amazing relationships with residents and even most of those who disagree with me on items respect the work I have put into this position.
I have had a great relationship with the staff and they know I have been one of their biggest cheerleaders from this dais.
While sometimes strained, my relationships with my fellow Commissioners has been good for the majority and I think that even Jeanine and I have found a common respect for each other although we probably wouldn’t agree on many issues.
I have been fortunate to serve with two wonderful Mayors. Desca Dubois was my friend and I miss her greatly, sadly when she passed away my role was forced to change for a short time and it saddens me that some people misrepresented that short-term change. James Dubois was elected shortly after Desca’s death and his knowledge of the issues and passion for our Town has been admirable.
I enjoyed working with Maria Davis as Town Manager. I will always believe her tenure was filled with more good than bad and it pained me to call on her to resign, although I knew it was the right thing for our Town.
We were fortunate to have Jamie Titcomb join us on a temporary basis and I will continue to be grateful for his service to Lake Park.
When it came time to hire a new Town Manager, I was impressed with Mr. Sugerman’s knowledge of the community and his history of service, plus he came highly recommended. While Mr. Sugerman played coy in the interview process, I still felt he was the right man for the job and voted to hire him and even went above the pay rate that we had planned for the position because I felt strongly he could lead us forward.
I still believe we made the right decision in hiring Mr. Sugerman.
Let me be clear, I believe Dale Sugerman can be a good employee for the Town of Lake Park and I believe he is on the right path in many areas. However, Mr. Sugerman’s lack of response, flippant responses and condescension trouble me and quite frankly residents who have approached me with concerns.
After receiving Mr. Sugerman’s email, I couldn’t help but think back to a conversation he and I had shortly after he was hired over lunch at Yard House at Downtown at the Gardens.
We were discussing Mr. Titcomb’s service as acting Town Manager and I made the comment that one of the things I so appreciate from Jamie was his attempts to make the Town Commission be more civil to each other and through his efforts I felt that we had made progress.
When I made the comment, Mr. Sugerman stated “sometimes a little conflict within the Commission can be fun.” When I saw the private email Mr. Sugerman had shared with my fellow Commissioners and Town Staff I couldn’t help but think back to that comment and wonder, if Mr. Sugerman were trying to stir up conflict.
Either way, I would like to remind my fellow Commissioners and residents of the words I used when I called on Maria Davis to resign:
Last evening, a fellow Commissioner presented allegations related to Town Manager, Maria Davis. In presenting the documents it was stated that the charges warrant “termination with cause.” At the time I stated that I have not had time to review the documents and would not be able to make a judgment.
After reflection, I have come to the conclusion that in the best interest of the citizens of the Town of Lake Park, we must make a change.
For almost two years our Town Commission has been struggling over the Town Manager as some have expressed a lack of confidence in her leadership. We can no longer engage in this struggle if we want to move our Town forward. Too many important matters face us to be distracted by this conflict. We must unite as a community and work together if we are ever to achieve our Town’s potential.
With that said, I ask Town Manager Maria Davis to resign her position. It is with a heavy heart that I make this request. I do so because, no one person is greater than the Town as a whole and our future is too important to continue divided.
I believe those words as much today as I did then. No one person is greater than the Town as a whole and our future is too important to continue divided.
With that let me say publicly. Mr. Sugerman, I have a bit over two months remaining on my term in office. I have no desire to have a public or private battle going with you. I have worked too hard during these past four years to provide a service to this Town; I will not be drug into the mud with an employee for conflict.
The Town of Lake Park has been through many years of turmoil, I will not be a party to creating another one. The residents of this town deserve better.
As I have said on numerous occasions, I think you have provided a service to our Town and hope you will continue to do so. I will not tonight be asking for your resignation, if you were to choose that path it would be your choice, but I have no intention of asking.
What I do ask is that you provide timely information on issues that I request, you may think a month is enough time to respond, quite frankly I don’t and if you do find that additional time will be needed the professional thing to do in the future would be to advise me “hey, I am working on this, I don’t have an answer but will get it to you as soon as I have it.”
Communication would go a long way here and quite frankly I am tired of asking questions, getting curt responses or partial comment.
Mr. Sugerman, I trust that you and I can develop a working relationship that moves this Town forward, l manage a large staff, I have dedicated my time to this Town as a public servant for four years, I would appreciate the basic respect as Town Manager of reasoned timely responses.
I wish you well moving forward and commit to the Town of Lake Park that I will continue to ask tough questions and work until my last day in office to make our Town the best it can possibly be.
To my fellow neighbors, commissioners, attorney, Mayor and staff, I apologize that this private email exchange had to become a public matter.
I now conclude my comments on this issue.
After the remaining Commissioners had made their own public comments, the meeting was adjourned.
Last night the Town of Lake Park met in regular session, all Commissioners were present.
A light agenda was on task for the Commission. View it here.
Before approving the agenda, Item I.8 Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics Compliance Review Memorandum was removed. With that change the agenda was approved.
Boy Scout Troop #180 reported on their Community Service work at the Seeds of Hope Community Garden.
Items 2 – 6 were approved unanimously on the Consent Agenda.
Item 7 on the Consent “Regular Commission Meeting Minutes of October 3, 2012″ was pulled by Commissioner Longtin. Ms. Longtin requested that the time of the Mayor’s arrival at the meeting be reflected as 7:14 PM. With this requested addition, the item was approved unanimously.
The next item on the agenda was a request of the Town Commission to modify the Town Code eliminating the 1,200 foot distance separation requirements between two gas stations. I have NO IDEA why this was ever written into the Code and especially since we have existing filling stations within the distance requirement. The Commission voted 4-1, with Commissioner Longtin voting against, to direct staff to bring forward a modification to the Code dropping the distance requirements to 600 ft.
The Village of North Palm Beach has requested a joint meeting of the two Town Commissions on November 8 at 6:30 PM to discuss a change to the signs restrictions at the Village Shoppes, which shares borders with the Town of Lake Park and NPB.
The Commission approved the November 8th meeting unanimously. I advised prior to the vote that I would be unable to attend that evening, but hoped the Commission would go along without me.
On November 8th, I have an event at my job Lexus Taste at Downtown and will not be able to attend. Commissioner Longtin said she would not be able to attend either as she is not available on Thursdays. After verifying that a quorum would be present the item was approved.
At the conclusion of Commission Comments, the meeting was adjourned.
A couple of things are becoming evident as we move towards Commission elections in March…
1) Watch the quiet. Some of the Town’s major critics are being extremely quiet right now, possibly working on changing their image to one that would be more palatable with the voters?
2) Yes, we have a new Town logo, it is probably a couple of years old now. Evidently it has taken the place of the sprinkler system on Flagler as Commissioner Longtin’s new pet criticism. I like the logo, I think it was a good expenditure and I have no problem with backing up my vote. Commissioner Longtin plans to use this as an election issue, just know that when you hear her make the comments.
Be diligent and know what is going on and who is partnering with whom. This election will be important for our Town, make sure the words and actions of a few during election season match their words and actions of the last several years!
I am EXTREMELY excited about some of the probable candidates I have been speaking with, they are amazing people and will lead our Town forward with honor and integrity! I can’t wait for them to make their announcements as candidates!