Saturday, October 1, 2011

Taxpayers of Deerfield Beach May be "Left Holding the Bag" for City Staff Error

"A Commissionecommented that a writer stated that we need to run this city like a business and that they agreed whole- heartedly with that writer... A Commissioner stated that he knows he said it that if the city... were a business we would be bankrupt because of the way we are operating.   The City Manager was not interested in running this city like a business.  The City Manager wanted to reduce the parks and recreation budget in half which would have closed down all of our resource centers, community centers and many jobs would have been lost.  This would have placed our at-risk children on the streets where they would get themselves into trouble and create a hardship for our working parents that rely on those centers for after school care while they earn a living and that too is not something that he could support.  He advised that if you speak with City employees they will tell you that they were told that parks and recreation budget had to be cut... A Commissioner continued discussing the wasteful ways City Management had allowed money to be spent on car allowances, leave payouts, and sick pay for non-general employees (sixty-three of them to be exact).  A Commissioner at the previous meeting had stated how he had lost faith in... as a City Manager because borrowed CRA funds had been expended and purchase contracts were signed before council approval was granted. How can i have confidence when the manager or in the manager when i witness the politics of fear and division being perpetrated upon employees so as to cause family men and women to doubt whether they will be able to feed their families?  How can i have confidence in the manager when an unnecessary (and he stressed unnecessary) wedge had been placed between general employees, rank in file police officers and management?   How can he have confidence in the manager when advancement, promotion and pay increases seem to be based upon political acumen rather than upon ability and knowledge?  How can he have confidence in the manager when again and again suggestions to balance the budget appears to be on the backs of those who can least afford it, the general employees and our hard working tax paying residents?"
*Italicized and underline portion of quote has been edited.

Aftereading the above quote from an elected official at a public meeting; which, can be read in it's entirety here.) Would it surprise you to find out that the above quote is not about the City of Deerfield Beach, but is referencing the job performance of a current City of Deerfield Beach employee.

Would it surprise you to know that that employee is not Deerfield Beach City Manager, Burgess Hanson, even though this quote fits what has happened here in our great city in the past 2-3 years while he has been Acting City Manager and now City Manager.

Would you like to know the reason why this quote fits the City of Deerfield Beach?  It's because the above is an excerpt from the July 22, 2008 City of North Miami Beach Council Meeting where the Council had at a previous meeting (Tuesday June 24, 2008) voted 5-2 to "fire" Keven Klopp, who after being fired from NMB landed here in Deerfield Beach, where he has been for the last 2-3 years creeping his way back into another top spot as the City of Deerfield Beach Assistant City Manager and the Director of our CRA. 

Please note  that in this time of economic financial crisis and double dip recession, Burgess Hanson and Keven Klopp to save the City money have:

  • fired 106+ employees last year and have fostered an air of uncertainty for job security amongst the non-uniformed employees, which has created a wedge between them, the rank and file of our public servants, City Management, and the Commission.  Suffice it to say that employee moral, at least, amongst the remaining non-uniformed employees is at an all-time low and some say it has never been lower.
  • recommended and obtained Commission approval to impose a 10% Utility tax on the City's hard-working taxpaying residents usage of electric, water and metered gas 
  • sold our Fire Department to BSO fr a possible savings of $2 + million dollars (possibly) 
  • requested concessions from our employees that would see them taking a 5% paycut, paying back 5% for the "merit" raises they earned last year, and paying an additional 10% of their insurance cost; which also affects the retirees 
These are a few things that they did to save the City of Deerfield Beach money and increase and diversify our revenue streams to ensure that our "eggs aren't in one basket" and so "everyone pays their fair share" to balance our budget. 

Whilst they were doing the above they initiated a recruitment and hiring spree that saw our City flying in and paying to re-locate individuals from outside of Florida and outside of Deerfield Beach for management positions that in some cases saw the new hires earning 40-70% more (public records have been slow to come in, so these percentages have not been properly verified) than their predecessors.  Keeping in mind that the unemployment rate here in Deerfield Beach is 8.90% compared to the National average of 9.10%.

Keven and Burgess weren't done with theirenovations of our City's employment landscape They approved:

  •  a remodel of a small City Hall office for a little under $10,000.00 for Keven Klopp to wine and dine possible CRA benefactors and prominent guest. 
  •  raises and promotions, oops I meant re-classifications and re-allocations, that would result, in many cases, to a $20,000.00 hefty hike in salary for the recipient, one in particular that has been verified through public records request is Mike Milawnoski, Director of Human Resources who was hired July 2010 and reclassified July 2011 (1 year). 
All of the above was done as Management decisions, leaving the voters and the public out of every decision.  This is verifiable by watching any City Commission Meeting or "Public" Hearing and listening to the Commissioners tell the audience and the speakers (representing the "public") that they knew more than the voters and that they will do what is best for the City regardless of what the residents, voters, businesses, "PUBLIC" thought or said.

So, aftereading this would you not think that at least one of the City of Deerfield Beach Commissioners would have a clue, would have a shred or an ounce of concern for the residents, employees, and businesses in and welfare of Deerfield Beach then they too would give the above speech and the proverbial boot to both Burgess Hanson, City Manager and Keven Klopp, Assistant City Manager/Director of the CRA.

Well, their current actions, words, policies, resolutions, and ordinances demonstrate clearly that they don't have a clue and that they care more for themselves, their pockets, and helping to line the pockets of upper management and the slew of developers that helped themselves to the City's coffers.  An example of this can be read in the recently surfaced OIG FEMA Audit of the City of Deerfield Beach, which a related article can be read here with links to the official audit report, the findings of which may have the City repaying over $3.9 million dollars back to FEMA.

Might I add, that the above mentioned report and it's results were forwarded to City Officials well in advance of the January 20, 2011 exit interview that the Inspector General's office had with them, but this information never made it to the general public, until now, and if you search the internet for articles about the OIG auditing the City of Deerfield Beach about it's handling of FEMA Federal Dollars and the results, you will not find not even one about it.  However, we were inundated with reports, announcements, speeches, condemnations,accusations, and investigations relating to the OIG audit of the City of Deerfield Beach, regarding the handling of HUD dollars, which can be read hereresulted in the City having to pay HUD $395,298 a second forensic audit by Kessler International, which can be read on the City's website, at the recommendation of guess who Burgess Hanson, of which every City Department and/or entity audited was hand-picked by City Officials, namely Burgess Hanson.

 I don't know if this was an intentional or un-intentional oversight by City Officials and local news media for not informing the residents of Deerfield Beach about the above federal investigation into our City finances that could affect all taxpaying citizens and businesses of the City, as a large repayment of millions of dollars to a Federal Agency may cause the City to need to raise taxes to pay for it.  (Oh, they did raise taxes in the form of the imposition of a 10% Utility Tax)  But, what I do know is that this is really fishy that this information is coming to light now, as it may have affected the public's response to being told that "WE" would be paying an additional 10% on our utilities and there was nothing we could do or say about it. and it is coming as a surprise even to many individuals that make it their business to be informed and attend all of the City's Public Meetings.

I suggest everyone follow the links and read the information for yourselves and become informed.  Then after you have read the documents and reports that may have negatively affected all the taxpayers in Deerfield Beach, so.  Contact your elected officials and then their City Manager and Assistant City Manager to find out why the citizens and taxpayers have been left out of the loop, but left holding the proverbial bag.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Everyone is welcome to comment, but all comments represent the views of the poster and not this site.