From : “Ted Noftall” <Ted@TedNoftall.com>
To:    “Robert Ford” <rford37@cfl.rr.com>
Cc:    “Greg Kisela” <gkisela@port-orange.org>
Thank you for a response worthy of an elected representative of the people. You have actually staked out a position, announced that position publically, and made clear that you will advance that position at Council  WITHOUT THE AID OF THE MANAGER.
The notion that a Councilman would do any of that without the  Manager’s approval  and before the Manager had managed to form a consensus in private meetings based on his selective information  must be seen as revolutionary for anyone un-familiar with alternatives to the ICMA  self-promoting  Strong Manager form of government.
If your  action is but the first of many,  AND IF  the rest of Council follows your lead and actually starts staking positions in public,  and are willing to advance those positions before Council then the time is very near for the  subject line of this e-mail  to change from Special Gifts for a Select Few  to  A Gift for All of US.
Councilman Kennedy to his credit is the only Councilman that has stated on multiple occasions that he wants to reduce  taxes for property owners. That is not enough Dennis,  you  need to take that a step further and state publically those budgeted items that you believe can and should be eliminated.
*  Perhaps you object to 2.5% raises to $ 100,000 plus  administrators  who are in DROP and whose very occupancy of their lofty positions are delaying much needed secession hiring,
*  Or perhaps you feel that budgeting for an assumed 100% filled  employment when year in and year out  turn-over experience reduces that budget number by as much as 10%  constitutes nothing more than larceny of taxpayers wallets,   TO SAY to say to say nothing of the near dollar for dollar pension contribution expense   these over budgeted payroll assumption cost property owners.
* Or maybe you believe  vacation buy-backs need to be eliminated outright and sick buybacks  capped at $7,500 because those 2 programs are costing  over $ 500,000 in the budget before you.
AND CONVERSELY I would call upon Mayor Green  and Councilmen  Bastian, Burnette and Ford to defend those expenditures noted above as I have not heard any of you gentlemen state your desire to reduce  taxes even by one thin dime for property owners.  AND please do not even attempt to tell me that your reluctance to reduce the millage rate is a sign of your greater  fiscal conservatism  unless you can explain how keeping these budget pigs  is a badge of a fiscal conservative.
Three quarters  of the problems we currently face are as a direct  refusal of individual councilmen  to ask  tough question and take tough stands in public,   and then defend and advance their positions at Council.   Budget  issues must no longer be slid through in the shadows,  by Councils that have ceded unwarranted policy making authority to the Manager.
I made a commitment to this city 24 years ago and that commitment has not wavered but strengthened over the years. I want my children and grand children and other new comers to see the value that I saw and continue to see in Port Orange.
What has wavered, wobbled and just about fallen off the tracks is the competence and integrity of the financial function  of the City.  That must stop and today would not be too soon to have that happen,  starting with WHERE IS  THE BUDGET ??     This is not going to fix itself and as all Mothers and most doctors know a wound is not going to heal until the splinter has been removed and all the puss drained.   This soft pedaling of employee behavior that ranges from criminal to  incompetent,  and back pedaling on auditor and consultant findings  needs to stop.
I am in the house hold moving business and I can tell you from first hand antidotal experience that my company has moved far too many  seniors who have lived in Port Orange for decades  to lower cost areas in Georgia and the Carolinas because they can find another thousand dollars in their fixed income budgets from lower taxes and fees.  Council needs to call as ill-considered if not outright  immoral  their willingness to have any bureaucrat walk out the door with $60,000 to $ 90,000 in sick and vacation buy backs   while long time residents are leaving our City because of fees and taxes that are higher than necessary and that they can no longer pay.
I also do not want to wake up as did South Daytona residents this morning to read in the paper their  taxes are being raised 25% because of a incompetent Manager and finance staff and a mushroom Council.   To avoid this fate Port Orange needs to implement an   honest, transparent and comprehensive budgeting process  that encompasses  more than just the next fiscal year..….something we have not had in the past and something we do not have again this year.
I hope  Council intends that honest transparent and comprehensive  budgeting  be the official policy of the City, AND THAT  their manager be  fully supportive of that  policy.
Again thank you for your reply.
Ted Noftall

From: Robert Ford [mailto:rford37@cfl.rr.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 2:10 PM
To: Ted Noftall
Cc: ‘Kisela, Greg’
Subject: RE: Special Gifts for a Select Few
Bob_Ford_20082-150x150Ted, your memo of July 25th raised some important issues. In the coming paragraphs, I will attempt to respond to your questions.
CRI advised me in my meeting with them that no council authorization could be found for the special supplemental contributions to ICMA. I read the sections of the code of ordinances referred to in Mr. Kisela’s memo of July 31, 2013. Section 54-56 (f) does allow supplemental benefits but does not define what they are and while the ordinance specifies certain personnel, these sections also do not identify the full gamut of who has been receiving special supplemental benefits.  In addition, some who are identified in ordinance, have not received such benefits.  It would appear in this context is that without direct authorization of plan specifics by ordinance, it would be questionable to budget further funds in the 2014 Budget for the special supplemental plan.
As for  the question as to seek return of previous years supplements, I would argue against seeking back payments. The ordinances do permit the payment of supplemental benefits and one can argue that since these funds were budgeted and approved by council in past years for this purposes, that they were legally granted since they were identified by name in the budget. As my previous paragraph suggests, I am ill at ease with granting any future supplemental payments without the passage of an authorizing ordinance. As we move forward I will fight to make clear, transparent, and upfront all future pay or benefit supplements.
There is no way to deal with the overall issue of fairness to employees that did not receive such funds. Financially it would be disastrous to try. Legally, it is not necessary since funds were allocated in previous budgets by name, and there is no document that clearly identifies what anyone should receive  who did not receive such funds should have received. It is difficult to understand what exactly section 54-56 implies as to recipients and amounts.
What is sorely needed is a comprehensive review of benefits currently being provided.  Note: for defined contributions recipients there is as I understand it, a base contribution of 10%, an employee can then have the city match  their contribution up to 5% (in reality 3% since there is some confusion in the wording on the match program that needs attention). The special supplemental program provides varying amounts—$3,000 for department heads for example (which would be between 3% and 5% depending on salary). This review should focus on insuring equity among employees, making retirement benefits absolutely clear, and clearing up the confusion in our matching program. In addition, these benefits should be reviewed in terms of financial implications and workplace competitiveness. This review should be part  of an even broader review of our benefit ordinances, and our civil service codes.
 Since these are policy issues, I will  urge  Council to provide direction to our new Manager. Failure of the past City Manager to sufficiently involve Council in policy issues is what led to these dilemmas. Council needs to become more active in directing Port Orange forward.
Bob Ford

From: Ted Noftall [mailto:Ted@TedNoftall.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 12:24 PM
To: ‘Kisela, Greg’
Cc: Bob Ford (rford37@cfl.rr.com); Dennis Kennedy (dkennedy@port-orange.org); don@amlsfl.com; Drew Bastian (db2070@cfl.rr.com); Mayor Green (agreen@port-orange.org)
Subject: RE: Special Gifts for a Select Few
TedNoftallThank you Greg,   “ I do not believe Mr. Noftall’s conclusion in the below e-mail is consistent with the findings in the CRI report “
 I am at a loss for words for three reasons.
*)  Not only is that exactly what the CRI report says on page 6  “ A search for more specific guidance on this supplemental contribution program did not yield results “
**)  That is exactly what the CRI representative said in answer to my question regarding Council authorization for this program during her appearance at the Council meeting where she presented her report.
***)  And that is exactly what CRI  advised Council when she met with them individually according to the ones I have discussed this matter with.
If you have uncovered  Council authorization  for this program that was missed by CRI,  or that was otherwise unavailable to them  please send me a copy.
Again thank you for your response.
Ted Noftall

From: Kisela, Greg [mailto:gkisela@port-orange.org]
Sent: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 10:29 AM
To: Ted Noftall; Bob Ford; Kennedy, Dennis; don@amlsfl.com; Drew Bastian; Green, Allen
Cc: Lewis, Shannon; Roberts, Margaret
Subject: RE: Special Gifts for a Select Few

GregKiselaMayor and City Council: We have been reviewing the necessary modifications to the Code of Ordinances to address the issues raised in the CRI report.  I do not believe Mr. Noftall’s conclusion in the below e-mail is consistent with the findings in the CRI report.   The CODE of ORDINANCES does allow supplemental contributions to the ICMA-RC Deferred Compensation Plan or Money Market Plan for a select group of employees (see Section 54-56 (f)) .    The CRI report concludes that several employees,  City Council members, City Manager, City Attorney, City Clerk and Assistant City Attorney, have not been receiving these contributions.   The policy issue is how do we remedy this issue?   We are consulting  with the City’s pension attorney to better understand what alternatives the City may have  to address this issue.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Greg Kisela
City Manager

From: Ted Noftall [mailto:Ted@TedNoftall.com]
Sent: Thursday, July 25, 2013 6:35 PM
To: Bob Ford; Kennedy, Dennis; don@amlsfl.com; Drew Bastian; Green, Allen
Cc: Kisela, Greg
Subject: Special Gifts for a Select Few
TedNoftallMayor and Council,
While the revised personnel projections have not been released which is curious in and of itself,   it is commonly understood that the ICMA Special Gifts  for Select Employees program  has been eliminated from the FY 2014 budget.
If that is accurate that only leaves the matter of how the current and prior year  un-authorized  contributions  to a select upper management few who found favor with the former Manager  are going to be handled.
As you know this program was offered to fewer than 30 employees out of 400   with the  former manager and his department heads being  the heavy hitters and with  lesser contributions for assistants heads  and select few others.
Accordingly I would ask:
1)  Is the City going to make an effort to recoup those un-authorized payments,     OR
2)  Are they going to be authorized retroactively  if such a maneuver can be accomplished legally,  AND if so how is the matter of inherent fairness  to the 90 plus percent of  employees who were excluded from this special gift program  going to be addressed ???
Ted Noftall


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