Bob Pohlmann says:
January 14, 2014 at 9:52 pm
Initially I would agree with your premise that there needs to be massive changes within Port Orange city government. My observations of city government over the last year is that nothing has changed. Given the fact that city hall was a mess during my last year or two on council, it is truly amazing that the current council has done absolutely nothing to correct past mismanagement. In fact I would say it is more of a mess than ever before. Current council sits idly by and allows one fiasco after another without any comment. It seems that the council falls under the spell of the manager.
If anyone remembers I was the only Councilmember that did not want our current manager on the final list of candidates. You can look that one up. Looking in now as an outsider, not on council any longer, I confess to being under the spell of the manager. That is not a good thing. AsI look now at council, they are all spell bound, sitting there like robots. The manager runs the agenda. Nobody wants to say anything for fear of losing their council seat in the next election. Yes, councilman Ford does say things but he only goes so far and then backs off. Maybe that will change for him but I do not see the others following his example. I could easily identify 4-6 senior staff members that need to move on. They are all part of the stagnation that has entrenched this city and entrenched this council. That’s my opinion.
Yes, there were “team players” on previous councils. When I served with Kennedy, Steindorfer, Martin, and Green we did work as a team and accomplished many things. Drainage issues, Williamson Blvd, Public Safety improvements, and many other projects were completed working as a “team”. Those were good things for Port Orange. But I would agree there were other financial commitments that in hindsight were not as successful and might be deemed a waste of money. So when you use “team player” it was not all bad as you make it seem. I also disagree with your assessment of the current council and who is on what team or any other team.
Don’t forget that Councilman Bastian is on the “union team”. So how will he vote on the next union contract? Will it be for his “team” or the “residents team”. He certainly didn’t vote for the “senior citizen team” for tax breaks. Who nominated Councilman Burnett for Vice Mayor? What “team” is he on? I think he is on his own “team” for personal ambition and attention. Kennedy is not on any “team” anymore. I do not believe he will run for reelection. But when he was on the same “team” I was on much got accomplished. Ford and Green are each on their own “team”. That is why nothing of any major importance is being accomplished on the current council.
Let’s face the facts right now. There needs to be major, major changes in this city in order for it to move forward. A divided council does not accomplish anything. The city employees are divided into those being taken care of and those at the bottom. There needs to be more parity there. Senior staff needs a shakeup with some new faces. Many employees are in fear of their job. You can see it in their faces and they tell me this when I see them out in public. The whole culture needs to be changed. The city is not the shining example it once was, it is barely hanging on. But I could be wrong.
Where’s Chris Christie when we need him? That’s a joke of course. No NJ politics down here.
Hank Springer says:
January 16, 2014 at 11:19 am
Thank you Bob for your observations. They touch on important areas of concern for the citizens of Port Orange. Many of your points can be the genesis for lengthy conversations. I will try and be brief:
It has already been one year since the new city manager has gone to work for us, and something has changed. Things have gotten worse in city government. A very short list would be mistakes in operations, and not supplying city council with timely documents before a city council meeting.
I had not realized that you did not cast a vote for Kisela as city manager. Thank you for reminding us of that. I had thought all candidates were of excellent quality. Perhaps they were of professional standards before they joined someone’s team? I will now leave this sensitive area for your sake.
I agree with you about Councilman Ford. He is blunt, and I know he is capable of putting forth motions that would affect the city manager’s operations, but he rarely does. He makes a lot of comments, but does not follow up in most cases with meaningful action. Still, to me, he shines above all the others, in at least bluntly describing the problems with city hall. We never had that before Bob Ford came on to the city council, except from what we heard from Ted Noftall. I will now leave this sensitive area of Ted Noftall for your sake.
The first I had heard of “team players” in city government, was when Mayor Allen Green urged the citizens to vote for a “team player” onto the city council, in the election you ran in. The definition of a “team player” is probably in the imagination of one’s agenda. It is naïve for me to write that I hope all city council members will be on the team working for the citizens, and perhaps not other “players” who buzz around city hall. You Bob had to demonstrate your willingness to be a “team player” when you applied for a teaching position in New Jersey. I think your position is that politics in and near Port Orange is so much cleaner than politics in New Jersey. If so, I think the way to keep our politics clean of unethical “team players” is to be skeptical, and alas with that sentiment comes the horrible tool of suspicion.
It seems to me, that in the past year or two we have been dealing more with facts and revelations than suspicions. By the way Bob, you had assured me that some city councilman would tell us what the details were in the hidden back room meeting of the $19.00 a minute non-binding arbitrator concerning the million or so dollars dispute with South Daytona. I do not think anyone has disclosed to the public the details of that meeting. Correct me if I am wrong.
Bob, you wrote: “The whole culture needs to be changed. The city is not the shining example it once was, it is barely hanging on. But I could be wrong.”
Bob, I think we have now learned that the shining example of the city of Oz was all a sham. A lot of nice things were built, constructed, with tax payers’ money, while many revenues were not being collected. The vision (and image?) of Port Orange, (for construction purposes?) was the main item for team players, and not adequate day to day mundane operations, which neglect cost the tax payers some million? of dollars.
Thanks for writing, Bob.
— Hank springer