All of this is no fun

hank4Mr. Anon.
All of this is no fun. Shannon says she is not resigning because of Ted Noftall. And so we wonder, why is she resigning? Again we are left with more speculation and some consider suspicion. Wouldn’t it be nice if Shannon would tell us exactly why she is resigning. If it is Ted Noftall, say so. But I guess one would not be considered a team player to be hired in other future jobs if one was to say, the system I was working in at Port Orange was just administratively inefficient, and work ethic corrupt. Probably no other political network would want to hire such an outspoken individual.
But at this time, I really do not know why she is resigning. Maybe we will eventually find out.
I think Ted had a valid point about Shannon refusing to take on the interim city manager’s job. The idea that a person would not take a promotion because of citizens who are watching administration performances does not say much for those in administration.
I would agree that it is tough working in a city such as Port Orange that had neglected internal controls for a decade? two decades? And to take a job to hold the fort down until the next city manager arrives may very well be a career risk unnecessarily taken. The city of Port Orange is now unique among many local governments because it has a group of citizens who are demanding work performance and accountability. If that is the environment everyone is afraid of, then perhaps it is best that all who are not up to the job leave or not take the job.
There recently have been some comments made that public negative criticism about Port Orange City Government should cease. The arguments I have heard are, negative criticism is unsettling, gets little accomplished, and hurts the morale of city workers.
Negative criticism of our governmental agencies by citizens is a fundamental right and is a way of showing displeasure at negative findings. The freedom to condemn and criticize is fundamental to this democracy, and only under dictatorships are negative criticisms not allowed.
Some arguments are sometimes offered that the agenda of citizens offering negative criticism should be questioned. Questioning motives too is part of the democratic process, but does not adequately remove the impression of negative criticism which is founded on facts.
Many of the negative criticism directed towards the city of Port Orange governmental departments are based in negative findings of mistakes found. Such negative criticism was not imagined out of thin air.
Much of the negative speculation and negative suspicions have developed because city management has not adequately explained how and why negative revelations are appearing almost at a monthly rate, nor has city management assured the public that proper controls have been put in place to prevent the mistakes from happening again.
If the city council as a whole would ask for answers from the city manager about the questions that linger in citizen’s minds, perhaps depending on honest answers, speculation and suspicion will lessen.
If the city council does not ask the questions that need be answered, or not receive satisfactory answers to the issues, it is the right for citizens to appear before the city council and ask again for answers. This is what has been happening and it is part of democracy.
The alternative to citizens not asking the questions about negative findings, or not showing their displeasure at negative findings and non-transparency, is to return to the blissful days of ignorance, when all was not well in City Government, but everyone felt happy about themselves and their leaders. We have learned differently and if the reader of this editorial does not appreciate that fact, then more than ever it is necessary to defend the right of citizens to criticize, ask questions, and demand accountability. Others have the right to disagree with some of the criticism, and to offer arguments against such criticism, but certainly it is improper to expect that negative criticism cease. When the issues are resolved I would expect the criticism to stop. If ever there were more need for citizens to be discontented with its local government, it is now

16 thoughts on “All of this is no fun

  • July 31, 2014 at 9:24 am

    A valid question is can Ted every be satisfied? His extreme political positions on most issues is his right, but most of the general public doesn’t think along those same lines. I would say that 10 years from now, if he stays involved, he’ll still be railing against the city because the city operations will never get to where he thinks they should be. The voters spoke a few years back when he didn’t get elected. Maybe that spoke volumes.

  • July 31, 2014 at 11:01 am

    I enjoy living in Port Orange,
    This is a great city with great administrators. All ye who seem to be perfect are beating city people up. It is time to leave them alone, let them make their mistakes (I guess they are not perfect), correct them as they manage the city.

    • July 31, 2014 at 11:37 am

      To Mr. Onlooker 2. Are you too a secret supporter of Ted Noftall putting forth a silly argument to “leave the administrators alone”, but when they make mistakes “correct them”. Perhaps you mean to correct the mistakes without making the administrators accountable for the mistakes. Eliminating negative criticism can be done with an effective internal control system in place, where mistakes are found, corrected, education applied, and perhaps a simple warning to the administrator to not repeat the mistakes. The city does not yet have such an effective internal inspection and control system. If you feel it does, please tell me about it, and I will compare your idea of an effective internal inspection and control system in place, with recent revelations about mistakes still happening in city governmental operations.
      This blog is the place to put forth arguments that hold water. If the bloggers can apply themselves to suggesting positive criticism instead of condemning negative criticisms, perhaps a more reliable perspective on the operating system of city governmental affairs can be achieved.
      — hank springer

    • August 7, 2014 at 10:14 pm

      Hey Freida, how are the Jacksonville Jaguars doing? Any QLHA season tickets left?

  • July 31, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Dear Mr. Onlooker,
    I don’t think anyone can answer the question “can Ted ever be satisfied?”
    When the future comes I would have to survey the conditions at city hall and then compare them to any criticisms Ted might have in the future. Right now, in my opinion, the situations now after many revelation of millions of dollars lost or not collected by the city calls for someone to be asking the city council to do its job and get the mistakes fixed, and put in effective internal controls to prevent them from happing again, or at least if they do happen again the first to know about and to react will be a city manager, and not Ted Noftall. I do not think Ted’s political positions are extreme. I think the revelations that have come to the public’s attention are extremely distressing and important.
    I would prefer that everyone, including Ted tone down the rhetoric, because such rhetoric takes away from the issues we should be discussing.
    If Mr. Onlooker, you are satisfied with how things are going in Port Orange city operations, and satisfied that the city council is doing enough to protect the interests of its constituents, please say so, and perhaps expand on what you think is good and acceptable at this time from both city government and the city council.
    I had been in doubt as to where most of the public stands on these issues. Since you are in a position to speak for them, thank you for your enlightenment.
    Your bringing to our attention that Noftall was not voted into the city council in the last city election, and your insinuation, is a cheap shot. Three good men ran for reelection, and only one could get the seat. The two that lost are not per se “bad citizens” as the mayor feels free to label, and I would hope that you too would not think that way.
    Thank you Mr. Onlooker for letting us see how some people consider this whole mess. Can I assume you mean everything is ok in the city of Port Orange, or should I assume that Ted Noftall is responsible for all the bad things happening in Port Orange? Let me know where you can agree with me. I know where you disagree, and I for one am not impressed.
    Please don’t take this as a personal attack, but I really mean it when I write, that your attitude about Ted’s complaints about city hall and governmental administration is part of the problem that has been existing in this city, for at least a decade or more.
    But thank you for being honest and opened with us. We can learn from such disclosures such as yours.
     Hank springer

    • July 31, 2014 at 11:26 am

      Mr. Onlooker, let me add that I think you are secretly a Ted Noftall supporter and put forth lame arguments in an attempt to silence criticism from Ted Noftall. Your rationale effectively shows us why more than ever we need some one like Ted in the discussion about city governmental and city hall affairs.

      • July 31, 2014 at 12:08 pm

        To clarify, my goal is not to impress you, only to live a good life and address all situations fair and rationale. And my comment about Ted not being voted into office wasn’t a cheap shot at him, only a fact that I was pointing out. Using facts should be the goal of you, this site and everyone else, right?
        I don’t think everything is perfect in Port Orange, but I don’t expect perfection. Some of the things that have been blown up were not “losses of money”, and correct me if I’m wrong, but only spending money prior to council authorization. The $400,000 plus purchase of water meters are still in inventory I believe. So the argument is not about losing $400,000, which is what a lot of people think, it’s about the pre purchase of the meters without council approval. Yes, in a perfect world, the council should have authorized them before the purchase, but it’s not something that can’t be fixed and we didn’t lose any significant money that I can see.
        Also, while I’m not a seceret supporter of Ted, even though you may think so, I do respect his preparation and knowledge. However, such a smart guy would be so helpful in solving the issues if he just curbed the criticism and brought positive fixes to the table. Criticizing a Mother (Shannon Lewis) for not wanting to take on added responsibility at the city was unneeded. At the end of the day, her ultimate responsibility is at home with her family, which may have been the reason she didn’t feel like she wanted to take on the extra responsibility. A very respectful reason for not taking the interim managers position.

        • August 1, 2014 at 5:46 pm

          To Onlooker from hank Springer:
          I appreciate your thoughts and agree with some of them and on others I feel the need for clarification:
          1. Making use of facts is valid when they are relevant to an issue and can prove a point about an issue. The fact that Ted lost in an election does not prove that Ted is wrong in his criticism of Port Orange governmental operations, or the allegation that Ted sometimes is demeaning in his opinions. There are probably other facts to prove your point, if that is your point, and you would do better to use them if you can, instead of pointing out that Ted did not win an election.
          2. I do not mean that I would like to be impressed by you, but I would like to be impressed with your logic to support your opinions.
          3. In those issues where money was not actually lost, it is a fact that adequate internal control did not catch them when they were happening and before they were repeated. In other issues where money were actually lost it is a fact that adequate internal control did not catch the losses as they were happening and in some cases repeated many times over a period of time.
          4. I also hope Ted will tone down the criticism, especially when they become personal, unless a personality deficiency is detrimental to carrying out the functions of a supervisor. Shannon at first did not give any reasons for not taking the job. Shannon did say, contrary to what Greg Kisela is quoted as having said, that she was not declining the job because of Ted Noftall. Recently in a news journal article Shannon has said that she declined the job because of personal reasons. Personal reasons can be for family reasons, but can be for a whole host of other reasons. In any case, I did not think Ted was criticizing Shannon for being a mother and wanting to take care of her family, and the first I hear of this being one of her reasons for declining the job is from you. Can you tell me where you got that information? Ted criticized her for not taking the job, period.
          Thank you for the dialogue – hank springer

  • July 31, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    I enjoy living in Port Orange too.
    This is a great city – with seemingly not so great administrators. These people make six figure salaries and some are and/or were in all probability responsible for wasting and losing millions of dollars that came out of our pockets. This we know to be true. When you take a job as an administrator or manager you assume certain responsibilities, meaning you are responsible for everything that happens under your watch. If they were open, honest, transparent and diligent in there duties and had established monitoring and controls most of these revelations that we have seen lately would not have happened or could be satisfactorily explained. Donna Steinbach set a good example at the last council meeting. She explained the oversight and owned up to it. We need more of that. We have had a computer module for a few years at finance to track contract expenses but it was not implemented. What great administrator let that happen? Where was the due diligence? No one is perfect but when you have tools at your disposal, you recognize the potential for a problem and yet don’t use your tools and your making a six figure salary, should you not be held accountable or at least give a plausible explanation without obfuscation. These may seem like small mistakes or errors in judgment to some folks but they start adding up and effect us as citizens financially. It’s not about beating up city people it’s about getting what we pay for.

  • July 31, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    I was looking at the glass as half full, but now it’s rather empty.
    All this turmoil does not bode well to lure qualified and talented new administrators.
    Who would want to jump into this current cesspool ? Only managers or administrators who currently are not employed or have baggage.

  • July 31, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Isn’t that what we got last time?

  • August 1, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Did anyone sit down with Shannon and ask her why she did not want the job “off the record”? Of course not. Ted does not operate that way. He is all about getting the Publicity! By sending her his “You are costing the tax payers more money” email he made his views public, by the way if he would have approached her as a human being and not an employee that he hates he might have gotten some information that answered your questions. The best way to get straight answers sometimes is to sit down and really CARE about people.
    The best part of this is that the city is going to pay money either way… Also where is Teds Application for CM? If he can run the city better then step up and put yourself out there!

    • August 2, 2014 at 5:35 pm

      Ted is at a point now where even some of his supporters are second guessing themselves. He has done a whirlwind in finance reform and digging through years of an ill run system.
      His delivery of findings is an issue. It will be interesting to see how the new regime deals with him. The Mayor just allows him to speak as required then dismisses him.

    • August 2, 2014 at 6:22 pm

      to not surprised:
      During the council meeting when Shannon insisted that she would only serve as a temporary city manager until an interim manager was appointed, the mayor took her from the public meeting into a back room to speak to her, out of hearing from other city council members and the public. The mayor just does understand what suspicions and speculations such a non public discourse, at a public meeting arise from his emperor like actions. Or perhaps the mayor just does not give a damn what we think of him.
      Shannon as said she does not want the job for personal reasons, and that those reasons have nothing to do with Ted Noftall.
      I saw nothing that indicated Ted hates Shannon, and was always all for her getting the job, because Ted thought she would provide good attributes as an interim city manager. After she declined, he criticized her for not stepping up to the plate. You may have reasons for knowing whom Ted hates, but in the case of hating Shannon Lewis, I do not have the same information you may have. Enlighten us more please.


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