Dear Greg,

,
adviceDear Greg,
Are you perhaps confused over the difference between “rights” and “powers?”   Rights, of course, being the possessions of individuals and powers being granted to governments by those individuals, not vice versa.  The fact that you want to see what is on Ted’s personal computers and cell phones gives you neither right to that information nor any power to compel Ted to give you that information.  If you disagree, get a judge to back you up.
The Sunshine Law and the Freedom of Information Act are designed to protect the individual’s right of access to open and transparent government.  It is laughable to think that government has any similar right of access to individuals.  Just as government has no rights, it has no money or possessions of its own—your $150,000.00+ salary and the cell phone and computer provided you by the City of Port Orange came from the taxpayers and they should have access to them.  Ted is a volunteer board member and has no taxpayer supplied electronic devices.  If you think that Ted has used his personal electronic devices to somehow thwart the Public Records laws (to what end is something only you can imagine) I have a suggestion for you.  Jump up and down, scream, tear at your hair, punch walls and get a judge to subpoena them.  Otherwise, learn to live with the fact that this is still America.
OOPS—I apologize for getting carried away, Greg.  This parting shot from you at Ted is really not worth the effort.  What it all boils down to in the end is that there is nothing opaque at all about Ted Noftall and you don’t need a Public Records request to find out what he is doing or thinking.  Simply use your eyes and ears.
I happen to like Ted and agree with much of what he says but I still cringe occasionally at how he says things.  So what!  I learned long ago that guys like Ted are great watchdogs.  Just observe who tries to shut them up—that’s where the real danger lies.
Best,
Mike Gardner
618 Ruth St
Port Orange, FL  32127
386-527-1959
manddgardner@cfl.rr.com
PS  Dianne and I like to visit the Panhandle every now and then.  We’ll try to catch a Destin City Council meeting if the opportunity presents itself.
 

7 thoughts on “Dear Greg,

  • August 2, 2014 at 6:42 pm
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    Mike, I think Greg asked for the city attorney to pursue what he thinks should be pursued. Right now she may have enough problems on her hands to get involved with this issue. I think the city council should not get involved with any subpoenaing of legal documents relative to the issue Greg brought up, but instead ask her to give the city council her legal opinion where Ted stands as voicing his opinions as a citizen. After such a legal decision is given, I think the city council should ask Ted if he is willing to comply with her opinion of his right or not to communicate as a citizen vs. a board member. If the attorney’s legal decision is that Ted has to make public any communication he makes about citizen board issues, and Ted takes that a position that he does not have to comply with such a decision then I think the city council should take up the issue of relieving Ted from his duties as a citizen board member.
    I would like to see the city if possible stay away from court proceedings in matters of public opinion, even if they come from a board member or a city council member. We have a lot of other issues to contend with, and lawyers have a way of attracting national headlines, which I do not think is helpful for getting reforms put in place.
    However, that being said, (lol) let me turn our attention to what may deserve legal intervention. The dirt and the money which has been lost and unaccounted for from city property, may need to have some kind of criminal investigation, depending on what information the city can come out with, or even the private companies involved.
    We had an instance where vacation time was used, not recorded, and then financial reimbursement was requested from city employees for their alleged vacation time not used. I think that was all criminal, and the city council decided not to go with criminal charges. Ken Parker had stated that he did not authorized such a vacation time procedure. I do not think in the ugly climate which has been produced in the city of Port Orange that future criminal suspicions or findings should not avoid criminal investigation or prosecution.
    The missing dirt and money not paid for dirt hauled out of city property may or may not turn out to involve criminal acts. If proper paper work cannot be produced to assure everyone that nothing was stolen by anyone then I would suspect we could all rest easier. But if the paper work cannot be produced, the suspicion of something might have been stolen would probably be proper.

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  • August 3, 2014 at 1:53 pm
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    Hank–
    I just sent the following to Greg Kisela and Shannon Lewis. Will keep you and everyone else posted as I get a chance to look further. I appreciate ALL your comments.
    Mike
    Dear Greg and Shannon,
    Thank you both for the documents you provided us from Quentin L Hampton this past Friday. Thanks especially to Greg since I know you were within hours of completing your tenure at the City of Port Orange and were no doubt anxious to get on with the move to Destin.
    The information you supplied goes a long way towards answering some of the questions we had regarding the Halifax Paving contract for the reclaim lakes project. Even though I’ve only been able to give them a cursory examination so far, it seems clear that Halifax made regular monthly payments to the City on its $1,050,000.00 obligation to buy fill dirt, and that accurate records of quantities hauled were maintained by QLH. This is good news to some of us who questioned whether that debt still existed or had been paid.
    Beyond the initial dirt hauling phase of the contract a lot of questions remain and the documents we received from you actually raise new questions in addition to those we had originally. Rather than submit a new series of Freedom of Information requests is it possible for us (Dianne and me) to simply come in and look through the existing “job file?” Since the contract is ongoing I assume there is a central location where records are kept and it would probably save the City some time and aggravation if we looked through them. We would be happy to travel to wherever QLH, the City, or Halifax keeps their records.
    Please talk it over with Robin or whoever might know if this is possible and let us know your thinking. Thanks again for your assistance.
    Best,
    Mike Gardner
    618 Ruth St
    Port Orange, FL 32127
    386-527-1959
    manddgardner@cfl.rr.com

    Reply
  • August 3, 2014 at 5:58 pm
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    Mike I think that is good news about Halifax Paving. And thank you for going all the way on researching this issue. You, Dianne, Ted, Mark and Newton are tops in my book for probing these issues which some of us have been concerned about.

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    • August 4, 2014 at 11:41 am
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      Mike and Diane you have done a a great job in delving into this. Please keep going until ALL PERTINENT INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE and all questions answered to your satisfaction. I have total faith in both of you. Then perhaps we can put this situation to rest.

      Reply
  • August 4, 2014 at 10:14 am
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    Can the city finance department produce records showing receipt of payments and the total paid per each version of the contracts?
    I don’t know if anyone has noticed but what is the status with the water meters? Has an analysis been done to show revenue increases? We need a breakdown of individual metered accounts where meters were replaced showing what type of meter was replaced and what type of meter it was replaced with, including replacement dates. It needs to show average monthly flows with the old meter vs. the new meter including the actual increase in revenue. We need a total on revenue increases since the replacement program began including total costs to date. The meter division or finance should have this information. We also need to revisit the problem with improperly installed large meters. Isn’t there a utilities rate increase in the works?

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  • August 4, 2014 at 6:16 pm
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    R. Woodman–
    Thanks for the questions–we got copies of checks from Halifax made out to the City of Port Orange. Everything appears legit for the first part (dirt-hauling only) of the contract. After that, things get really sloppy as far as the records we have so far. I’m going through everything and making up a list of more questions.
    Thanks also for the reminder on the meters–may be time for Bob Ford to ask again for an update. I’m really curious what’s going on with the large meters since the Danus contract was taken of the agenda a while ago. I carry my camera and take pictures of large meters when I can. The one below was taken a Coraci Sports Park when I was out there seeing how much water ponded after a heavy rain (seem to remember that Halifax delivered dirt out there that had a lot of roots in it). Lots of ponding!
    Mike

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  • August 4, 2014 at 7:43 pm
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    This one is really bad.

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