Port Orange leaders should applaud activism | News-Journal

newJournalPort Orange leaders should applaud activism ….
By Stuart and Margie Patchett
Published: Sunday, August 10, 2014 at 5:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 8, 2014 at 6:21 p.m.
With the recent events surrounding discrepancies and total incompetence by some of the staff at the city of Port Orange, we feel prompted to applaud and support the heroic actions of some of our citizens. As founding members of Volusia Tax Reform, our mandate has always been to encourage citizens to take an active part in the way their local government conducts itself, and furthermore, to question any conduct that appears to be harmful to the taxpayers. There is evidence to prove mismanagement and incompetence on behalf of the city, proved by recent early retirements and resignations. Certain officials, duly elected by we the people, should be ashamed of themselves for attacking the citizens for the city’s wrongdoing.
We have read in The News-Journal with dismay that some council members are calling for Ted Noftall’s removal from the Audit and Budget Advisory Committee.
For council members to point the finger at the messenger for incompetent management in our city is unacceptable and utterly shameful.
I have lived in my beloved Port Orange for 30 years and I recall at least two times when an employee has embezzled tens of thousands of dollars from the water and sewer department, and let’s not forget Family Days. Not to mention in recent years, the water-meter debacle which caused a loss of potentially millions in revenues to the city. Finally, the straw that broke the camel’s back — utility employees spent $400,000 on equipment that was not even approved in the budget. If employees in the private sector made a $400,000 mistake they would be fired, arrested or both.
These problems have been culminating over years and, in my opinion, are due to malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance. The lack of oversight by management and council in our city is astounding. This is what has caused these problems, not the citizens who found the problems.

For council members to marginalize the citizens who found these discrepancies is the most disturbing of all. The citizens are to be the checks and balances of our government. These citizens have volunteered untold hundreds and thousands of hours without pay. For those citizens to be threatened is appalling. We realize the government does not want citizen involvement so we do not find these types of problems. But it is our civic duty. Government is hoping we go away, and if we don’t, then they threaten those who speak out.

The citizens are supposed to attend meetings and get involved in our government. Ted Noftall is very passionate about his city and country. And yes, sometimes his passion can come across as abrasive. However, we know from personal experience that it is very frustrating in dealing with our government. Many of the citizens I have dealt with over the last eight years have become so frustrated and angered with our government they give up. But Ted has not given up, and many of these issues would not have come to light in the sunshine if it were not for his efforts. It is unfortunate our city has been so mismanaged over the years that these citizens have found these problems.

Now the City Council wants to marginalize these citizens and threaten them. It is despicable.

The City Council, which is the ultimate overseer of our government, should accept responsibility for the wrongdoing of our government that has cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. They should be working with our citizens, not against them.

As for the manager and department heads resigning, well, they should.

Perhaps it is time to clean up city government to where it is more responsible in its management of taxpayer dollars, and to re-instill the trust in our government.

Stuart Patchett is a founding member of Volusia Tax Reform, and Margie Patchett is executive director.

via Port Orange leaders should applaud activism | News-JournalOnline.com.

11 thoughts on “Port Orange leaders should applaud activism | News-Journal

  • August 10, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    You brought to our attention Port Orange Family Days. This organization is a separate non profit from the city made up of there own board of directors not associated with the city.
    I believe the city is continually replacing water meters so the city would have spent the additional $400,000 under a new POA.
    The water meters not working properly and the multiple billing rates I hope is fixed.
    Please get your information correct.

    • August 10, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      The water meter problems and the reclaimed water problems are far from being fixed….they’ve just been sidelined by what has been going on lately. Maybe Council and city mgt are hoping it won’t be brought up again or that it will be forgotten. The city is still not showing and increase in revenue in this area. Maybe Mr. Woodman would care to comment?

      • August 10, 2014 at 3:31 pm

        Get your facts straight about your beloved Port Orange, Margie. The activists didn’t “find” the overspent $400.000. The staff brought it forward. Family Days is a separate entity from the City of Port Orange. If you are so “involved” in your beloved City, you would know these facts. Even Big John would tell you so. Hey, let’s put big red signs in sexual offender’s yards… Oh yah.. that’s your “involvement”.

        • August 10, 2014 at 4:14 pm

          ah yes, Family Days. We are all family. Is family days only legally and formally separate from the city, chamber of commerce, and the river boat scheduled to be moored in Riverwalk Park. When the city was trying some way to have the county finance the Gamble Place the mayor said to the head of the then Family Days (known then as the Port Orange Community TRUST) he said to the president who later was indicted for shaking down the carnival owner, that maybe the Port Orange Community Trust ( now known as family days) could perhaps find a way to help with finances in the Gamble place. At the time Mayor Green was impressed with the activities of the then port orange community trust, the trust was raising money to build a pavilion in city center park, and this was accomplished. Presently I ask, whom is the banquet hall in the city center pavilion named after. Years ago when I was inside it, it was named after a certain A.B. Is it still named after him?

        • August 10, 2014 at 6:11 pm

          Well no wonder you blog as Anonymous …your are clueless and naive as well. Just read Hank’s blog it tells a story.He’s been around for a long time and knows all the dirty little secrets.
          PS. the city tried like hell to hide the $400,000 error but were forces to reveal it.
          PPS. Did you get a big red sign in your yard?

        • August 10, 2014 at 8:54 pm

          Do you have any extra season tickets to the Jaguar games?

        • August 11, 2014 at 12:36 pm

          The $411,000 was spent without proper authorization. Staff requested a change order to the purchase order with a vague explanation on the agenda form as though they were trying to slip it past council without it being noticed. It was a citizen that brought it to public attention. That is when the you know what hit the fan and people lost their jobs. One problem with the meter replacement was that the city was replacing bad meters with bad meters that had a high failure rate. Finally after all the wasted time and money they figured it out and are now replacing them with good meters. This was mostly residential meters. Now we have a large meter problem with improperly installed large meters The city has many improperly installed large meters that we are most likely losing revenue from. There have been photos posted on this sight that have been verified by the manufacturer as being improperly installed. We have still not seen an analysis showing revenue increases and costs with the meter replacement program. I have written a few times in the past about deficiencies in our reclaimed system to include the reclaimed lakes and augmentation ponds and I have gone into detail about things that need to be considered in the future improvement project at the reclaimed lakes. I hope someone paid attention to what I had to say because I’m not convinced that they have covered all the bases on that project. Who ever said get your information correct and get your facts straight just put a simplistic spin on what they consider to be true and left out any crucial details. Just slinging nasty comments with no details or facts. A pathetic attempt to shut people up. Sound familiar?

    • August 10, 2014 at 10:56 pm

      The president of Port Orange Family days now is John Evans, owner of the riveboat dinner boat which will be parked on LaCour’s property in Riverwalk. Robin Lasky is on the board of the Port Orange Family Days. Robin had either been on the board of the chamber of commerce or worked very hard for them when I use to take pictures for the chambesr. I liked Robin. She stuck up for me when the president of the Chamber of Commerce found fault with me. Robin was a bank executive I think. Vice President or something like that. Robin was also on the planning board for the city of Port Orange and I did not think that was good for taxpayers, but all the cities usually have a bank representative on a city board. Just like in the old days in the cowboy movies. Remember those influential people in a western town, the undertaker, the grocer, the banker, and a special interest group in acquiring land would control the mayor and the town sheriff? Remember those old western’s or are you too young to have seen all the dots connected in those movies?
      but back to Robin Lasky. She became the treasurer of the former Port Orange Historical Trust, along with the president of our local YMCA. Are all these city connections incestuous or something? Any way, credi goes to both Robin and the YMCA guy because they found money missing from the Port Orange Historical Trust bank accounts. The investigation led to P.A. and implicated A.B. Pete was found guilty and was placed on two years probation. I heard from someone working in one of our banks, that Robin had a lot of pressure to cover up the problem. Sort of like the old days that Jim Ward appreciated and he talked about it in a presentation he gave in our local library, praising a news journal reporter who would not report such bad deeds by city officials. At one of the city council meetings that I watched the city council was uncertain if Robin wanted to remain on the planning board, and I think it was just after the time when she turned P.A. in. Dennis Kennedy said that he thought Robin was not definite about not rejoining the planning commission but Dennis would speak to her. I do not know if she returned to the planning commission or not.
      I like Robin. I commend her for doing the right thing about P.A. and I would not doubt that she got the cold shoulder for doing so. Perhaps she is back in good standing with the elite crowd.
      Jill Geddy was the president of the chamber of commerce when I was in it and I took pictures for the chamber. The last I heard was that Jill had a job with Port Orange Family Days.
      We are all family indeed in Port Orange.

  • August 10, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Is the gamble place part of port orange family days? Was A.B. ever convicted?
    You guys sure know a lot!

    • August 10, 2014 at 10:36 pm

      No the gamble place was a volusia county project and then somehow the city of Port Orange got involved but then volusia would not pay its share, and city gave it back to volusia, or something like that. Interesting enough, some one who wanted to be anonymous came up with some money to maintain the place. The dots are missing for me, but the whole thing stunk.

      • August 10, 2014 at 10:37 pm

        gamble place has nothing to do with port orange family days. AB was not indicted, but PA was. Pete went downhill and attempted to be the star of “Breaking Bad” in Port Orange. I think he was arrested maybe 3 times in motels in dbs and po. making meth with a young female. Tragic.


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