Greater Transparency Needed in Port Orange Chamber of Commerce Proceedings

secretMeetings
Ray Donadio
President
PO/SD  Chamber of Commerce
C/O  Debbie  Connors
Executive Director
PO/SD  Chamber of Commerce
President Donadio,
Thank you for your correspondence of  August 21st 2014   Including providing a copy of the BY-LAWS and confirming  that no additional rules have been adopted by either the Board of Directors or the Executive Committee of the BOD.
After reading those  BY-LAWS I am not understanding where you have been granted the authority to prohibit Chamber members from attending BOD  and EC BOD meetings.  Nor am I understanding  your authority to withhold the minutes of those meetings upon request from a Chamber member.    The BY-LAWS  are silent on these matters.
Your continued secrecy  regarding the activities of the  BOD  and the EC BOD  in light of what I consider to be  overt  support by Chamber executives favoring of one political faction or candidate over another in the highly charged atmosphere that is Port Orange politics  is unacceptable to myself as a dues paying member of the Chamber,  And as  a  tax paying resident of Port Orange whose tax dollars and concessions help support  Chamber operations.
Unless this secrecy is reconsidered I  intend to challenge same in the following venues.
On the Chamber floor
At  the Annual Membership Meeting when presumably members are  afforded  the opportunity to voice their concerns.
In Council Chambers
Where I will contend that  while “public records ” laws do not generally apply to Florida Corporations,  exceptions are made depending on the level of financial involvement public entities  have with those corporations.    In this instance I believe the  Chamber is in receipt of sufficient taxpayer monies and concessions from the City of Port Orange    such that any  tax payer including those who are also dues paying Chamber members have every right to understand the extent to which  Chamber executives are  engaged in the support  one political faction or candidate.
The only way that can be accomplished  is by opening BOD and EC BOD meetings,  and providing copies of minutes taken at those meetings upon request.
I am very concerned with  rumors I have been hearing to the effect that Chamber executives have among other things been encouraging some but not all Chamber members to attend  Council meetings and show that support  for the Mayor and former Manager,   AND have been overheard pressing Council members to support the removal of a  member  from the Audit & Budget Advisory Board under threat of retaliation from the Chamber in subsequent elections.
Such overt political activities if found to be accurate as I have outlined them should no longer find a comfortable home in a taxpayer funded  Chamber.
Regards,
Ted Noftall
 
J&M  Moving & Storage
700 Oak Heights Court
Port Orange,  FL  32127
(386) 761-6181 Ph
(386) 322-0808 Fax
www.jandmmoving.com
 



From: Ted Noftall [mailto:Ted@americanforwarding.us]
Sent: Monday, August 04, 2014 12:38 PM
To: Debby Connors (dconnors@pschamber.com); Debby Connors (dconnors@pschamber.com)
Subject: Greater Transparency Needed in Port Orange Chamber of Commerce Proceedings
 
Ray Donadio
President
PO/SD  Chamber of Commerce
C/O  Debbie  Connors
Executive Director
PO/SD  Chamber of Commerce
President Donadio,
In response to your letter of July  23rd   let me first and foremost  apologize for  scaring you as I did  with my “parting threat ” .  Never for a moment did I realize that  my  comment to the effect that “ we are going to have fun with your lack of transparency “  would have the effect it did on your sensitive side.
None the less we are going to address this matter, all be it in  writing as you have  requested.
In that regard would you please provide me with;

  • *-  A copy of the Chamber’s By-Laws and any rules adopted pursuant there to for both the BOD  and the Executive Committee  of the BOD.
  • *-  A copy of the BOD  minutes  and the Executive Committee  minutes for all meetings held   for the past 12 months.

If there is a charge for providing these materials please advise as to the estimated cost.
 
Regards
Ted Noftall
 
J&M  Moving & Storage
700 Oak Heights Court
Port Orange,  FL  32127
(386) 761-6181 Ph



From: Ted Noftall [mailto:Ted@americanforwarding.us]
Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2014 11:47 AM
To: Debby Connors (dconnors@pschamber.com)
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: Greater Transparency Needed in Port Orange Chamber of Commerce Proceedings
 
Ray Donadio
President
PO/SD  Chamber of Commerce
I believe in the open governance of any organization that takes money from its members or the general public.
The Chamber is such an organization and yet it is not being run in a transparent fashion in that you advised me this morning  that meetings of the Board of Directors and of the Executive committee of the BOD are not open to Chamber members.
When asked,   you refused to even advise if minutes are kept of the  meetings of  either the executive committee or the BOD   and whether those minutes if kept  are available to chamber members.   You further refused to advise if any of this is sanctioned in the in the Articles or Bylaws of the Chamber.  Indeed the only thing you said and you said it  repeatedly was that you would ‘respond to me’
This is of importance because of recent one sided  Chamber  decisions  to both strongly support sharing the tax increment derived in the Town Center CRA  with one developer only without apparent care or concern for  other developers in that CRA,   AND  to strongly defend  a Manager whose  solution to solving undeniable problems was to deny their existence and silence any criticism,    again without apparent care or concern with  the efficient administration of taxpayer dollars.
The justifiable concern is whether the Chamber is  beholden to certain interests, and if so what  those interests are.
Chamber members such as myself deserve an understanding as to the considerations  that are being factored into these decisions and others that  are being made on our behalf.
The last thing  any Chamber needs,  and in particular this Chamber – taking large public monies as it does, is an internal struggle amongst members dissatisfied with decisions being made in proceedings where general members are denied access as was my experience when I attempted to sit in and observe your 8am Executive Committee meeting this morning.
I  would urge  you to shed this veil of secrecy and provide for transparency  and discussion of all Chamber proceedings.
Ted Noftall
J&M  Moving & Storage
700 Oak Heights Court
Port Orange,  FL  32127
(386) 761-6181 Ph



From: Ted Noftall [mailto:Ted@americanforwarding.us]
Sent: Sunday, July 13, 2014 7:19 PM
To: Debby Connors (dconnors@pschamber.com)
Subject: Chamber Meetings
Good evening Debbie and Ray,  ( assuming you will forward it Debbie as I do not have Ray’s e-mail )
After reading the  attached letter I fear my recent conversation with Debbie has been somewhat mischaracterized.  I apologize if I was unclear.
My purpose at this juncture is not to “request that the Chamber take action on a matter “ but rather to  understand how the Chamber governs itself.  I have two questions
1)  Are meetings of the Board of Directors and meetings of the executive committee of the Board of Directors open to Chamber members ?
2)  If they are open to Chamber members do  the agenda’s for those meetings include a provision for Chamber member comments ?
 Beyond that information request  Debbie and I had a far reaching discussion and for clarity I will recount much of it in this e-mail.
I  have a growing  concern regarding what I have  always seen as to cozy a relationship between the Chamber and the City of Port Orange, and  that in recent weeks seems to have  mushroomed into a full court press in support of the City Manager and his senior staff.   I do not care to see  one thin dime of my annual dues spent for that purpose.
 J&M Moving  is a member in good standing of the Chamber and it expects  the Chamber’s core missions to be  one of  strong advocacy  with local government on behalf of its  members  on a wide range of matters that affect local business including    licenses and fees,  permitting and inspections,  zoning  and keeping one  of my largest annual expenses down  – property taxes.
If the Chamber is doing any of this  I must not be aware of that activity, and I attend most Council meetings.   What I am aware of are permitting and inspection procedures and the problems they create  that are little changed from when Debby and I met with the Manager and his staff  a ½ dozen years ago to review and discuss same.  The latest rendition being recounted by a SE Regional phone store manager bemoaning the difficulty his firm had with a build out in a mall in Port Orange.  Something to the effect that his firm opens 100 such stores a year and he never  experienced the difficulty and delays  he did  in Port Orange.
These are the kinds of problems businesses experience and that the Chamber needs to be weighing in  on.
Speaking of weighing in  I am disappointed that  the Chamber’s support to return a portion of the tax increment to the Riverwalk developer was limited to just that project .  If the Chamber believes as do I that sharing the tax increment with those who  create it is  good economics then it should be advocating on behalf of all  CRA developers  and not just one developer  no matter how pretty his pictures nor how  close his ties with the City.
It is for reasons such as these that I have decided to better understand the Chamber’s  decisions reaching process.
Regards
Ted Noftall
 
J&M  Moving & Storage
700 Oak Heights Court
Port Orange,  FL  32127
(386) 761-6181 Ph



 

9 thoughts on “Greater Transparency Needed in Port Orange Chamber of Commerce Proceedings

  • August 25, 2014 at 8:55 pm
    Permalink

    Ted,
    I think it is time for the chamber to give you your money back.

    Reply
  • August 25, 2014 at 9:21 pm
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    Ted, I know that you see how insidious this is. It takes extreme tenacity to root it out or at least hem it in. One thing you have to understand is that sometimes there are people that are on the inside that are in many ways like minded to you and are trying to make a difference. Sometimes they become collateral damage in your quest to uncover and change this mess. Many of your FOI’s have lead to revelations of malfeasance and misfeasance either intentionally or inadvertently perpetrated on the citizens of Port Orange. Unfortunately the new tactic by the vicars of obfuscation is to take many of your FOI’s and task blacklisted employees who silently support open and transparent governance with the work of delivering the information requests and taking them away from their primary responsibilities. This is a strategic tactic of individuals within the organization that support the mayor’s regime. They pass the buck to others in the organization and sit back and try to turn you into a pariah. I would ask that whatever you do, you do it with wisdom and precision and avoid collateral damage from employees that support open and transparent governance. Use precision and discrimination and realize that there are individuals that have very precise knowledge that you do not want to become collateral damage. Keep on with your tenacity but do not be a bull in a china closet.

    Reply
    • August 26, 2014 at 5:02 pm
      Permalink

      Tony, for goodness sake, this is not the Nixon Whitehouse and the Watergate scandal rolled into one. You make this sound far more complicated and devious than it is. There is no conspiracy, there are no communists hiding under the bed. Ted has done a good job insisting on accountability and transparency. He will criticize all council members for not doing their jobs, as he did for me when I served. Most of it well deserved. If the new council has 3 union votes up there, Ted will monitor that also. Do not think Ted will back off or give the new council a break because there are new faces up there serving. Ted will equally criticize if he feels it necessary. That is the way it should be. You have to respect that.
      Bob Pohlmann

      Reply
      • August 26, 2014 at 7:45 pm
        Permalink

        Hey, that’s pretty funny. Does that turn you on? Man up, if you are a man.
        Bob Pohlmann

        Reply
        • August 26, 2014 at 9:10 pm
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          Wow Bob, Trickster must have really got your goat! Your getting pretty macho there lately. What has come over you these days?

          Reply
    • August 26, 2014 at 6:00 pm
      Permalink

      Tony your essay was very intelligent and perhaps skillful.
      You wrote: “ Unfortunately the new tactic by the vicars of obfuscation is to take many of your FOI’s and task blacklisted employees who silently support open and transparent governance with the work of delivering the information requests and taking them away from their primary responsibilities”
      Such deviousness is that of city hall administrative staff.
      But then Tony you write: “Use precision and discrimination and realize that there are individuals that have very precise knowledge that you do not want to become collateral damage. Keep on with your tenacity but do not be a bull in a china closet.”
      Tony in truth I do not know how I should consider that previous sentence which I draw your attention to.
      I sense that I am hearing again that someone other than city hall administrators is responsible for low morale of city workers. I heard something similar from Mayor Green when I discussed with him last year why he did not want to tell others on the city council the legal deal Parker was hatching with the city attorney and Shelley. Green said to me that he did not want to ignite the issue by telling city council members, and have city workers leave city work en mass. Green told me such at a time when city workers were getting fed up with things, but Green and I were discussing an issue when only Parker and Shelley’s deal might have been known by city workers. The timeline of blaming that secret financial deal does not jive with the morale of city workers. In addition, the city workers would eventually have known about a financial deal that was not available to them but was for Shelley. So I conclude that something other than the moral of city workers was at play in Mayor
      Green’s decision not to inform city council members about the Parker/Shelly financial deal.
      And so, Tony, when you ask that Ted stop collateral damage to city workers, I need to know exactly what specifics you are talking about. I must insist that city administration is responsible for the morale of city workers or any insidious way to use FOI requests against black listed city workers by the administration.
      Tony, allay my fears, but perhaps you are very skillful in what you wrote. A general complaint that Ted is hurting city workers does not hold merit with me. I would need specifics. What city administrators have done in mistakes and not getting true reform in place hurts city workers. Any use of Ted’s tactics to harm city workers is done by city administration. From what I read in your opinion, if Ted persists in being a bull in a china shop, you need to bring your complaints to the city administration.
      Tony if you are a Ted supporter I do not want to turn you off. Ted should get the support he deserves, but I want to clarify your position. It is very skillful to point out that there can be collateral damage in exposing mistakes by city hall administrators, but I am not sure that collateral damage you are speaking about should be blamed on Ted.
      Please explain further your opinion. Thanks – hank springer

      Reply
        • August 27, 2014 at 9:10 pm
          Permalink

          Greetings Mr. Springer, and kudos for your objectivity and honest and transparent activism. Hopefully there was not any negative misunderstandings in my communication. I am for the most part a supporter and admirer of Mr. Noftall and his tireless activism for open and transparent governance.
          I know that it is impossible to express an introspective and balanced perspective with only three minutes before the Dias and all the protagonistic forces being levied by the mayor at council meetings. This severely limits Ted Noftall’s opportunity to display his critical thinking ability and the full dimension of his position and agendas.
          Mrs. Gardner’s recent attempt to convey Ted’s other dimensions and Ted’s most recent support and defense of a scapegoated middle management employee demonstrates that Ted is not the demon and enemy of employee stakeholders that Allen Green and his self entitled remaining management team would like everyone to swallow.
          With the implosion of Green and Kisela’s FCCMA special interest oriented management team there is a void in the organization with everything in limbo. There is great potential in the political stratosphere to tip the scale to open and transparent governance and for this to trickle down to the management and organizational culture.
          In anticipation of the potentiality for real reform and positive changes to occur systemically there have been certain individuals courageous enough to step up on an interim basis to be in place for honest and open politicians to establish a professional organizational management team that is not stultified by special interest political interference from the Dias.
          Conversely, there is also a group of obsequious self entitled enablers and coconspirators that are hoping that the mayor will gain control of city management and reestablish an FCCMA special interest management team that they can serve with their perfunctory abilities and undying loyalty to obfuscation and self entitlement. These are like pilot fish that symbiotically attach themselves to the FCCMA upper management and special interest and feed on the scraps of their kill.
          Ted said it all when he replied: Tony Clifton it has never been my intention to expose other than complacent elected officials and the administration they tolerate. If my efforts have caused collateral damage below the rank of department head that was not intended.
          Keep in mind that much of what I detail is as a result of looking through a keyhole from around a corner. If you or anyone else has information of a precise nature that needs to be used judiciously lest a mid level employee be harmed please feel free to share it knowing I have yet to betray a confidence – ever.
          What I was trying to convey is that we are in a critical state of limbo within the organization that microcosmically mirrors the political stratosphere and needs to be negotiated with wisdom and trepidation. It would be beneficial if their was more trust and linkage between those within the organization and with people like yourself, Ted Noftall, the Gardners, Bob Ford, Drew Bastian and others that could help connect the dots and make your information request more effective and propitious.If you had a birds eye view and did not have to look at things through a key hole your efforts would be more effective and expeditious.
          Hopefully you have a good idea who within the organization is on the side o0f Port Orange citizens and open & transparent governance and your efforts will surgically avoid them becoming collateral damage. If a holistic victory is in the cards you want to have the workforce infrastructure in place that can establish character, integrity, competency, transparency, and continuity of open governance. It is imperative that the trusted communication linkage can be established between true organizational stakeholders and yourselves that will convey the birds eye view that is necessary to connect the dots for you.
          I sincerely hope that I have clarified myself satisfactorily and will surely elucidate on this and answer any further questions you may have.
          One question for you is what ever happened to that meeting and interview that you were supposed to have with Allen Green that he canceled at the last minute? I thought that was very important because there were a slew of unanswered questions that you had compiled for him from his constituency about all this unresolved mess. We are hoping that you will press this interview and let us know if the mayor is going to have the integrity to participate in this open and transparent forum without the control he exhibits at the Dias with his three minute timer and shutting anyone down that disagrees with him. Looking forward to further communication with you!

          Reply
  • August 26, 2014 at 9:05 am
    Permalink

    Tony Clifton it has never been my intention to expose other than complacent elected officials and the administration they tolerate. If my efforts have caused collateral damage below the rank of department head that was not intended.
    Keep in mind that much of what I detail is as a result of looking through a keyhole from around a corner. If you or anyone else has information of a precise nature that needs to be used judiciously lest a mid level employee be harmed please feel free to share it knowing I have yet to betray a confidence – ever.

    Reply

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