Was The Last Council Meeting A Disaster

April 26, 2015
Whether you agree or disagree with the taxpayer-funded renovations of the Cypress Golf Course, you had to have been dismayed at last Tuesday’s performance by the Port Orange City Council.  For a group of guys who all claim to have our best interests at heart, they sure got free with the old taxpayer credit card.
Susan Lovallo, Parks and Recreation Director, presented the councilmen with three choices.  One that included only items Council had previously approved and was within budget.  Another that added some extra items and was approximately $34,000.00 over budget.  And a third that contained never before discussed amenities that raised the amount to approximately $67,000.00 over budget.
Not surprisingly, long-time champions of course repairs Bob Ford and Alan Green favored spending the extra $34,000.00.  What was surprising, however, was the enthusiasm displayed by Scott Stiltner, Drew Bastian and Don Burnette for spending even more money on the most expensive option.  They practically fell over each other seeing who could say “do it right” the most often.
It was only after a golfer and resident of Cypress Head pointed out the deficiencies of the most expensive plan that the three spendthrifts realized they didn’t even know what “do it right” meant.  The unthinking knee-jerk response, as always, was to spend more thinking it’ll get us “better” so they almost spent money on a plan no one even knew existed before that night.  It seems that if an architect, engineer, or some member of staff somehow associated with the City in some capacity recommends spending money the Council feels obligated to do it.  Council jumps when staff recommends–who is the real boss here?
This coming Tuesday I expect we’ll get to watch the process from a different angle.  Staff will recommend not doing anything about the berm deleted from the Dunlawton Drainage Project and Council, afraid of appearing lazy or incompetent, will accept their recommendation.  Never mind that the staff and engineers making the recommendation are justifying their earlier mistakes by doing so.  Oh well, it’s important to keep moving ahead–there’s more money to spend tomorrow and someone needs to put a plan together between now and then.
Mike Gardner
618 Ruth St
Port Orange, FL  32127

One thought on “Was The Last Council Meeting A Disaster

  • May 3, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Well said and very instructive as usual Mike.
    The larger observation here, beyond the amusement of watching a golfer from the audience demonstrate just how ill informed Stiltner, Bastian and Burnette were on this additional wasteful expenditure, is that the flawed ICMA Strong Manager form of government encourages the Manager and his staff to treat Council as ribbon cutters.
    Those ribbon cutters play their role of dutifully accepting gibberish analysis and incomplete presentations from the manager and his staff with only one apparent demand and that is the ability to deliver one line sound bite zingers from the dais on a regular basis, which staff in turn dutifully accepts in public and complains mightily about in private, AND the cycle repeats itself each fortnight month in and month out.
    The accompanying baggage of incompetent senior staff operating in a non-transparent consequence free environment where responsibility and accountability are as scarce as hens teeth as condoned in the ICMA mantra is exactly why Port Orange government is in the mess it is in.
    This was a rather simple expenditure of taxpayer funds that area golfers even considered wasteful and un-necessary and yet 3 councilmen were ready to waste away.
    That poses 2 questions
    1) What are councilmen who do not possess either the time or the ability to complete the necessary research to see through staffs gibberish on complex issue after complex issue to do ?
    2) What are residents who do not want to see their taxes raised in the next budget to do with those big spending councilmen ??
    Ted Noftall
    for responsible government – 2016


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