” I can think of no valid reason for the deception”

Ability and Character …. 

fishRotDear Mayor and Council,

Our fine City, like so many public and private organizations, is comprised of many levels of workers, supervisors and managers.  If an employee is competent and hard-working at one level he or she can reasonably expect to be promoted to the next level and the level after that and so on.  (Ain’t America grand!)  The big problem with this system, as Dr Laurence Peter pointed out back in 1969, is that people get promoted until they reach a job at which they are no longer competent–and there they stay.  The end result is a collection of employees, especially at the higher levels, who have reached their level of incompetence.

It should be emphasized that when someone is performing at their level of incompetence it is not a reflection of their character but rather of their ability.  They may very well be pleasant, industrious and well-intentioned individuals who for one reason or several are incompetent at their current job level.  The recent events in the Public Utilities and Finance Departments clearly indicate incompetence at multiple, perhaps systemic, levels and we need to find out how long it has been occurring and how wide-spread it has become.  Only after the extent of the problem is determined can some attempt at fixing it be tried, by modifying internal controls, retraining of employees, etc.

What is even more distressing than our City employee’s lack of ability to perform certain basic tasks is their lack of character in responding to the failures.  Members of the voting public are now asking who knew what and when was it known?  Why were the problems kept quiet for six weeks or more and a “business as usual” attitude adopted by management?  These are questions about character rather than ability; and, while simple incompetence, according to Dr Peter, is rarely a cause for dismissal, incompetence coupled with deceit certainly should be.  The public ultimately relies on the City Council to set the “tone at the top” and to determine the abilities and character required of City employees.

If the last City Council meeting is any indication of the current tone at the top, we now have a fish rotting from the head down.  It seems that all members of Council knew before that meeting that the City Manager had already hired an external investigator–one whose sole qualification for the job rests on his membership in the same insider organization that got the City Manager his job in the first place–and decided to conceal this fact from the public.  Numerous occasions arose during that three-hour long meeting to discuss the subject and not a peep was heard from anyone other than a passing reference by the Manager to having “commissioned that review.”

I can think of no valid reason for the deception.  It’s obvious that we’ve got a mess, that we can’t fix the mess we’ve got with the mess we’ve got, so we’re now looking to the man who got us the mess we’ve got in the first place to fix it?! Stop, please!  The voting public is not stupid and we expect better than this from our elected officials.  The more you as Council openly air these problems and struggles, the less anyone can use your silence against you.  It’s time to display some character under adversity, attack the problems openly and honestly, and quit relying on business as usual and the passage of time to gloss them over.


Mike Gardner
618 Ruth St
Port Orange, FL  32127


11 Opinions on “” I can think of no valid reason for the deception”

  1. It’s called the peter principle,

    Whereby you promote someone to their highest level of incompetence. That problem does exist in utilities and I’m sure in other areas as well. As a former Port Orange utilities employee I can think of several examples The city also hires incompetent management to positions where they do have competent people that should be promoted. In the examples of the peter principle that I know exist they were cases of incompetent upper managers promoting employees to jobs beyond their abilities because they were brown nosing buddies, to spite others or there was no one else that wanted the job. For the good competent employees it’s like torture coming to work each day knowing that you have to deal with these type of people that are in charge of you. I know from experience. It’s similar to the feeling that I and I’m sure other citizens get about our city management team.

    For the most part it is management that lacks character and the ability to perform basic tasks. Instead of coming out and taking responsibility from the beginning and informing council and public of problems and screw ups and then fixing them they proceed to cover them up and then cover up the cover up showing lack of professionalism, ethics and integrity. When you sign up to be a manager part of the job is responsibility. You are responsible for everything that goes on under your management including the screw-ups. It appears that our management is only interested in being responsible for the cover ups.

    I’m not sure that all of the council knew all of the details and implications of the so called external investigation/cover up. The way it was presented was very vague and probably as far as management goes it was intentional. It does stink to high heaven, like a dead skunk in the middle of the road. Didn’t we just go through this type of mess a couple of years ago? If you don’t learn from history you are bound to repeat it. Council needs to set aside some time and discuss this openly at a council meeting with citizen input and come to a consensus and deal with this. It has been allowed to go way to far. It has to STOP!!!

  2. Take a look at the City Manager’s EMail’s. NEVER AN EMAIL FROM HIS FINANCE DIRECTOR, WAYNE SAUNDERS, HIS PUBLIC UTILITIES DIRECTOR JASON YARBOROUGH OR HIS PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR MARY ANDERSON. Doesn’t it seem strange that in an organization as large as the City of Port Orange there are no cummunications from any of these department heads????? SUNSHINE LAW, SUNSHINE LAW, SUNSHINE LAW.

  3. Bless you Mr. Bastian for requesting a special meeting in the SUNSHINE with Mr. Kelton.to present the results of his internal investigation. Citizens are anxious to hear what he has to say. We certainly hope it won’t be another whitewash.

    • Do yourself a favor Port Orange and do not suffer the liability that Fort Lauderdale did. Eighty six Kisela and save your citizens a lot of future distess. Take my advice now or you will regret you did not later.

      • Reginald Clyne knows, Melissa Cowart knows, Coastal PBA/PEA knows, and before it is all over numerous local attorneys will know. Wake up council and mitigate the tax payer”s liability before it is too late. This FCCMA Rangerider is not going to be able to cover all for the Lifesaver and his MIT”s.

  4. I saw on the CM read file the I&I report for the sewer system. It’s a good looking well composed report.The $$ for repairing the system could potentially come from the proposed rate increases. Check it out. They still need to gather more information from what I see. I hope council doesn’t just accept only this on face value to justify higher rates. It’s a good start if you can trust the numbers. Sorry but I tend to be skeptical about anything coming from management. I know the people that work at utilities and I’d like to know who put together the information for the director and see the raw data and verify with them if the report is accurate. There was only about one and half maybe two people in utilities capable of gathering and putting together the raw data after I left there.

  5. I saw Mr. Bastians request. I researched the Range Riders and found that they absolutely DO NOT perform investigations. Is this the scam of scams or what? Their website even states they are NOT responsible for background checks on MIT’s they are helping to place. That explains how we ended up with Kisela and his checkered past. Here is a link to their website have a look for yourself. Is this investigation even legal? I am sure our Human Resources and Police Department could have carried this out themselves and the State Attorney is always at their disposal if needed.


  6. Nice informational post Senior. The link is as clear as day, they do not do background investigations and they are not consultants. This means the only possible reason Kisela would choose them to investigate internal control deficiencies, which is contrary to their stated expertise is so that he can once again perpetrate a whitewash and cover for himself and his MIT’s. Hopefully he is stopped by our elected officials and is not allowed to pull off a snow job on them and the constituency they are responsible. The council needs to wise up and vote this rodent down the road. What a pathetic turd of an MIT Lifesaver.

  7. In an Email to Mr. Kisela from Drew Bastian he requests a meeting with Mr. Kelton as soon as possible in reference to Mr. Kelton’s internal investigation. He also SPECIFICALLY requested a SPECIAL MEETING IN THE SUNSHINE for Kelton to present his findings.

    The MASTER WHITEWASHER replys to Drew the same day by saying “Drew please call me at your convenience wo I can provide and update.” That is no what Drew asked for…he asked for a special meeting.ANOTHER STALLING TACTIC by the CM. He knew very well he was going on vacation until the 15th of June . Instead of answering “I’ll be on vacation for two weeks and when I get back I’ll set up the special meeting you are requesting” Does he do that? NO. sTALLING , STALLING, STALLING FOR TIME HOPING THAT IN COUPLE OF WEEKS he can evade a special meeting or that it will be forgotten.

  8. Drew did good requesting that the meeting be held in public.

    He should have written Kisela back and said ” No thanks, I am done with your secret meetings …. set up the public meeting as I requested “

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