Confusion, Ignorance or Deceit?

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FIRST A COMMENT FROM HANK:

Let me again attest to how wonderful it is that the citizens of Port Orange have Ted Noftall and Mike Gardner on their side looking out for their interests.  I have watched a campaign against Ted Noftall and others attempting to degrade their questions to simply a matter of negative criticism.  Ted once called a city employee a derogatory term, and ever since that time political correctness as showed its grain in city hall supporters with implications that every time Ted makes a statement it should be  construed as rude, negative, disrespectful and all induendos  a governmental agency can be expected to level at a “dissenter”.  Not so,says hank, and I for one am getting very tired of the attacks upon Ted Noftall as an interested citizen activist. The evidence of what city hall really thinks about citizens’ oversight was shown when the city council could have simply relieved Ted Noftall of his chariman ship seat on the citizen advisory budget board, but instead disbanded the entire citizen board.  Does that tell you anything about the understanding of “accountability” by our city council members?



RE: Confusion, Ignorance or Deceit – Which is it Mr Manager ??? 8:54 AM
From:Ted Noftall
To: Harden, David Neff, Andrew
Cc: Bob Ford don@amlsfl.com Drew Bastian Green, Allen Scott Stiltner

Thank you Manager Harden and Utilities Director Neff, for disclosing what many have suspected for some time namely the whole augmented reclaimed water system has been a colossal misdirection perpetrated on Port Orange taxpayers by the Mayor under the pretext of restoring the river.

Even if that were his motivation, and while he has every right to commit his own funds to such an endeavor, he had and has no such right to subvert taxpayer funds in the obfuscated manner in which he has, complete with the duplicitous assistance he has received from his long serving ‘engineers’ as evidenced at the last Council meeting.

While this is yet another confidence killer in the integrity of Port Orange government I hope we will make what good of it we can – BY insuring it the last such misdirection, AND BY insisting that meaningful transparency be given a home in City Hall.

For that to happen we need a Manager with zero tolerance for compromised performers be they on contract or on staff. Mr Harden you were meant to be that manager with the time limited basis on which you were employed, And you still have 4 solid months in which to effect meaningful change.

You were right in noting that myself and others will likely have many questions going forward based on the admissions just disclosed, BUT for now I only have 2 comments;

* the first is to your succinct answer to the effect that Finance does not have any costing records for any good or service being sold in the Utilities enterprise funds. I would ask why after a parade of 4 extremely well paid Finance Directors over the past 1/2 dozen years do we have anything less than a top notch accounting system complete with timely comprehensive financials ? Who exactly has been benefiting from a confused accounting system where nothing from nothing can ever be determined regarding anything financial in Port Orange, And to the point what change are you going to affect regarding this situation in your remaining 4 months ??

* secondly no one needs convincing that there will always be a cost to dispose of sewage effluent. What is needed is an honest comprehensive analysis of the relative costs, benefits and risks of each method of disposal. You and Utilities Director Neff moved the needle of dead center last Thursday and I hope you will commit to producing a much needed discussion framework as an agenda item at Council’s next meeting on April 7th

Again thank you for your revealing disclosures.

Ted Noftall

for responsible government – 2016



 

——– Forwarded Message ——–

Subject: RE: Reclaim water reports

Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2015 20:33:34 +0000

From: Neff, Andrew <aneff@port-orange.org>

To:Mike Gardner <manddgardner@cfl.rr.com>

CC: Harden, David <dharden@port-orange.org>

Good Afternoon Mike,

In response to your question, review of the data suggests some improvement of the parameters (levels) over time. The data presented in the outline reflects the most current (2014) data. I found the PEER Review report you referenced and it indicates we cannot meet the 5-5-3-1 standards for wetlands discharge. Even with improving levels (potentially) in the lakes, the concern with discharging lake water to the wetlands is ensuring we meet the more stringent parameters consistently without more treatment. At this point, that appears unlikely.

The operational strategy is to use the augmentation lakes as wet weather storage for use during the drier months to maximize reclaimed water availability during peak demands. Ideally, there would be sufficient buffer seasonally to accomplish this without a surface water discharge. However, if a surface water discharge is needed, that would occur at the River since the permit requirements would be met at this location as opposed to the wetlands.

I’d be happy to share the data and discuss the system operation in more depth if you would like to.

Also, once our meter test equipment is returned from being calibrated and we set up the testing schedule for the larger beach meters I’ll contact you so can observe some of the tests as we previously discussed.

If you need anything else, please let me know.

Andy Neff

Public Utilities Director



 

From: Mike Gardner [mailto:manddgardner@cfl.rr.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 26, 2015 11:35 AM
To: Neff, Andrew
Cc: Harden, David
Subject: Reclaim water reports

Dear Mr Neff,

Thanks for your clear, understandable memo on the filtration system to be installed at the Reclaim Lakes.

I have a question I hope you can answer about some of the information shown in your Reclaimed System Outline. That Outline shows BOD, TSS, N and P levels in the lakes themselves of 6.5, 15.5, 2.6 and 0.2. Are these levels reliable (i.e. consistent over time)? If so, it seems that the new filter almost gets us to a point where we can discharge to the wetlands. Past reports, such as the PEER review of last year, and other discussions over the years did not seem to indicate this.

Thanks,

Mike Gardner
618 Ruth St
Port Orange, FL 32127
386-527-1959
manddgardner@cfl.rr.com



 

—–Original Message—–
From: Harden, David [mailto:dharden@port-orange.org]
Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 1:39 PM
To: Ted Noftall; Mike Gardner
Cc: Green, Allen; Bastian, Drew; Don Burnette; Ford, Bob; Stiltner, Scott
Subject: FW: Confusion, Ignorance or Deceit – Which is it Mr Manager ???

I am attaching a series of documents In response to your emails below and on March 22nd, 2015. The first is a memo clarifying the purpose of the filter to be constructed at the Reclaimed Lakes. The second attachment is an outline staff prepared to illustrate the relationship between the wastewater treatment, surface water disposal and the reclaimed water systems. The outfall structure and filter at the lakes are highlighted in yellow. The third attachment speaks to the reclaimed water system costs and the fourth attachment is the Consent Order requiring installation of the outfall structure. I’m also providing the following link to a Reclaimed Water System Status Report prepared by staff in June 2013: https://www.port-orange.org/documents/meetings/regular/2013-06-25/items/30.pdf. This report provides an in depth review of the history and challenges facing the reclaimed water system.

As can be seen from the reclaimed water system outline (attachment 2) the average water quality parameters in the lakes indicate Total Suspended Solids (TSS) is the limiting factor in providing augmentation water to the reclaimed water system. The filter is intended to remove TSS to bring augmentation water within operating permit conditions when needed. Lake water can also be filtered prior to discharge to the wetlands via the outfall however other parameters, namely BOD and Nitrogen, will limit the ability to discharge to the wetlands. However, the outfall structure provides for additional storage of water in the augmentation lakes for use in the reclaimed water system during dry weather periods



 

—–Original Message—–
From: Harden, David [mailto:dharden@port-orange.org]
Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 2:38 PM
To: Ted Noftall
Cc: Bob Ford; don@amlsfl.com; Drew Bastian; Green, Allen; Scott Stiltner
Subject: RE: Confusion, Ignorance or Deceit – Which is it Mr. Manager ???

From: Ted Noftall [mailto:Ted@tednoftall.com]

Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 10:39 AM

To: Harden, David

Cc: Bob Ford; don@amlsfl.com; Drew Bastian; Green, Allen; Scott Stiltner

Subject: FW: Confusion, Ignorance or Deceit – Which is it Mr Manager ???

Manager Harden I have been noticing that you rarely answer the questions I pose.

If you have been assuming my questions to be rhetorical they are not. Answers to the questions I ask, constitute in my judgment the minimum information needed to make informed decisions. If you and Council are able to make informed decisions without this kind of information you and they possess abilities beyond mine, OR you-all hold opinions regarding the adequacy of those decisions that I do not share. I apologize for bypassing some of your questions. I shall try to be more thorough in the future. Some of your questions would require more research than we have staff time to do. When that is the case, I will let you know.

Based on the half truth performance of your key engineers at the last Council meeting I have 3 further queries.

The first is WHY two knowledgeable engineers, intimately familiar with the challenges posed by the reclaimed since their inception, chose to answer by omission as they did ? Whose interest were they trying to advance, OR shield from legitimate inquiry ? I do not know why they answered as they did. They should have given a simple straightforward answer to your question. And is that interest the reason why you have steadfastly refused to adequately disclose the true costs and performance of the City’s augmented reclaimed water system ? We have assembled a package of information regarding the reclaimed water system which was separately forward to you earlier. After you review this information you will probably have additional questions.

Secondly by WHAT measure does your supervision of your engineers constitute reasonable performance on your part , CONSIDERATING this is the same tag team who by your own admissions have provided no credible explanations regarding the missing berm fiasco, such that you are still placing important design and inspection work in their hands, WHILE superficially at least, conducting 3 reviews of their performance through the use of a police investigator, a forensic accountant and the severely limited Pegasus Engineering review ? Mr. Griffith’s failure to adequately answer your question is being addressed by his supervisor. QLH has several ongoing contracts with the City. The extent to which they continue to do work for the City is ultimately up to City Council. At the 3/17 meeting the Council did approve a contract with Wade-Trim to do an I & I study of our sever system. On 4/7 we will be asking the City Council to approve a contract with Kimley-Horn to do some other utility engineering work.

Finally, and this is as straight forward a question as I asked at the last Council meeting, and which you have acknowledged was not answered. DOES THE City have any accounting records detailing the various costs to produce a gallon of reclaimed water from each of its major sources – being the daily effluent in-flow, and the augmented ground water and deep wells SUCH THAT some logical conclusions can be made regarding the profitability of the whole reclaimed water system ? The short answer is no. The production, distribution and use of reclaimed water for irrigation is an environmentally acceptable method of disposing of sewage effluent. I don’t know that it will ever be profitable. One must also keep in mind that if we did not have the reclaimed water system we would be paying for some other method of disposing of our sewage effluent.

Thank you,

Ted Noftall

for responsible government – 2016



 

From: Ted Noftall [mailto:Ted@tednoftall.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 10:39 AM
To: ‘Harden, David’
Cc: Bob Ford (rford37@cfl.rr.com); don@amlsfl.com; Drew Bastian (db2070@cfl.rr.com); Mayor Green (agreen@port-orange.org); Scott Stiltner (sjstiltner@cfl.rr.com)
Subject: FW: Confusion, Ignorance or Deceit – Which is it Mr Manager ???

Manager Harden I have been noticing that you rarely answer the questions I pose.

If you have been assuming my questions to be rhetorical they are not. Answers to the questions I ask, constitute in my judgment the minimum information needed to make informed decisions. If you and Council are able to make informed decisions without this kind of information you and they possess abilities beyond mine, OR you-all hold opinions regarding the adequacy of those decisions that

I do not share.

Based on the half truth performance of your key engineers at the last Council meeting I have 3 further queries.

The first is WHY two knowledgeable engineers, intimately familiar with the challenges posed by the reclaimed since their inception, chose to answer by omission as they did ? Whose interest were they trying to advance, OR shield from legitimate inquiry ? And is that interest the reason why you have steadfastly refused to adequately disclose the true costs and performance of the City’s augmented reclaimed water system ?

Secondly by WHAT measure does your supervision of your engineers constitute reasonable performance on your part , CONSIDERATING this is the same tag team who by your own admissions have provided no credible explanations regarding the missing berm fiasco, such that you are still placing important design and inspection work in their hands, WHILE superficially at least, conducting 3 reviews of their performance through the use of a police investigator, a forensic accountant and the severely limited Pegasus Engineering review ?

Finally, and this is as straight forward a question as I asked at the last Council meeting, and which you have acknowledged was not answered. DOES THE City have any accounting records detailing the various costs to produce a gallon of reclaimed water from each of its major sources – being the daily effluent in-flow, and the augmented ground water and deep wells SUCH THAT some logical conclusions can be made regarding the profitability of the whole reclaimed water system ?

Thank you,

Ted Noftall

for responsible government – 2016



 

From: Ted Noftall [mailto:Ted@tednoftall.com]
Sent: Sunday, March 22, 2015 8:06 PM
To: ‘Harden, David’
Cc: Bob Ford (rford37@cfl.rr.com); don@amlsfl.com; Drew Bastian (db2070@cfl.rr.com); Mayor Green (agreen@port-orange.org); Scott Stiltner (sjstiltner@cfl.rr.com)
Subject: FW: Confusion, Ignorance or Deceit – Which is it Mr Manager ???

Well, well, well Manager Harden it would seem that you have 3 people unfamiliar with either the truth, or with the English language, working for you.

Ben Franklin is famously reputed to have said that ” Half the truth is often a great lie ” and he did so because when someone omits part of the truth, then the listener can draw an incorrect conclusion, and that can often be worse than an outright lie itself.

If you recognize that Mr. Griffiths did not answer the question I had asked, then you must also recognize that neither did Mr. Blais, AND let’s not forget Mr. Neff who sat there throughout 5 minutes of half truths, without saying a word.

Watching those three, the lyrics from Wynken, Blyken and Nod come to mind as Port Orange taxpayers are lulled to sleep without ever considering the millions that have been wasted and continue to be wasted on a reclaimed system that does not work, AND THAT has short changed monies required to be spent on our potable water and sewer system, that necessitated the recent increase in water and sewer rates.

So Mr. Manager now that you have had another first hand taste of how well coordinated the back field deceit the Mayor has in play in covering-up his $100 million boondoggled augmented reclaimed water system I would again call on you to produce

* a comprehensive analysis of the costs spent on this augmented reclaimed water system to date,

* the additional future costs that are anticipated to make this system perform as designed,

* the historic performance of this system,

* the targeted performance levels the design calls out,

* a financial pro-forma as to how this $100 million boondoggle is ever meant to make fiscal sense.

* a comprehensive explanation as to exactly what is being demanded in the ” DEP consent order ” to ensure that order is not being used to justify non decreed expenditures.

Ted Noftall

for responsible government – 2016



 

—–Original Message—–
From: Harden, David [mailto:dharden@port-orange.org]
Sent: Sunday, March 22, 2015 5:53 PM
To: Ted Noftall
Cc: Bob Ford; don@amlsfl.com; Drew Bastian; Green, Allen; Scott Stiltner; Neff, Andrew
Subject: RE: Confusion, Ignorance or Deceit – Which is it Mr Manager ???

You are correct that water must meet the 5-5-3-1 standard before it can be discharged from the lakes into the wetlands. I recognized at the time that Mr. Griffith was not answering the question which you had asked, but did not see fit to press the issue at that point in the meeting. Mr. Neff will provide you a full explanation in the near future.



 

From: Ted Noftall [mailto:Ted@tednoftall.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2015 11:38 AM
To: ‘Harden, David’
Cc: Bob Ford (rford37@cfl.rr.com); don@amlsfl.com; Drew Bastian (db2070@cfl.rr.com); Mayor Green (agreen@port-orange.org); Scott Stiltner (sjstiltner@cfl.rr.com)
Subject: Confusion, Ignorance or Deceit – Which is it Mr Manager ???

Good morning Manager Harden,

At the 03-17-201 Council meeting the Mayor was asked directly if the current expenditure of approximately $2 million dollars on the filter system for the reclaimed lakes would meet State requirements to allow reclaimed lake water processed through that filter to be pumped into the surrounding wetlands in quantities beyond the currently permitted 1 million gallons per day.

That question was answered in the affirmative by several individuals, AND I believe it was answered incorrectly either through Confusion, Ignorance or Deceit.

For that affirmative answer to be correct — a remote stand alone $ 2 million filter would need to be able to reduce the 4 key treatment plant parameters of CBOD, TSS, Nitrogen & Phosphorous to levels that cannot even be achieved in the City’s $ 100 million sewer plant complete with enhanced biological and chemical capabilities.

Relative to those 4 key parameters:

On a good day and with maximum effort the reclaimed sewer plant produces water quality of 5, 2, 8, 1 ppm .

On a very good day the living waters that are the reclaimed lakes have a water quality of 8, 15, 9,1 ppm

The State mandated water quality to dump into the wetlands is 5, 5, 3, 1 ppm

IF this filter system works and that is a big IF, the only thing it will accomplish is provide the possibility that by reducing the total suspended solids in that filtered lake water to low enough concentrations that that it can be pumped through reclaimed water sprinkler systems throughout the City, AND THAT there will be sufficient reclaimed water demand to keep the 2 reclaimed lakes low enough that they can stockpile all of the City’s unused effluent in periods of low demand until it is subsequently used. If this plan does not work for any reason, THEN ONCE those reclaimed lakes fill up again the City is right back to pumping its effluent into the Halifax River.

So Manager Harden unless you and experts can credibly explain how a filter whose capability is designed to only reduce TSS, is now going to magically reduce CBOD and Nitrogen in the reclaimed lakes to the State levels required to spill reclaimed lake water into the surrounding wetlands, THEN the people were misled in the answer they were given at the 03-17-2015 meeting, AND GIVEN the level of talent possessed by those individuals who answered that question incorrectly it is difficult to believe they were not misled other than in deliberate fashion.

In less polite terms the People were lied to, AND they were lied to in your name, AND IF that is the case they need to be dismissed.

That deceit may be a surprise to you, but it is no surprise to those of us who have watched the Mayor perpetrate a $ 50 million augmented reclaimed water fraud on taxpayers through the exact kind of misdirection and deceit he orchestrated at the last council meeting from those who spoke in your name.

Our long serving Mayor and his friends have thrived on projects that can only be advanced in an misdirected and confused environment, that lacks accountability and transparency. Not un-expectantly these sorts of projects frequently have had little benefit for the taxpayers who have been footing the bill.

Port Orange rate payers deserve nothing less than *a comprehensive analysis of the costs that have already gone into this augment reclaimed water system, * the additional future costs that are anticipated, * the historic performance of this system, * the targeted performance level sought, * and a financial pro-forma as to how this $100 million boondoggle is ever meant to make fiscal sense.

I would call on you yet again to produce this analysis.

Ted Noftall

for responsible government – 2016



 

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