Meeting to discuss the Interim City Manager Position and City Manager Selection Process scheduled for July 15th, at 5:15 PM

from: Dianne Gardner
to:  City Council
July 6, 2014

Dear Mayor Green, Vice Mayor Burnette, Councilman Bastian, Councilman Kennedy and Councilman Ford in absentia:

cityHallRE: Meeting to discuss the Interim City Manager Position and City Manager Selection Process scheduled for Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 at 5:15 PM

I respectfully request that what appears to me to be a hastily scheduled meeting to discuss hiring an interim city manager and the city manager selection process be delayed until our full council can be in attendance. This meeting is planned for Tuesday, July 15th at 5:15 PM. As you all well know, Councilman Bob Ford, District I, is currently out of town and returns either on July 16th or 17th.

Surely a delay of no more than 48 hours to guarantee District I constituents a voice trumps any other scheduling rationale. The choice of interim manager and the city manager selection process are too important to leave any of our duly elected officials out. Long term costs and consequences are involved here for our city.  Our taxpayers deserve to hear all the differing view points we know exist on council. Certainly after all that has transpired recently we surely want this hiring process to be open, transparent and unbiased.

I am sure it is not our mayor’s intention to disenfranchise an entire district. If this meeting is held without District I’s duly elected councilman on the dais to represent it, then that de facto disenfranchisement becomes a reality for us.

My perception: This choice of scheduling this meeting before all councilmen can be present is a problem in the making for everyone that can easily be avoided.

And at a minimum, ensuring that all councilmen are present, should silence any critics who might reasonably say you are trying to manage or silence dissent by not waiting 48 hours for Bob Ford’s return.  A Simple Fix.  It’s a win/win for all of us on that at least. Its a start.

With regard to the agenda for the meeting, I, for one, am hoping that the city will really think outside the box this time. Please… seriously look to the private sector for new people to fill these most recently vacated positions of City Manager, Finance Director, Public Utilities Director, and Purchasing Agent.  Our city certainly fills our various volunteer boards like Audit and Budget with private sector experts. And we all seem to agree that these folks bring real world experience to the table that we as a city government desperately need.

My rationale is this:

Port Orange has really given the FCCMA “professional manager” concept a fair try. We have just had 3 FCCMA credentialed city managers resign after a period of great turmoil. And after relatively short and embattled tenures. And they leave us with some real problems that were uncovered still in place.. yet to be fixed. With final costs yet to be determined.  And it cost us a lot to hire and now lose these men. So the selection process is critical

Our previous city manager, Ken Parker, was a member of FCCMA, a credentialed professional city manager and in his position with this city for decades. We know the financial fall out for the taxpayer from that administration. FCCMA credentialing and membership may be a measure of something, but clearly, at least in my view, it does not necessarily guarantee a successful administration or even fiduciary or managerial competence.

So mayor and council, I am asking that you seriously consider hiring individuals for these critical positions now vacant with a business background, mind set and approach. Hiring from the private sector for government entities has become a trend and is working well in many cities.

On a personal note, this scheduled date of Tuesday, July 15th @ 5:15 PM means I will be forced to choose between missing this meeting or missing my volunteer job on the Parks and Recreation Board which is scheduled at the same time, 5:00 PM on Tuesday, July 15th. There may be others on the P&R Board who want to attend this special meeting as well.

As a booster of volunteerism in our city, Mr. Mayor, I know it cannot be your intention to make volunteer board members have to make a choice of which important meeting to miss. A distressing prospect for me.

You have asked that both council and citizens bring solutions rather than problems.  These are my suggestions and I hope potential solutions. At a minimum, please reset this meeting date. Again, a simple fix.

Thank you Mr. Mayor and Council.

Sincerely,

Dianne Templeton Gardner
618 Ruth Street
Port Orange, Florida 32127
396-527-1641
dtgardner@cfl.rr.com

PS:  Can we get an agenda on this meeting too, with a list of potential presenters if there are any, any documents that may reflect any staff work already done in locating an interim manager, anything that would indicate how council is thinking and its approach to this issue?



 

To anyone writing the mayor or other council members:
.
Please copy gkisela@port-orange.org along with your email because then it goes on the City Manager’s email log and can be widely read by other interested citizens..
.
Allen Green
Phone: 386-322-0247
Term expires: Dec. 2016
agreen@port-orange.org
Vice Mayor / City Council District 2
Donald O. Burnette
Phone: 386-295-5760
Term expires: Dec. 2014
dburnette@port-orange.org
City Council District 4
Dennis A. Kennedy
Phone: 386-405-1415
Term expires: Dec. 2014
dkennedy@port-orange.org
City Council District 3
Drew Bastian
Phone: 386-299-7943
Term expires: Dec. 2016
dbastian@port-orange.org
City Council District 1
Bob Ford
Phone: 386-756-8254
Term expires: Dec. 2014
bford@port-orange.org

27 Opinions on “Meeting to discuss the Interim City Manager Position and City Manager Selection Process scheduled for July 15th, at 5:15 PM

  1. Editorial: Port Orange needs leaders, not conflict

    OUR VIEW

    Published: Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 5:30 a.m.

    Last Modified: Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 10:58 p.m.

    What the heck is going on in Port Orange?

    The city that once ran like a Swiss watch lately resembles a cartoon timepiece with its springs and wheels exploding out the sides.

    The recent nine-day resignation horror show provides sobering evidence that something is fundamentally broken in City Hall.

    From June 23-July 1, a bookkeeping error cost Port Orange more than $400,000, and then five of its top administrators resigned in rapid succession for various reasons.

    That’s left the bedroom community tainted and the city administration woefully uncertain of its future.

    Things are so bad that after City Manager Greg Kisela became the city’s fourth senior resignation six days ago, Port Orange Mayor Allen Green described his exit as “only the tip of the iceberg,” and predicted more abdications to come.

    Green blamed the departures on the City Council’s heavy-handed departmental oversight, and unbearably muscular citizen activism.

    Before the situation spirals further out of control, elected officials need to stop the hemorrhaging of their administrative talent and restore the town’s image and administrative stability.

    First came the June 23 admission that the city mistakenly purchased $411,510 worth of water meters that it didn’t need. That prompted Public Utilities Director Jason Yarborough and Purchasing Manager Tom Cinefro to resign, and rightly so. That constitutes a major, costly error — and justifiably breeds the aggressive citizen watchdogs the mayor referenced, in the form of the council-appointed Audit and Budget Advisory Board.

    However, if you don’t want unhappy taxpayers nipping at your heels, don’t give them such juicy targets.

    Yarborough, hired only nine months earlier, is the second public utilities director to resign in less than two years. His predecessor left amid allegations he gifted unauthorized administrative leave.

    Three days after the meter debacle was revealed, Kisela was reported to be sniffing around Destin for his old city manager job.

    A day after that thunderbolt, Joe Pozzo walked away from his job as Port Orange fire chief after just seven months.

    Kisela added to the column of capitulations Monday by quietly handing in his resignation to return to his last job in the Florida Panhandle.

    And confirming the mayor’s clairvoyance, Finance Director Wayne Saunders bowed out the following day after serving less than two years. That was on top of two lower-level finance employees who left in the past three months because of the difficult work environment.

    The abnormal amount of turnover possibly has its roots in the departure of the previous city manager, who had held the post for nearly 30 years.

    That type of change from multi-generational stability and status quo can easily upset the delicate balance between elected and appointed officials. Deprived of that previously relied upon institutional wisdom, elected officials — and the citizens on the Audit and Budget Advisory Board — can reach beyond their oversight responsibility and into the purview of appointed managers.

    Port Orange City Council members should bear that balance in mind as they seek their next city manager, finance director and fire chief. Those posts need not be filled with transformational hires. They just have to be able to do their jobs without bookkeeping errors, overruns, or self-aggrandizement.

    Once hired, the administrators should be allowed to do their jobs, or Port Orange will soon be back on the job market, probably choosing from a shrinking pool of interested qualified candidates. The city needs more competence and less conflict.

  2. Whose idea was it to schedule the meeting two or three days BEFORE Bob Ford returns from vacation.? I can ,jist Imagine. What’s the RUSH??? sOMEONE DOESN’T WANT HIS INPUT??? THIS IS JUST ANOTHER SNEAKY BACKDOOR MOVE. The citizens are watching you Mayor Green and OUTGOING MANAGER MR. kISELA. It would be prudent to postpone the meeting until ALL COUNCILMEN ARE PRESENT. Again…lthe public is watching and so will the news media if this meeting takes place without Ford present to represent his distruct.

    • You are correct Margaret. This is a big mistake for Green and Kisela to have such a meeting while Ford is out of town. Hey Bob Pohlmann, I bet even you can speculate on why such an important meeting will be held without Bob Ford attending. Bob? Bob? I don;t hear you.

      If Green and Kisela go ahead with the meeting without Ford, another minor explosion will take place in Port Orange. I am getting the feeling of amazement when I saw Bill Clinton say, “Impeachment is no big deal”.

  3. The statement by Mayor Allen Green to Lori Brown of the News Journal that “Green blamed the departures of city administrators on the City Council’s heavy-handed departmental oversight, and unbearably muscular citizen activism” is the farthest thing from the truth and is in fact the proverbial pot calling the kettle black. Green’s present collusive lurking around city hall and scheming with the soon to be ex-city manager while circumventing the rest of council and particularly excluding council members that oppose his opaqueness, such as Bob Ford and Drew Bastian is further evidence that Green is the rotten genesis of the current organizational implosion.

    Green also blames employees that he defines as not being team players which means that they are advocates of transparency in government and are support open governance and honest disclosure when elected council members inquire of them. Anyone within the organization unwilling to cover up and obfuscate the abundant malfeasance and misfeasance that is prevalent throughout the organization is considered an enemy of the State of Allen Green. Green has been overheard saying he will fire any employee, no questions asked, and no consideration of legal ramifications that communicates with council members or participates in transparent and open governance. This should not be hard to believe seeing that he has already told Lori Brown that citizens are at fault for his imploding regime because they have a personal agenda of not wanting their taxes raised until Port Orange management gets it’s act together and the city operates transparently. He also said their are other hidden agendas that the community has but evasively failed to articulate them.

    Green is desperately looking to deflect blames on others and keep his finger on the pulse in anticipation of a continuing implosion of his dysfunctional management regime and fear of losing political power going into the Riverwalk TIFF determination. Green realizes that in the upcoming council election it is almost assured that the balance of power in the city council will swing over to his opposition, which means that the power will be restored to the citizens of Port Orange and the paradigm of open governance will prevail. In that day the Allen Green era of special interest politics will come to an end and the citizens of Port Orange will finally be able to get on with the job of making this the best possible community with a mutually advantageous vision that emerges from their collective genius. Power to the people!

  4. If this meeting takes place without Bob Ford present it will be very telling. There should be absolutely no input from Greg Kisela as to who the interim personel should be.

    He is on his way out after selecting people for jobs they were not qualified for so he should stay mum.

  5. Kisela should have zero input, Mayor Green should have a change in his demeanor and attitude which won’t occur, Kennedy is a lame duck and should lay low and yes the meeting should not take place, knowing full well that District 1 Councilman Ford is on vacation (planned well in advance)

    These people cause their own issues and should be prepared for even more citizen involvement and revolt.

    • Thank you all!!

      We could really use some emails to the mayor and our other councilmen with your views on this so called emergency meeting……with voters demanding that it is only right that we delay 48 hours for Bob Ford to be able to be here…this is not a routine event …nor is it any kind of dire emergency…..hiring the right City Manager…even an interim person…. is absolutely critical at this point….we must hear from all elected officials….not just the usual suspects to slam something through…….and my guess is that the intention is to pick that person without Bob’s input or vote and then once in as interim City Manager… and just another quick vote away…..3/2 again …..that person will be confirmed as the permanent choice ..I believe that is what we could be looking at…I hope I am wrong..

      …. at this so called emergency meeting on Tuesday, 7-15 at 5:15 PM the mayor will have a quorum with himself, Don Burnette and Dennis Kennedy…even if Council Drew Bastian boycotts the meeting and I hope he will….on principle…the vote can still be legal……wrong, unjust, and opaque but it will still have the “gloss of legality”….

      ..the letter of the law…hardly the spirit…

      Allen Green
      Phone: 386-322-0247
      Term expires: Dec. 2016
      agreen@port-orange.org

      Vice Mayor / City Council District 2
      Donald O. Burnette
      Phone: 386-295-5760
      Term expires: Dec. 2014
      dburnette@port-orange.org

      City Council District 4
      Dennis A. Kennedy
      Phone: 386-405-1415
      Term expires: Dec. 2014
      dkennedy@port-orange.org

      City Council District 3
      Drew Bastian
      Phone: 386-299-7943
      Term expires: Dec. 2016
      dbastian@port-orange.org

      City Council District 1
      Bob Ford
      Phone: 386-756-8254
      Term expires: Dec. 2014
      bford@port-orange.org

      .

      • Has anyone ever received any type of e-mailed reply from the Mayor when inquiring about an issue?

        I firmly believe he has no basic computer literacy and cannot reply due to same.

        • The mayor never goes on record by way of email…my guess is he is very computer literate..that good old Southern boy who can barely operate a toaster much less a computer facade has been working for him a very long time…he has an easy grasp of city business, contracts, how all this crap works…not sure what happened to him the other night in that interview with Lori Brown..lost his composure momentarily and mis spoke..but he is good at this back room stuff.. and very good at manipulating circumstances to achieve his agenda…..hell..he should be good at it….been mayor or on council of on something related to the city since the earth was cooling… he will not go down without a very hard fight..

          • Dianne,
            You are correct. He plays dumb very well. I remember him stating he didn’t even realize we were paying into his retirement. He collects the $18,000 salary we pay him plus benefits and counts every penny of it. Too bad he doesn’t care about counting our pennies. I don’t think he misspoke on channel nine. Frustration often brings out the truth. At least we have an understanding and realize their is no respect to the taxpayer. He has always referred to us as investors. Personally I feel like I have been ripped off by a Ponzi scheme.

  6. I hope someone on Council has enough sense to motion to table the naming of the interim CM until Bob Ford returns. We have gotten in enough trouble with our 3-2 votes supporting the Mayor rather than the citizens. Perhaps Lori Brown could reach out to the Mayor on this one. He must remember his role is the Mayor not the Manipulator. Green and his followers Burnette and Kennedy have taken us down the wrong fork in the road too many times of late to be trusting. It’s like a 3 headed monster.

  7. 5 Best Practices for Open Local Government

    University of Utah students to ask all 273 of the state’s local governments to adopt these best practices.

    Utah continues to win accolades for its online presence, adding honors late last month for its Utah Connect Portal, which unites Utah-related social media feeds from all levels of government. The American Council for Technology-Industry Advisory Council recognized Utah Connect for excellence in social media with an Excellence.gov award.

    But students at the University of Utah want to make sure those high standards are upheld by local governments in Utah too. Focusing specifically on open government practices, the Honors College Think Tank on Transparency and Privacy recently evaluated 16 local governments, discovering a wide variety of policies now in use.

    As a result of their study, the students are embarking on a statewide initiative to encourage local governments to operate more openly. Drawing on their own findings, as well as expertise from well-known open government advocates, including the Sunlight Foundation, the students will officially launch the Utah Transparency Project at a press conference Wednesday, April 11.

    With support from prominent Utah elected officials and community organizations, students will formally ask all 273 local governments in Utah to adopt the following five best practices in support of local government openness.

    1. Local governments should establish a dedicated open government webpage, providing a searchable repository for all public information, accessible in three clicks or less.

    2. Online information needs to be collected, generated and maintained in a digital form and made available on the open government webpage in a timely way.

    3. All electronic communications made with government supplied equipment, including emails and instant messages, should be considered public records.

    4. Elected officials and senior administrators should post their schedules publicly, maintain open settings on social networking sites and commit to a culture of transparency.

    5. Governmental bodies should make all public meetings as open as possible by posting agendas and meeting materials in advance, streaming live meeting audio or video, posting recordings within 48 hours and allowing remote participation.

  8. Unfortunately Diane many of us cannot send an EMail to Mayor and Council on the C/M’s read file because if our identies were disclosed we would be fired. The Mayor has already eluded to this on his travels around Finance and Utilities this week, while Mr. Ford is on vacation. If this isn’t intimidation and threats I don’t know what you’d call it.

    • I understand that Mazie..project yourself…he will only be around for another 2 years at the longest.. and then maybe our wonderful rank and file can begin to breathe more freely…

      ….I so get this….my mom’s first job as a teacher was under a repressive bitch of a principal….it was one egregious wrong after another being done to teachers and students in St. Petersburg by this woman who shared many personality traits with this mayor…very similar tactics…she kept people frightened and divided …And it worked for her for a very long time…she was like Captain Queeg in the Caine Mutiny but without his charm..And it took finally a sort of court martial..unfortunately we do not have that sort of recourse here..a recall is cumbersome..

      …fortunately this woman was removed after action taken by my mom with some others who finally said no more…but it was a frightening time for us…..my mom did not drive….the school was in walking distance from our home…my dad had abandoned us so there was no salary back up…..my mother also had an ally in the superintendent of schools who knew this woman was abusive and he helped get her removed…so I really sympathize and am sorry for you all..am hoping that as we all do what we can do finally this cancer that has grown on our city for so long be removed….hang in there…And I believe the quote below..but it’s cold comfort when you’re existing in this kind of work environment..

      …”the moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice”….

      Best,

      Dianne

  9. TO: Allen Green, Bob Ford, Drew Bastian, Don Burnett and Dennis Kennedy:

    I know you all read these blogs and I cannot EMail you through normal channels because the Mayor has stated he will fire any employee who opposes him…damn he legal consequences, hence my blog here to you.

    Bob Ford will be back in town in a few days and I ask that your’July 15th meeting be put on hold until his return so that he can participate for his district. Failing to do this is going to look Very, very bad for all of you in the eyes of the citizens and the media.

    Thank you

    • Isn’t that a shame when citizens and city employees can not speak their minds for fear of being called a “shark” and losing their jobs?

      Green is unraveling. Protect yourself from his stupidity. he is not so clever on a battle field not chosen by himself.

  10. I thought council members were not allowed to directly interfere with city operations. Now we are hearing that the mayor is going to different departments and threatening to fire employees.Isn’t there something illegal or unethical or immoral about that?

    • Woody you are absolutely correct to all of the above. We think he’s getting ready to blow a gasket. In my opinion his character sucked to begin with. Now it appears he is an enraged madman. He’s getting ready to blow up on someone. He has mistreated council members, citizens, and now employees. One more incident from him and I think he will be put in his place. What council member other than good old Kennedy would even want to be associated with him at this point. It would prove political suicide. The puppet strings have become entangled.

      • Remember about 7 years ago when Green was enraged with about 33 or so employees that opted not to go into the defined benefit pension but instead wanted to manage their own funds in a 401 and 457? He criticized them at a public pension meeting, insinuating they were not team players, and pretty much said that they were on their own. He vehemently endorsed the define benefit pension and basically said that it was the best thing since sliced bread.

        Fast forward to the present and just two years ago. Part of Green’s political platform that he ran on for reelection two years ago was to phase out the define benefit pension and redirect newly hired employees into a defined contribution pension like the one that he criticized 5 years earlier. He stated that the defined benefit pensions were unsustainable and that the unfunded mandates needed to be eliminated.

        He never once said in the last two years that he was the original cheerleader of the defined benefit pensions and that he showed rage and disdain for the intelligent employees that had the foresight to take that position back then that Green is trying to take now and act as if it is his own original position.

        Ironically, a lot of the employees from that original pool that opted out of Green’s defined benefit pension are employees that Green looks upon as not being team players presently because they are independent thinkers that espouse open governance and transparency. I really liked the parody with Freddie Mercury singing the great pretender because that pretty much sums up Allen Green’s political career.

  11. How to Recall a City Mayor

    A bad mayor can have a large influence on a city within a very short amount of time. When a city population bands together, it can recall a mayor who is found to be corrupt, incompetent or unfit to lead. The trend of recalling wayward mayors in the US has been steady since the 1950s. If you are looking to recall your city mayor, follow these steps to get started.

    Instructions

    1 Find out about laws and regulations that govern recall in your city. The regulations related to mayoral recall procedures and regulations differ from city to city. You can find the details about how to proceed with a mayoral recall in your city’s municipal code, which is available through most city agencies and public law libraries.

    2 Start a movement. The only real chance you’ll have at recalling a mayor is by getting a group of dedicated and determined people together to battle for the recall. Most recall and recall attempts begin with at least a few politicians who oppose the mayor. However, you can keep the movement apolitical by involving local social and community leaders instead of politicians.

    3 Collect signatures for a petition. Each city has different requirements for the number of signatures needed to recall a mayor. Find out the number of signatures and the requirements related to signature authenticity and start a well organized signature drive to validate the petition. Make sure that each signature is authentic before you submit your petition to the city council.

    4 Use the media to help. Local media is generally very hungry for politically interesting stories, such as mayoral recalls. Get your local media involved so you can spread the message about the recall and enlist others to help with the cause. Also, gaining media favor on the recall issue will help place pressure on city council members to approve the recall of the mayor.

    • A recall would be a very difficult thing to do. I suspect there are still favors owed to Green and favors that Green owes to his whole network of power and money. Developers, banks, construction people, real estate people, families of people smiled upon by Green, and the Holy Chamber of Commerce. Most people in Port Orange do not care about all this. I can tell you the streets in Port Orange to not bother trying to get names for a petition, but if by chance you were starting a petition up about the police department, those very same street names would probably be productive for a police petition. But I suspect that most people can’t name their city council people. Many of the voters during our local election I think are city employees and the 6 categories I named before, and their families. If I am wrong, then there might be a chance for a recall.

  12. Unfortunately I think you are right Hank. I know that Holly Hill has about 12,000 residents and that only a few hundred show up to vote. Sad but true.

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