Caught ‘Red’ Handed !

12

Time is of the essence….

 

A lesson learned by elected officials is that no matter how active a citizen tries to be, the task of keeping up with the pace of city business and being informed on the myriad of issues is a near impossibility. We all have lives apart from what is going on at City Hall, regardless of how much an individual might want to be informed….and leadership knows that….

The Mayor and Council members have often voiced a desire to have a “strong partnership with the community.” Over the last few years, significant conversation has centered on how to have a well informed and actively involved resident who has trust and confidence in the administrative/political leadership of the City.

A deserving goal not easily achieved….

 

Recent events have tarnished this objective. A trusting electorate requires acknowledgment of this sentiment and a demonstration that the underlying behavior will not be tolerated….Trust and confidence requires leadership and leadership starts at the top….

Residents, especially the more active ones, may accept facts and details given to them from staff, but for the emotional objectives of trust and confidence, residents need to hear from their representatives; representatives elected into office to exercise good judgment and vote the vote as a voice of the people.

No administrative voice can achieve this result, especially administrative voices that have lost their credibility. People do not believe these administrative types anymore….People need to hear from the elected leaders who have asked residents for their trust, for their confidence, and ultimately for their vote.

 

So let’s get specific….

The Wildflower site provides a vivid demonstration of the residents mistrust with the process. On at least two occasions over the past month residents have uncovered proofs leaving no doubt that City Staff blatantly ‘lied’ to the Council and to the public at large.

 

With the advent of the Communication Officer, items are now being placed on the city website to keep the public informed. Such a posting was placed on the City’s site recently that told a fictitious story about the Wildflower site and the City’s original intentions for acquiring it.

 

The ‘lie’ was captured in staff’s rewriting history by stating that the Wildflower property was bought for the purpose of being a restaurant (a revenue generator) for the City.

Through the good work of some active residents and the availability of public records and videos, Councilman Singer was made aware of this blatant ‘lie’ and the City Manager was presented with an accurate factual recollection. Within hours of this discourse, the city’s website was corrected by removing the (mis)statement; a quick and obvious admission of the ‘lie’.

 

As if this was not enough….

Thanks to the good work of resident Jim Wood, the 2011 poll taken to determine what residents wanted to see on the Wildflower site was revisited.

What was presented to the City Council by Assistant City Manager George Brown in 2011 is now found to also have been a blatant ‘lie’; a ‘lie’ used for the justification of four years of wasted time negotiating for a restaurant that was not part of the City’s original intent and justification.…

As reported last week in the BocaWatch’s article “Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics”, Mr. Wood proves beyond doubt that the results presented to the Council and the public was a manipulation of facts designed to result in support for a predetermined outcome; to wit: an intracoastal restaurant.

 

These are but two instances of staff ‘lying’ to council and to the public.  This behavior is often the case. Perhaps the ‘lying’ is not always as blatant but nonetheless every bit as effective.

Other examples have been found and reported in BocaWatch.

The City Council cannot stand by in light of this behavior; the Council must take remedial action or be tainted as well….Leadership starts at the top….In Boca Raton, leadership is with our elected officials. The administration must be beyond reproach. We are waiting and watching for this administration to show us that….

 

It is not the responsibility of residents to oversee the integrity of staff. It is the Council’s responsibility and the Wildflower situation demonstrates the need for a course change; a clear message that this behavior is not to be tolerated.

 

Lying to the public and lying to the Council ought to be fatal offences.  Behavior like this can only result in distrust; distrust that clearly exists with many concerned residents here in Boca Raton.

 

BocaWatch believes that the highest levels of Boca Raton’s administration are tainted and calls for the immediate resignation of the City Manager and Assistant City Manager.

In the absence of these resignations, the Council must act to remove these individuals for cause.

Faith and trust cannot be replaced once shattered….the public demands a demonstration by the Council that behavior like this will never happen again….

So what should an elected official do….

Get off the cocktail circuit and go to the People; the People that have placed faith and trust in you. Appropriate action and open discussion will reduce resentments and raise the bar to meet the Council’s lofty objective of a trusting, informed and active citizenry reaching across all socio-economic lines and areas within this city, the City of Boca Raton….

 

If this concerns you, please contact your City Council now:

Mayor Susan Haynie – shaynie@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

Deputy Mayor Robert Weinroth – rweinroth@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

Councilman Mike Mullaugh – mmullaugh@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

CRA Chair,Councilman Scott Singer – ssinger@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

Jeremy Rodgers – jrodgers@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

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Alfred Zucaro has resided in Palm Beach County since 1982 and has been a resident of Boca Raton since 2008. A graduate of Fordham University, he holds a Magna Cum Laude degree in Economics. Mr. Zucaro attended Nova University receiving a Juris Doctorate Law Degree in 1986. He is a member in good standing with the Florida Bar, practicing in the area of Immigration Law for the majority of his career. Currently he is manager/member of Palm Beach Investment and Finance LLC, a USCIS approved regional center identifying foreign investment leading to permanent resident status. Mr. Zucaro served as a City Commissioner in West Palm Beach from 1995 to 2002 and as the President of the City Commission in 2000/2001. He has also been a member of and/or served on the Economic Council, the Business Development Board, the Film and Television Commission, the Tourist Development Council, the Workforce Alliance and the Palm Beach International Film Festival. Of particular interest is his founding of the World Trade Center Palm Beach, an organization that focuses on international economic development. Married to Yvonne Boice, they are avid world travelers having visited 6 continents and dozens of countries since their 2008 nuptials.

12 COMMENTS

  1. “Lying to the public and lying to the Council ought to be fatal offences.”
    REALLY !!!!! Do you suggest lining up these underpaid municipal workers in Sanborne Square at dusk and face a firing squad.

  2. Joe B….Generally I would not respond to your anonymous comment but since you ask, senior administration officials must answer for their lack of integrity. If you disagree, identify yourself so we can review the facts and debate the issue…. AZ

  3. Joe as in Joseph or Josephine….don’t know because you have not fully identified yourself. What are you afraid of that you will not stand up to identify yourself? You do have a good idea about “Sanborn Square”; however, I do not support violence. The City Manager and Deputy City Manager are not underpaid. Please check your facts on this as they earn near $300,000. The real underpaid – our Council Members.

  4. Josaphine B.

    Stand up and be a real person. Any child can throw rocks from behind walls and wear a mask, kinda like ISIS wouldn’t you say Josephine? Don’t waste ours and your time if you can’t stand up and be a person.
    The idea is haveing dialog and discussing our feelings openly, We are all equal members of the community. I bet you have meaningful thoughs and ideas we can share and learn from. I promise to engage you or anyone relative to their views. Experience has shown me that if we talk it out, like the “family” we are as a community, everyone wins. So, re-emerge as who you really are and join in the conversation so we can place more value on your ideas. Your voice, positive or negative, has value.

  5. Regardless of his/her “real” name or “sex” or pay grade – lets discuss the LIES ! …..Lies, from my perspective, usually are to “gain” something by NOT telling the truth…..If the staff or Manager were not telling the truth then someone was going to BENEFIT.. i would guess that the benefit was going to be financial, since as they say “MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL”….

    Lying and corruption go hand in hand….lets find out who did it and WHY !

    Ira
    .

  6. No firing squad needed–just some honesty and accountability. Trust in our elected officials is at rock-bottom, beginning at the highest echelons of our nation’s governance and it seems to have infected our local system as well. No one can tell the truth and the reason is usually to profit from the lies either through political patronage from well-heeled donors and lobbyists, or a direct monetary advantage such as direct or indirect investments in local public and private projects approved by the elected officials. I’ve tried to be calm and objective in this comment, but it hides a raging anger lately fueled by the actions of my local elected officials who want Boca Raton “to grow up,” as one developer put it. The next city elections can’t come too soon.

  7. The ultimate power of the people comes on election day. We have a great democratic system in this country. However, it is flawed, because in the current configuration it allows those with money, to unfairly influence candidates and ultimately elected officials.

  8. Al Zlucaro is right on. He isn’t as direct as I want to be. No organization can function if the employees lie to the executives. Ask Volkswagon. Our City Council gets paid next to nothing for the effort they “give” to all of us. The Council prides itself on “The Staff “. Leif Ahnell and George Brown are employees of the City. They work for us and can only be fired by the Council. The Council takes the heat on all issues while Leif and George remain faceless to the citizens. THROW THEM OUT NOW. And as is the practice in cities where wrong doing exists, they go with no retirement package.

  9. In todays environment, we have Federal, State, County and City Governments failing to take and action and do the right
    thing when it comes to employees lying and cheating without any consequences. Instead of being fired, some are put on
    on a paid leave for months, sometimes years, and we, the tax payer continues to pay! I find it despicable that nothing is done and to make matters worse, if they have an inkling that they are going to lose their job, they will retire prior to getting fired, still enabling them in most circumstances to collect their salaries for a lifetime! Obviously, we are fools!
    Our only option to make the Council accountable is by electing candidates who acknowledge that they work for the residents who are entitled to respect and an opinion, and the Council to act accordingly.

  10. The city’s narrative all along was that purpose of purchasing this property was for a restaurant. Now that you did the work to prove what really happened they are back tracking and calling for a comprehensive waterfront plan. Thank you Al for putting the work in and holding our elected officials to the original purpose of acquiring the property

    The excerpt below is from the Sept 10th 2015 issue of BocaMag.com. See Mayor Whelchel’s direct quotes

    ——————
    BocaMag.com
    Written By Randy Shultz
    9/10/2015

    Park dreams?

    In writing about negotiations between Boca Raton and Hillstone over the proposed Houston’s restaurant on the Wildflower property, I heard from residents who claim that the city council talked seriously about using the land for a park when the council approved buying it in 2009.

    So I called Susan Whelchel, who was mayor at the time. She disagrees.

    Not only was a restaurant the priority, Whelchel told me, the council—which also included current members Susan Haynie and Mike Mullaugh—hoped that the restaurant would generate enough money for the city to buy adjoining property to the north. That land, Whelchel said, would be for the park that some residents want to be on the Wildflower site. That’s why the council in 2009 targeted $500,000 per year for the base lease fee. Then, as now, Whelchel said, the council wanted to create a mini public waterfront with dining as an amenity.

    Link:
    http://bocamag.com/blog/2015/09/10/where-delray-is-headed-and-setting-the-record-straight-on-the-wildflower-site-among-other-burning-issues/

  11. @Keith,
    The facts are stubborn. Memories become what we want them. Below is a link to two clips combined together from 2009 of Mayor Whelchel. One at the Workshop on the Wildflower and the second at the Council meeting where it was voted to purchase the property. Note her statement at 5:05 where she states she is confident the property will be developed “in the best of good taste as all of our parks”.

    Charets were held in 2011 and scored for outcome. The public clearly wanted urban green space over restaurant. Yet the council pursued a Restaurant. If we take Welchel’s comment to the Sentinel at her word, it suggests that was in her mind all along but it’s not what was said publicly which points to deception. Evidence exposed in this article about the scoring of the City survey to support a Restaurant is damning of the city government.

    https://youtu.be/0e97u-6ah8k

  12. Les, So if I understand this correctly. When the Mayor and council voted on the purchase it was sold to the residents as a park (see video). Of course Mayor Whelchel’s direct quote in the article I posted above stated it was to be a revenue generating restaurant all along. So, of course the city manager got confused and said that it was purchased to be a restaurant on the city website. It does get difficult to remember which version of the truth you are telling and sometimes you get confused.

    It certainly appears the city always intended for it to be a an expensive chain restaurant as Mayor Whelchel stated. They just didn’t count on the public holding them to their word. But as Councilman Singer pointed out at the workshop. It was just a mistake and the narrative about a restaurant has been removed from the city website.

    In any event, now that we are all clear that an expensive chain restaurant was not the intent of the purchase, it appears we are now back on track with the original intent as an active engaging park.

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