Now James Wants Transparency & Integrity

It appears the Mayor was out and about Thursday and was surprised when Channel 5 reporter  Wanda Moore aimed a microphone at him with more pesky questions concerning the PSC no-bid contract. Will it ever end for James?

Here was the question; “You had said that because of new information that has been brought to your attention you had changed your mind. Can you elaborate on what that information was?”

Mayor James said he has asked Johnson, who replaced Green, for a full review.

“She did a full review of the process and of every step taken, including the decision by staff to cancel or reject all bids without my knowledge during my first week in office,”     That’s his quote, and to add insult to injury here’s another  he gave in the same interview.  “it was important for me to start over, for the sake of transparency  and for the integrity of our selection process.”  Yes, he said that too.

I have watched and listened to James for 8 years when he served as a commissioner, and noticed when he is being less that truthful  he has a “tell”.  His lips move.

Reached on Thursday by phone, Green said: “I’m not sure what the mayor is talking about. Legal and procurement (departments) were both involved in the process.”

All along I have written that the city should replace Kimberly Rothenburg as the City Attorney if for no other reason how she interprets the City Charter and advises the City Commissioners, and James stating decision by staff to cancel or reject all bids.   She’s an integral part of staff.  What’s he waiting for?

You can watch and listen to the interview below, and please take the time to read the complaint and view the pictures filed by Giddens Security.

https://www.wptv.com/news/local-news/investigations/west-palm-mayor-controversial-security-contract-stemmed-from-lack-of-info-from-ex-city-administator

 

Why They Put Erasers on Pencils

Keith James has done an about face and I’m guessing the public pressure along with a second complaint filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics  is beginning to affect him. He wants a do-over. Read the story below.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20191015/just-in-west-palm-mayor-orders-do-over-of-8-million-no-bid-security-guard-contract

To all residents a sincere “Thank You” for caring enough to stand up and speak out, send e-mails, make phone calls when you become aware of how your life, health and safety are being affected by decisions being made in City Hall. A special Thank You to those with the courage to snap a picture and send it on. Many of your pictures tell a story and many of us are grateful for it.

I attend City Commission meetings when a hot button issue is being discussed and listen to residents find the courage to stand at the podium and express their opinion on another high rise or tearing up their neighborhood streets.
I listen to people who live on the other side of the city where construction wont effect them but they come to support other neighborhoods. It will be a matter of time before they need support.
I also listen to the invited guests who appear to praise any project the city wants moved forward.

The Commissioners need an Attorney to advise and represent them on issues when City Attorney Kimberly Rothenburg interprets the City Charter to have the outcome the Mayor wants. Commissioners, she works for him, not you, and you work for us, not the Mayor. No more excuses you voted the way you did because you wanted to support the mayor. Try this, support the people who put you in office. Listen to the residents who appear before you with information you are not receiving from the city. I believe there is more cover up under the dome than Eskimo’s  use in December.
I would request you asking for 10 Attorney recommendations from James then disregard those names.
Attorney’s Peduzzi and Ryles no friends. Hire the best attorney you can find and give him a copy of the City Charter and lets see what happens. It can’t possibly get worse.

Jeff Green has “resigned” and eventually we will learn the reason why and he has been replaced by Assistant City Administrator Faye Johnson as interim City Administrator. This is a good start and in my opinion there is one more on the dais who should be replaced and that’s the City Attorney Rothenburg along with her advice.

James never appreciates what he has right in front of his face. Always wants to throw loyal employees aside to do a country wide search for something better as in Chief Sara Mooney and Internal Auditor Beverly Mahaso, both strong women with ethics, values and experience. It appears to me James has difficulty with strong women.
Johnson has the experience and should not wear the title “interim” for long.

I offer a suggestion. Back decisions up and put the people who were in place on Sept. 30 back where they belong. The ones that couldn’t pull the Mayors heartstrings, but sure pulled ours.

 

Let PSC patrol what they did before they were awarded the contract, and lets hope they do a better job. Double click on picture to enlarge and read caption.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seven months in office and James has his second complaint filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics. His first complaint will be heard on 10/25/19 in Tallahassee. Below is his second.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20191015/new-security-firm-files-ethics-complaint-over-west-palmrsquos-8m-no-bid-contract

Where’s the re-do on PSC Contract?

I recently received the Draft Agenda for the upcoming Commissioners meeting to be held 10/21/19 and there are 16 items on the list. Not on the list was a re-do of the no-bid security contract.
A couple of days later I received a Revised Draft Agenda, and thought it would surely be added on here but no luck, just 16 items.

This no-bid contract was awarded to PSC (Professional Security Consultants) and Willie Perez is  the Regional Security Manager.

Please bear with me but I am receiving more requests to receive WPB Watch and while something you read may seem familiar to you, they are not to new readers. In answer to questions concerning forwarding the stories yes, feel free to pass the story on. It’s a way of getting the word out and hopefully motivate voters.
Here’s a recap.

9/9/2019 City Commission Meeting:
#11 on the agenda
“Resolution No. 290-19 approving a Security Service Agreement with Professional Security Corporation to provide security services for all City facilities and roving services in Northwood.”

Below is the video of the meeting, what was said, and by whom. You can scan ahead to 1.28:00 when the contract is discussed. If you do please listen carefully to City Attorney Kimberly Rothenburg and the legal advice she gave commissioners. If Ms. Rothenburg knew she was misleading commissioners she should resign. If she believed she was giving correct answers, we can do better with a city attorney. She should resign.

https://vimeo.com/channels/781232/359054990

Below is not verbatim, but close enough to advice given by City Attorney.

Here’s what I can tell you. Commissioners can approve the contract that hasn’t gone through the process provided in the code. I don’t believe the court can tell the city what to put in the procurement code. Well have to see what the court says.

Is she correct about  I don’t believe the court can tell the city what to put in the procurement code. How about what’s already in the procurement code? Can the City change the code to suit their purpose and help their drinking buddies gain an 8 million dollar contract? Picture was taking at the Blue Martini and shows buddies Mayor Keith James and PSC Willie Perez (seated) Double click the picture to enlarge.  There are so many politicians meeting at the Blue Martini it’s being referred to as the 2nd. City Hall.

Residents were upset with the vote after it passed unanimously  and let the city know in no uncertain terms. The city had to formulate a plan and do it fast.

Sept. 27,2019 a Special City Commission meeting was called to further discuss the no-bid contract, and possibly rescind their vote. The word was already on the street there would be no meeting because there would be no quorum. Street was right, and James kept us about 15 min. waiting for 3 commissioners we knew would be a no show. What part did Commissioners play? Commissioners Peduzzi, Lambert and Shoaf were no shows. All we needed was 1 more to join Neering and Ryles and make a difference but surprisingly they all had other commitments.

Joseph A. Peduzzi, P.A. Personal Injury Attorney. Christine Lambert, Managing Director at Productive Power. Kelly Shoaf, Founded The Westley Group / Principal Partner.

A Managing Director, Principal Partner and Attorney couldn’t break away for an hour to attend a very important meeting. I believe Neering and Ryles are ready to meet again. Who has the authority to place it back on the agenda? Are we going to be told it’s too late to do anything? Are they hoping we will forget and just go away? If we allow it that’s exactly what will happen. At the last Commission meeting Commissioner Neering actually stated he made a mistake with his vote and apologized. I have more respect for him making the admission because I believe people learn from their mistakes. Never make mistakes, never learn the lesson. A sincere Thank You Commissioner Neering.

One final thought. If you are a regular reader of WPB Watch I have mentioned I am not one to believe in coincidence. How’s this for one.

RMA (Redevelopment Management Associates) a management and consulting firm specializing in providing redevelopment, economic development, urban design, real estate and marketing consulting won the bid (it’s a long story) to oversee the CRA in WPB. The man put in charge is named Jon Ward, Executive Director. Approximately 2 years ago their contract ended and the Commissioners were to vote on a new contract. Staff recommended one year extension. At the time it was Commissioner James who stated they were doing such a good job, lets extend it for 2 years. Done Deal. What happened?

The WPB Internal Auditor, Beverly Mahaso, has placed the CRA on the schedule to be audited early next year. Jon Ward was quoted in the PB Post as saying he didn’t work for the city and they had no right to audit the CRA. Hey, Mr. Ward you are spending millions of taxpayer dollars. Well Mr Ward, just resigned. Seems James wants to return it to in house operation. Audit/resign probably a coincidence.

 

Is WPB Starting The Healing Process?

10/7/2019 When I walked into the City Commissioner Chamber for the regular meeting I saw a woman sitting in Jeff Green’s seat and knew it was Faye (Outlaw) Johnson. We gained Ms. Johnson in a swap for Dorritt Miller who is now Assistant Administrator for the county.
In my opinion the city of WPB won big in the exchange.
The only problem I have with James appointing Ms. Johnson. She is the Interim Administrator..(An INTERIM appointment is defined as a position filled on a temporary basis while a search is being conducted.)
This mayor and his searches. He already has the best he is going to have in Ms. Johnson who is recognized for her honesty, integrity and ethics, which is hard to recognize if you lack them.

I wondered where Green was and thought he may be at the Blue Martini with his buddy Willie Perez having a beer, but then thought no, James and Peduzzi were at the meeting and they all have a few together.

The story in the PB Post, by Tony Doris can be read below. There were parts of the story that caught my attention for instances:

“West Palm Beach City Administrator Jeff Green resigns,”
Do you believe he resigned, or given the choice resign or be fired? My opinion James should have fired him not allowing him to resign so he can receive thousands of tax payer dollars called a city pension. I wonder how much his separation package was? I wonder if Green now realizes how those men and women felt who stood before them asking for a 2 week extension on the Giddens contract. Petrified they would lose their job.

James:
“Recently he has taken political heat for the no-bid deal to Professional Security Consultants”
“An effort to establish a two-lane bikeway on South Flagler Drive”
“a proposed deal to trade city waterfront land in exchange for allowing a hotel at the Palm Harbor Marina and ending potentially expensive litigation.”

The Mayor and City Administrator, along with the City Attorney are the powers behind city government.
City Administrator Jeff Green supposedly brought political heat on James. He’s gone

City Attorney Rothenburg told the mayor and commissioners they could vote yes on the no-bid contract along with her advice on South Flagler, and it was OK to give away millions of city land. Her advice has already cost taxpayers on 2 of the 3 a lawsuit. How in this world can commissioners and the mayor trust her legal advice? She should join Green.

A Lame Duck is an elected official whose successor has already been, or in the near-term will be, elected. James, the first black strong mayor of WPB who could have done some great things for the city has failed in only 7 months in office.

The commissioners who refused to listen to residents and instead accepted the word of Green and Rothenburg as bible, hopefully will be replaced in March 2020, and the city can began to heal. When it’s over—no pulling on my heartstrings.

PB Post reporter Tony Doris story below.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20191008/just-in-turmoil-at-west-palm-city-hall-city-manager-jeff-green-is-out

Giddens Lawsuit, This Will Cost Taxpayers $$$

Here it is, Less than 6 months into James first term as Mayor and we have a lawsuit. The entire court documents can be read below, here are the highlights.

Filed on 9/13/2019 in the Circuit Court of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit.

Plaintiff: Giddens Security Corporation Vs. The City of West Palm Beach.

Court documents state in part: “The underlying controversy involves the erroneous, arbitrary, capricious, anticompetitive and illegal actions of the city in proposing to award the 5-year $7.9 Million contract to PSC in clear violation of the City’s own Charter, it’s competitive Procurement Code and other requirements and policies.”

Ten (10) Security Co. submitted a RFP (Request for Proposal) and all met the deadline (4/17/19) to submit their proposal.

Giddens was asking the court for “temporary and permanent injunctive relief against the City.”

Parties, Jurisdiction, and Venue

#20 “Via a letter emailed the morning of September 9, 2019, Plaintiff, through its undersigned counsel, alerted the Mayor, the City Commissioners, and the City Attorney that such a contract was potentially illegal, contrary to the City Charter, and contrary to the City Procurement Code, and requested the resolutionbe “tabled” for two weeks to allow for more time to investigatethe circumstances (Exhibit C), (September 9, 2019 letter)

#21 “The City refused to delay the matter, Instead, at it’s regularly scheduled meeting the evening of September 9, the Commission voted unanimously to approve the contract with PSC.”

April 18,2019 The city sent via e-mail communication “The city is hear by cancelling RFP No. 18-19-207 & 18-19-208.” Letter states the “City will re-issue the solicitation in the near future.” View Exhibit B

Sept.9, 2019 Letter from Smith & Associates (representing Giddens) to City Attorney Kimberly Rothenburg requesting the city postpone their vote on selecting a security company for 2 weeks. View Exhibit C

Read entire court filing here:     Giddens history 1st filing

Outcome

9/27/2019 Order Denying Motion for Temporary Injnctive Relief without prejudice. leaving Giddens “to file another motion to set for hearing”

Read court’s 1 page decision here:      Giddens Judge’s ruling

9/27/2019 The day the court’s decision was handed down the city held a Special City Commission Meeting.

Resolution No. 328-19 canceling the Security Services Agreement with Professional Security Consultants to provide security services for City facilities and in Northwood.

I attended both the court hearing and the “Special” Commission Meeting.  Attending the City Commission meeting were approxamately 15-20 residents along with Gidden’s attorney and members of their staff and reporters.

3 Commissioners were absent, Lambert, Shoaf and Peduzzi.

On the dais were Commissioners Neering,  Ryles, James, Jeff Green and Kimberly Rothenburg. After waiting 15 minutes (of watching most of them texting) after the meeting was to start I stood and asked James how long he would keep us waiting, wasting our time when most of the people in chambers knew 3 commissioners would be a no show and a quorm would not be met. No quorm, no meeting, go home. We went home.

The agenda for the City Commission meeting for 10/7/19 has been posted and contains 18 items for discussions. Not on the agenda is one word concerning the no-bid contract. I’m assuming they hope this will go away, and it will if people allow it. I would love to have residents show up and use their 3 minutes of comments to ask commissioners and James if they plan to place it back on the agenda, and show up to vote the issue. There are residents that show up to speak out about issues and don’t live in that district but support the residents that do. If we want to make change, no matter where we live that’s what must happen. Please join me at Monday’s (10/7/19) and voice your opinion. Hopefully commissioners will see voters and with 3 up for election in March we may make them nervous.

Below are the court documents dated 9/19/2019 which contain the lawsuit filed by Giddens Security. What do you think will happen if the other 9 Security firms also file suit for the no-bid contract?

Giddens lawsuit

 

 

 

 

 

 

PSC on the Job. Do You Feel Secure?

10/1/2019 is the day the no bid contract for PSC Security took effect. So how are things going?  Double click picture to enlarge.

This is a picture taken at Currie Park in WPB. on their first day of the contract.  No park in America is safe from rapes, robberies, assaults and murders and Currie Park is not immune from problems with the homeless, major drug bust coming in via boat. If I visited the park on 10/1/19 I would feel safe and secure knowing my car was safe in the parking lot from theft or vandalism.

I showed this picture to a friend who visits Rosemary Square often and she told me PSC Security are always in a group or on their phone talking or texting

I must admit I have always admired people who could multitask like texting and being aware of what was happening around them.

I have read PSC contract with the city and can’t find where in the contract they are stationed in the North End on the city where crimes of murder happen on a regular basis.

If you are a reader of WPB Watch and the PB Post you are aware of the city’s no-bid 8 million dollar contract challenged by Glidden’s Security which the Judge’s decision favoring the city. Later on in the day a special City Commission meeting requested by Commissioner’s Neering and Ryles was held to re-visit the contract. You are also aware that Commissioners Lambert, Shoaf and Peduzzi were a no show due to conflicting schedules. I don’t care if all 3 commissioners are CEO of a Fortune 500 company, they were elected to take care of city business and protect us from a tyrannical mayor.

The 9/23/2019 meeting is posted below and I hope residents find the time to watch and listen to the residents who spoke out against the contract and the 10-12 Gidden’s employee’s who looked like Neering, Ryles and James. I wanted you to see/ hear one particular employee  stated she was homeless living in a park until Gidden gave her a job a paycheck and enabled her to get off the streets. If she lost her job she feared she would be homeless again.  Another employee, fighting back tears, said she had nowhere to go if she lost her job. Listen to James tell the owner of Gidden’s how it was disingenuous of him to parade his employees before them in an attempt to “pull at out heartstrings”

https://vimeo.com/channels/781232

Note to City Commissioners: After you received pushback from residents concerning your vote you made fools of us all by holding a meeting to further discuss the PSC contract when you knew damn well you wouldn’t have a quorum. Well get together and demand it’s placed back on the next City Commission meeting agenda, and show up. While your at it put pressure on James to terminate City Administrator Jeff Green along with City Attorney Kimberly Rothenburg. You can use the same reason we will be using to remove you from office. NO CONFIDENCE.

The day James was sworn in as mayor here are some of his statement as reported in the PB Post.

“Because you believe as I do, that everyone who lives in this city should have a say in the city. Because you believe as I do, that our quality of life is grounded in caring for one another. Opportunity is our mantra and diversity is our strength. I will serve that way. I will lead our city that way.”

James said his comments about encouraging caring were meant to set a tone for his administration.

“One of the hallmarks of our country, at least historically, has been extending a helping hand. It always comes out when we have a catastrophe such as a hurricane. That’s when we truly see a sense of community. I would like to have that sense of reaching out, helping others, permeating our city even when we’re not in a crisis. That’s a message I want to get out there … We are stronger as a community if we continue to look for opportunities to lend a helping hand to our neighbors.”

Read the entire story below. 6 months in office and he has set the tone for the remaining 31/2 years.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20190405/teary-keith-james-sworn-in-as-first-african-american-strong-mayor-calls-for-caring-community

On Oct. 25, 2019 James is to travel to Tallahassee and appear before the Florida State Commission on Ethics to answer a complaint filed against him. I don’t know if they can remove him from office or not, but there is always the Governor.