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Jeff Green has “resigned” and eventually we will learn the reason why and he has been replaced by Assistant City Administrator Faye Johnson as interim City Administrator.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.

 

 

OIG (Office Inspector General) Audits WPB Travel

OIG (Office Inspector General) Audits WPB Travel

On September 26,2019 I attended the I.A. (Internal Audit) quarterly meeting to discover the OIG audited the City’s “Travel” and “Manatee” Program.

This story will focus of the findings of the OIG report on Travel audit.

First a little information on the OIG which is led by John Carey, a man who’s expertise and experience, if I listed it all would be a story in itself. The OIG is responsible for investigating waste, fraud and abuse. The 29 page report was definitely an eye opener and I point out what I consider the most damaging to the city. At the end of the story you will find 2 website addresses for the OIG. The first will take you to the Official web site the 2nd. will provide the report on travel audit.

Please take the time to read the entire report and while your doing so keep in mind the City Commissioners oversees the City I.A. Dept.

First we need to understand the procedure for “signing off” on travel expenses submitted by the city employee who traveled supposedly for city business.

Previously when I requested a PRR for travel expenses the person approving the expenditure was either. Jeff Green, City Administrator or Dorritt Miller, Assistant City Manager who is no longer employed by the city.

Here are some of the figures reported and can be found on page 25 and the report contains either “Questioned Costs” “Identified Costs” “Avoidable Costs”

Questioned Costs

Finding /Descriptions / Questioned Costs

1 Purchasing Card Violations $ 777,396.56

2 Travel Policy Non-compliance $ 570.34

2 Lack of Travel Expense Report $ 23,450.24

3 Lack of Documentation for Discretionary

Fund Expenditures     $ 1,400.00

5 Former employee Travel Expenditures $ 1,132.20

Total Questioned Costs $ 803,949.34

 

Identified Costs

Finding / Descriptions/ Identified Costs

2 Travel Policy non-compliance.  $ 491.03

4 Non-compliant mileage reimbursement.  $168.01

1 Expenses paid for ineligible expenses (tips

and gratuities.)  $ 135.59

1 Expenses paid for potential improper charges.  $ 242.52

1 Booking fee, late fee, double payment for

hotel room.  $ 353.45

1 Sales tax paid in error.  $ 5,113.21

Total Identified Costs.  $ 6,503.81

 

Avoidable Costs

Finding /Description /Avoidable Costs

1 Lost discounts, upgrades, taxes, fees, tips and

gratuities, and potential improper charges.  $ 20,561.00

2 Potential travel cost savings.  $ 661.00

Total Avoidable Costs.  $ 21,222.00

 

When the OIG finished the audit it made recommendations to the city and can be read on page 8

Management Response Summary: Listed on page 9

City’s Travel Policy: Can be read on page 9 through 13.

The city will “consider” recommendations made by the OIG throughout the report.

OIG official website can be used to view audits and file complaints. http://www.pbcgov.com/oig/

Audit Report

2019-A-0010

City of West Palm Beach Travel

Sept. 9,2019

Can be read here: http://www.pbcgov.com/oig/reports.htm

In closing the City’s IA Dept. discusses the city’s Internal Auditor’s report with questions from the 4 members on the committee and receives answers from City Administrator Jeff Green, City Attorney Kimberly Rothenburg and the manager/director of the dept. that was audited.

These meetings basically run 2-21/2 hours.

This meeting on the OIG report ran ½ hour. Another resident who joins me at the meeting looked at me with surprise and said “It’s over?” My response: “No, it can’t be” as we sat there with every one filing out of the room. I understand why the audit wasn’t discussed. Had to be there.

No Show Commissioners Didn’t Fool Public

9/27/2019 @ 10:00AM

I attended the court hearing where Giddens Security attempted a temporary injunction to stop the no bid contract to PSC Security.
Long story short the court refused the injunction, and the city won. Gidden representatives held out hope for the “Special City Commission” meeting to be held later in the day.
I felt bad for them knowing there would be no meeting because 3 commissioners would be missing.

Below is an article by the PB Post reporter Tony Doris, which reads in part.
“After uproar, West Palm commission to revisit decision to award $8 million no-bid contract. Two commissioners request special meeting for Friday.” The 2 commissioners were Neering and Ryles.
Read the entire story below.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20190926/no-bid-8-million-contract-special-meeting-called-to-revisit-vote

9/27/2019 @ 2:00PM
Myself, along with 20-25 residents attended the City Commission meeting, filled out comment cards while James, Neering, Ryles, City Administer Green, and City Attorney Rothenberg took to the dais.
At 2:15 I stood and asked James how long he would keep us knowing Lambert, Shoaf and Peduzzi were not going to show.
A few minutes later James, a Harvard graduate attorney and 8 year sitting commissioner asked Rothenberg what the procedure was.
Her response was there wasn’t enough commissioners for a quorum so there would be no meeting.   Well played by the city.
Residents knew there wouldn’t be a quorum the day the meeting was posted. What we don’t know is if the commissioners drew straws to see who wouldn’t attend,and who would ask for the meeting.

Below is the agenda, which reads in part: “Resolution No. 328-19 canceling the Security Services Agreement with Professional Security Consultants to provide security services for City facilities and in Northwood.” Read the agenda below. It’s really laughable.

https://www.wpb.org/getattachment/Meetings-Events/Meetings/City-Administration/Special-City-Commission-09-27-2019/09-27-19-Special-Commission-Agenda-Security-Services-Agreement.pdf;

PB Post reporter Tony Doris story “No bid contract stands”

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20190927/no-bid-contract-stands-as-three-wpb-commissioners-skip-meeting?

 

Picture of no show commissioners. James in the center, missing Shoaf, Ryles, City Administrator Jeff Green (click on picture to enlarge) and look how relaxed Green is. Very laid back man at commission meetings or having a beer with Willis Perez of PSC Securities at the Blue Martini.

 

 

Below is a video of Lambert with husband Monty an employee of WGI. Notice  WGI company car. They are on So. Flagler Dr. the day after Lambert and Shoaf voted to pass, against the communities wishes, to build bike lanes and narrow the streets.  Have to wonder what concern it is to WGI for bike lane and narrow streets. I bet this project is over a million dollars. Does WGI have that contract? Does WGI pull the heart strings of James and at least one Commissioner? How did Lambert explain pulling her vote after accepting an invitation from the neighborhood residents? Does it affect WGI and Monty?

Lambert on Flagler with hubby

Curious minds want to know, but don’t wait for a response.

Wondering where you heard the name WGI before? Wonder no more.
“State Ethics Commission OKs probable cause hearing in complaint that West Palm Mayor Keith James has conflict of interest voting for his landlord’s company.” Read the story below.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20190925/just-in-ethics-complaint-against-west-palm-mayor-hearing-scheduled-for-October

PRR, Bank Loan & Gideon Security

Below is my request for PRR for Jeff Green, City Administrator.
From: Sandy Matkivich <sandymac36@aol.com>
Sent: Friday, September 20, 2019 8:39 AM
To: CityClerk <CityClerk@wpb.org>
Subject: PRR Jeff Green
I am requesting City Administrator Jeff Green’s annual salary along with what benefits he receives, and please include any monies he has been reimburse from the city.
I am looking for the entire year of 2018 and 2019 from 1/1 2019 until 9/20/2019
Please acknowledge request received.
Sandy Matkivich

I received a quick response from the city, and imagine my surprise when I was given these figures.
2017-2018     2018-2019
112.13946     115.50364

Read for yourself the city’s response below, and check out staff’s  benefits, courtesy of taxpayers.

Jeff Greens salary

Jeff Green annual salary is $220,000.00/ year.  He misled by $104,496.36.
When I reported this James looked down the dais and Green sat there with a smile on his face.

A PRR is a joke to Green who has misled lied about other requests I have made, like how much the city collected from the fire fee and EMS (Emergency Medical Services) He lied by millions on both requests.

I want readers to take a PRR seriously. Here is a story on the front page of the PB Post on 9/24/19  “County wants to keep records private. Officials want 10 exemptions to public scrutiny; Media attorney’s raise alarm.”

Here’s the con on this. Get this on the book, and then add on the exemptions and lets include city and state.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20190923/palm-beach-county-seeks-to-exempt-certain-public-records-during-2020-legislative-session

Switching gears.
At the City Commission held 9/23/19 Item #11 was pulled. It read: Resolution No.308-19 authorizing settlement of of several lawsuits related to the Waterview Towers Condidominium, Inc; and several individual owners, Leisure Resorts, LLC; Palm Harbor Hotel,LLC; and the city related to development of the upland parcel at Palm Harbor Marina.
In my opinion the City Commissiones had this item pulled, and if true they did the right thing. No free land to developers.

Item #15: “Resolution No. 314-19 and 315-19(F) authorizing the issuance of a Special Obligation Note for a loan in an amount not to exceed $20,000,000 from STI Institutional & Government,Inc. to fund various identified projects”
The city is borrowing 20 million from SunTrust Bank.
After leaving the meeting I noticed Item 8 which reads:Resolution No 303-19 waiving a potential conflict of interest relating to Holland and Knight’s representation of SunTrust Banks, Inc. in connection with a loan to the city. Motion passed. Holland and Knight represents the city of WPB as Federal Lobbyists.
This could be completely innocent but I mistrust city officals and wonder if there is more to this conflict of interest.

The city lists 24 capital improvements it wants to make.
What is missing from the list is any mention of the roads on and around North Flagler Dr. that continually flood, and have for the last 40 years.

What surprised me is (4) Fire Dept. EMS vehicle and (3) Fire Dept.Pumpers. Ask your self Why did the Mayor and Commissioners double the Fire Fee from $50.00 to $100.00 if a bank loan will purchase these 7 unit’s?

When Commissioner James voted for development he always softened the blow by declaring he was going to insist that minorities were given a chance. Let’s see if he meant that.

As you remember a no bid contract was recently awarded to PSC Security with a $8.5 million contract.
Gideon Security, who patrolled certain area’s of the city was not allowed to bid on the contract.

Approxamately 12-15 members of Gideon showed up, in uniform, to request the city re-consider their vote and open the process to bidding. Most speakers made a simple statement using little time, while some were running over the 3 minutes and James stopped them in their tracks.
My heart ached for one woman who tried not to cry when she said she would not have a job at the end of the month.

James responded at the end to the people “trying to pull on their heart strings” and it was  “disingenuous” of them.
Webster Dictionary: disingenuous “not candid or sincere.”  Really, what the hell did he hear when people were pleading for their jobs?

To the question above: Let’s see if he meant that.
All people who pled for their jobs—-all looked like him.

 

Where PSC got it’s start in WPB. Former Mayor Lois Frankel with Willie Perez. They look really close, don’t they.

No Bid Contracts WPB

This story began in 2010 with Mayor Lois Frankel’s 2nd. term as Mayor of WPB, and continues 9 years later.

Let’s start with the City Commission meeting held on 9/9/2019 with item #11 on the agenda.

#11 Resolution No. 290-19 approving a Security Services Agreement with Professional Security Corporation to provide security services for all City facilities and roving services in Northwood.

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA APPROVING A SECURITY SERVICES AGREEMENT WITH PROFESSIONAL SECURITY CORPORATION TO PROVIDE SECURITY SERVICES FOR CITY FACILITIES AND ROVING SECURITY IN NORTHWOOD; WAIVING THE PROCUREMENT ORDINANCES approval for contracts in excess of $50,000 that have not been competitively selected. Section 66-94 of the Procurement Code requires Commission The waiver of the procurement code requirements are necessary to avoid confusion and gaps in responsibility resulting from different security firms serving the downtown street environment.

The City wishes to engage the firm to provide security for the following City facilities, and roving security services in Northwood: City Center, including City Hall, Photographic Museum building, City Plaza -Mandel Public Library -City Parking Garages, including City Center Garage, Clematis Garage, Banyan Garage, Evernia Garage, Sapodilla Garage. -City Municipal Complex -Water Treatment Plant -East Central Region Water Reclamation Facility (Wastewater Plant) Currie Park -City Parks and Youth Empowerment Centers.

What this is all about is making the contract a no bid contract. In other words no other company will be considered, and the contract will be awarded to PSC for 3 years with a possible 2 year extension.

The vote was unanimous and if you have the courage you can view the meeting below.

https://vimeo.com/channels/781232

Below is the contract, and here are the highlights.

for the first year of this Agreement shall be One Million Five Hundred Eighty-Three Thousand Seven Hundred Fifty-Nine and 10/100 Dollars ($1,583,759.10).

$1,583,759.10 x 3 years= $4,751,277.30
Additional 2 years =        $3,167,518.20
5 year total  $7,918,795.50     Do you really believe this figure will not increase ?

“The term of the engagement under the Agreement shall commence on October 1, 2019 and shall continue for a term of three (3) years, subject to renewal or termination as provided in this Agreement.
5.2 Renewal. This Agreement may be renewed upon the mutual agreement of City and Contractor for an additional two (2) year term upon the same terms and conditions.”    Read PSC contract below.

PSC Security Services 2019

What did it take to make this no-bid contract happen? City elite politicians having a few drinks with PSC elite and possibly doing business. Read the story below. One picture is worth a thousand.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20190915/west-palm-beach-security-contract-8m-no-bid-deal-goes-to-city-hall-friend

 

How much does a Police Officer earn in West Palm Beach?  Not enough when you consider how dangerous it is to work in this and other cities.
There goes the fire fund tax money. No new fire trucks and next year it will be the same. Fire Dept. has equipment that needs to be replaced so we must raise the fire fee again.

Here’s where it began.

Posted May 8, 2010      This was during Mayor Lois Frankel 2nd. term. If she had done this in her first term she wouldn’t have seen a second, like Mayor Muoio turning WPB into Copenhagen also her 2nd term. I shudder to think what James will do if re-elected.

“West Palm Beach hires private security for waterfront after denying police raises.”

“When city commissioners on Monday voted to spend $72,000 for a private firm to guard the waterfront, they did so just minutes after denying raises to police.

To the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association, the decision to take money from the city’s strained general fund to pay rent-a-guards to walk the docks for a year was a slap in the face to officers who have been protesting the elimination of step raises this year and what they believe is city misspending.

IPC “is here to work with the city, the mayor and the chief,” said Perez-Borroto, who goes by Willie Perez.

Penque said city cops on duty downtown can handle any security breach at the docks, but DDA director Melissa Wohlust argues that dock guards have different responsibilities from police officers.

On top of monitoring for problems, Wohlust said, IPC guards already stationed downtown take newsletters to businesses, hand out umbrellas to people on Clematis Street and give directions. At the waterfront, the IPC guards will greet visitors and help them tie up their boats.

IPC has handled CityPlace security for years but has been gaining work beyond Clematis Street and the waterfront.

Although security guards cannot arrest criminals, their presence deters crime supporters say.

On April 29, Perez – escorting Frankel through the SunFest protest – admits he spat at and lightly head-butted protester Jim Whalen (the same protester who the next day was involved in an argument with Frankel’s son, Ben Lubin, which led to Lubin’s arrest).

Frankel praises Perez for “dedicating his life to the revitalization of downtown West Palm Beach and the Northwood Area” and for “running a very professional organization.”

Perez’s beef with police goes back to 1993 when he was fired as a Miami police officer for filing six false police reports. He admitted to the accusations at the time, saying he hadn’t properly filled out the forms, but he was never charged.

IPC’s waterfront contract was approved by a 3-1 vote of the city commission. Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell was the lone dissenter and Commissioner Jeri Muoio recused herself because her son-in-law works for IPC.”

You have read the highlights I wanted to point out to readers.  Read the entire story below.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/article/20100508/NEWS/812034511

 

1/2016 (BULLDOG)   I would recommend subscribing to Bulldog, they are on top of everything.

“Congresswoman Lois Frankel’s endorsement of a private security guard firm whose owner poured $11,000 into her campaign after her support helped him land a sweet, no-bid government contract appears to have run afoul of House ethics rules prohibiting business endorsements.

Ethics principles restrict how members of Congress may interact with commercial enterprises.

“Members and staff must avoid becoming too closely affiliated with any commercial entity, in order to avoid any appearance that they are accruing benefits by virtue of improper influence exerted from their position in Congress, or are dispensing special favors,” the House Ethics Manual says.

As FloridaBulldog.org  reported last month, however, records and interviews show that Rep. Frankel was actively involved last year in pushing a company called Professional Security Consultants (PSC) for the lucrative job of providing a team of unarmed “security ambassadors” to the Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority (DDA) to enhance safety with foot and bicycle patrols in places like Riverwalk.

DDA minutes show that Democrat Frankel introduced the company to DDA officials, and later met with a DDA delegation about the matter.

The DDA soon hired PSC without seeking competitive bids. PSC’s contract continues this year with the program’s budget doubled to $200,000 with help from the city.

According to DDA board chairman Michael Weymouth, “Lois spoke highly of the work they had done for the West Palm Beach DDA when she was mayor.”

The company also featured Frankel’s official photograph and endorsement of PSC and its regional boss, Willie Perez, in a PowerPoint marketing pitch to the DDA’s board of directors before its unanimous June 12, 2014 vote to hire PSC without seeking competitive bids.

Frankel herself wrote a “To Whom It May Concern” letter of recommendation for Perez under letterhead that identifies her as “Representative Lois J. Frankel Member of Congress.”

“It was with his guidance and the use of his Security Ambassadors that West Palm Beach saw two important neighborhoods, our downtown and Northwood Village business district, transform from dangerous places to friendly and safe venues,” says Frankel’s Dec. 26, 2013 letter.

Frankel’s letter does not mention PSC by name. Still, the company used it less than a month later as part of its successful competitive bid package to Pompano Beach’s Northwest Community Redevelopment Agency for a  $300,000-a-year contract  to operate a security ambassadors program there. The contract is for three years, according to CRA records.

CRA director Nguyen Tran said he has never spoken to Frankel and does not recall her being actively involved in events leading up to the contract.

Frankel, whose coastal district stretches south to include downtown Fort Lauderdale, declined to be interviewed.

“She loves Willie, obviously. She recommended him to the Fort Lauderdale DDA because of what he did when she was mayor,” of West Palm Beach, said Lyons. “They called the West Palm Beach DDA who connected them with Willie.

A page from PSC’s PowerPoint marketing presentation to the Fort Lauderdale DDA in June 2014. Rep. Frankel’s office said Monday the congresswoman “had no idea” PSC was using her image or statements to market itself.

DDA executive director Chris Wren said in an interview that the owner of a local security firm inquired about submitting a proposal before PSC was hired, but was told the job would not be bid. Wren said, too, that the board rejected his recommendation that bids be obtained.

The contract with PSC was signed Sept. 30, 2014. Federal records show that one month earlier, PSC founder and owner Moshe Alon, of California, made two donations totaling $4,500 to Lois J. Frankel for Congress. Since then the former Israeli secret service agent and bodyguard for the late Hollywood star Elizabeth Taylor gave another $6,400 to Frankel’s campaign in seven contributions – the latest last September.

According to the Code of Ethics for Government Service, House members may help constituents obtain information regarding government contracts and deal with government regulations, but cannot “discriminate unfairly by the dispensing of special favors or privileges to anyone, whether for remuneration or not.”

House rules say members must also “avoid becoming too closely affiliated” with businesses to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

The Fort Lauderdale DDA’s security guard contract isn’t the first government contract involving PSC regional boss Perez to raise questions of favoritism by Rep. Frankel.

In 2010, the Palm Beach Post reported about police union anger toward IPC International, the security guard company where Perez was then regional manager, after city commissioners hired it to guard the city’s waterfront. The paper also reported that Perez was periodically serving “as Mayor Lois Frankel’s bodyguard.”

In an editorial several days later, the paper expressed concern about a “perception of favoritism from Mayor Frankel’s relationship with the security company’s regional manager.

“Mayor Frankel denies that Willie Perez gives her free bodyguard services, accompanying her to events downtown. Instead, she says, he is accompanying her on weekly inspection tours,” the editorial said. “Still the mayor gushes over Mr. Perez’s company, Chicago-based IPC International, and he keeps getting city contracts…to patrol downtown, city hall, the Northwood Business District, Broadway and now the waterfront.”

Universal Protective Service acquired IPC in 2013, and Perez soon went to work for PSC, bringing at least some of those government contracts with him.”

Read the entire story below.

https://www.floridabulldog.org/2016/01/11964/

Keith James actions, in my opinion shows total lack of respect for our Police Department by awarding a contract to PSC.  Does he have any intention of replacing the 25 officers who are retiring? If I have a problem I call the police not a security guard who has no arrest powers, but can hand out umbrella’s, give directions and tie a boat to the dock.

Along with promoting city staff and costing taxpayers over a million dollars for 6 employees he has hired a man for $125,000.00/ year to serve as  “Dignitary Protection”. Mr. Key’s recently accompanied James to Columbia, SC and that trip cost taxpayers over $1,800.00 dollars for a couple of day’s. Why does James do this?  Actually anyone can do it if your drunk with power and have taxpayers money on hand.

Commissioner’s you need to start doing a little investigation on item’s you pass, and forget what “Staff Recommends”.  Staff wants what the Mayor wants or they can update their resume. Hopefully you are aware James can’t fire you, but residents can and will.

See the expense report below.

Gregory A Key July 31 – August 03, 2019 (Columbia, Sc.

One picture is worth a thousand words, and I have the picture, but unable to upload due to message “Sorry this file type is not permitted for security reasons.” I will describe it and if you want to view it e-mail me and I will forward it to you. 5 people standing, Keith James, woman may be his wife, Willie Perez, Unknown, and Joe Ianno. It was a Campaign Fundraiser for Keith James for Mayor. The best part of the picture the PSC logo. No wonder I can’t upload it for this story.

One final thought. I wonder if PSC founder and owner Moshe Alon contributed to Keith James campaign fund as he did for Lois Frankel?

 

 

 

 

 

 

North & South Flagler Drive

Let’s start this story with some history concerning North & South Flagler Drive.

There is a section of North Flagler Drive that is prone to flooding between 29th Street and 34th Street. This is the stretch of road that cars are often lost to deep water. The deepest flooding along North Flagler Drive is specifically at 34th Street, 32nd Street, and 31st Street.

Residents have complained about this stretch of road for 40 years. For 40 years they have requested and then begged city leaders for relief. It was not to be. So how many served as mayor for 40 years from 1979-2019?  In 1991 residents voted for a “Strong Mayor” form of government of which 5 mayors could have made the difference—they didn’t. Total of 14 previous mayors who decided flooding on North Flagler was not as important as other issues. Below is the list of mayors.

Helen Wilkes 1978 – 1980 (First woman to serve as mayor,) James M. Adams 1980 – 1981, Michael D. Hyman 1981 – 1982,  Eva W. Mack 1982 -1984 (First African American mayor,)  Dwight Baber 1984 – 1985, Carol Roberts 1985 – 1986,  Pat Pepper Schwab 1988 – 1989,  James O. Poole 1989 – 1991,  John F. “Jeff” Koons 1991 (Served for eight months)

Strong mayor (1991-present)

Nancy M. Graham 1991 – 1999 (First strong mayor,)  Joel Daves 1999 – 2003 (Lost re-election.) Lois Frankel 2003 – 2011,  Jeri Muoio 2011- 2019,  Keith James 2019.

In 40 years there have been countless City Commissioners who along with the mayor’s did nothing. Looking at the commissioners on today’s dais I would guess a couple of them have not reached the age of 40. Think of this. The people who decide our fate weren’t born when residents first reached out for flooding relief.  Yes, commissioners that’s how long they have been waiting.

North Flagler Drive is in City commissioner Kelly Shoaf district.

South Flagler Drive is in City Commissioner Christina Lambert district.

Present Day

On the agenda for 8/26/2019 item # 17 concerned South Flagler Drive and the city’s attempt to drastically change it’s appearance with a design which many consider to be dangerous to drivers, pedestrians and bike riders. The last line on the agenda item reads: “Fiscal Note: No fiscal impact.” Really? Below is a story in the Palm Beach Post and their story states “The project is being funded through the recent 1 percent sales tax increase.” So the city is spending tax dollars on the project. How much tax money will this project cost, and with people on South Flagler against the move, wouldn’t the tax money be better spent on North Flagler Drive where for 40 years flooding has impacted peoples lives?

If you can find time to listen to the meeting and hear people’s comments pay attention when Lambert started reading the resolution, and residents had the audacity to show displeasure and James responded with HEY, HEY, HEY, and threatened to clear the room, stating “you had your chance to speak.” Well, you did all of 3 minutes.

Then before the vote he asked commissioners if they had any more questions. Lambert went on for 5 minutes making a statement and I never heard a question. I believe she was attempting to justify the vote she knew was coming. Watch the meeting below.

https://vimeo.com/channels/781232

“Commissioners Neering and Joe Peduzzi voted against the change, while Christina Lambert and Kelly Shoaf voted for it. With Commissioner Richard Ryles absent, Mayor Keith James voted to break the tie, supporting his administration’s project.”

If Commissioner Ryles was absent, why didn’t they continue the item as it held so much importance to so many?

The people who voted in favor of the resolution, James, Shoaf and Lambert could bring it back for re-consideration, and they should.

Why didn’t Commissioner Shoaf fight for the tax dollars for her end of Flagler?

Both ladies are up for re-election, and my concern is they will retain their seat because they will not be challenged.

Controversial bike trail on S. Flagler Drive will narrow lanes, give waterfront street a new look. Read entire story below.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20190827/controversial-bike-trail-on-s-flagler-drive-will-narrow-lanes-give-waterfront-street-new-look

 

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