Who Is Steve Hoffman?

Steve Hoffman is one of WPB best kept secrets. Mr Hoffman has worked through four mayor’s, Graham, Davis, Frankel, and Muoio. His job description is Grants Compliance Officer for the City of West Palm Beach. Mr. Hoffman is responsible for tracking the dollars spent against grants received, and to insure all money is allocated, in the time frame allowed. I will offer one example of the city’s ineffectiveness to do this job. HOME grant.

On May 23,2014 the Internal Auditors meeting was held. In attendance were:
Sylvia Moffett City Commissioner, Chairperson
David Rosenstein Mayor’s Designee Committee Member
Len Fintzy Member-At-Large Committee Member
Harvey Caspari Member-At-Large Committee Member
Peter Camacho Member-At-Large Committee Member

The committee members listed above are all volunteers who dedicate their time in an effort to assist WPB to become a better city. Also present were Commissioner’s Robinson & James, Roger Strout- City Internal Auditor, Jeff Green -City Administrator, Michelle Sias-Director of Finance, Michael Fetterman -Marcum,LLP (Outside Auditor’s) These are the main players present at the May meeting.

Here are a few highlights from that meeting.
Commissioner Robinson made mention of HOME funds which totaled $709,942.00 and questioned if these funds were pending, or did the funds have to be returned.
Mr. Green responded he hoped the city would not have to return the funds.

Mr Caspari made a request to obtain the schedule to see how much of the expenditure was made against the awarded grant amount. Mr Strout mentioned that he requested the information from Steve Hoffman and to date has not received it. Commissioner Robinson stated he has been waiting 2 years for this information, and gave an example of a grant for a bike patrol worth $110,000.00, and because the money went unspent, the city lost the funds.

Mr Hoffman supposedly has completed the grants report, but wants administration to review it before presenting it to the Audit Committee. Really?

Mr. Strout requested that the finance department forward to the Audit Dept. and Committee members a copy of Mr Hoffman’s report before the next Audit Committee meeting. Mr. Green, city administrator agreed to this request.

Mayor Designee, David Rosenstein indicated that “the Internal Auditor is remiss in not pressing management to comply with his request in a timely fashion. The root cause for the delay is lack of people, but he must get his requested information in a timely manner to avoid fraud.”

Now here is where this writer is confused: What action does Mr. Rosenstein suggest Mr. Strout do in order to receive reports needed to do his auditing job, when Commissioner Robinson has been requesting this information for two years.

What is written above was taken from the minutes of the May 23,2014 meeting and approved at the July 18,2014 meeting by the Committee Members.

No meeting was held in June and Commissioner Moffett suggested the audit meet every other month instead of monthly. The committee members want to keep it monthly.
Now we jump ahead to the meeting held on July 18,2014 The people listed above were present at this meeting also joined by Dorritt Miller, Deputy City Administrator. This meeting was hot!

The city’s Grants Compliance Officer Steve Hoffman was requested in May to attend the July meeting, to answer to non compliance of grants. Mr. Hoffman was a no show and finance director, Michelle Sias told the committee members he was on 2 1/2 weeks vacation. Audit committee member, Harvey Caspari was not pleased with that answer and requested his displeasure be placed on record.

Commissioner Robinson also voiced displeasure saying he has requested grant compliance information since 2012 and to date, has not received the information. The commissioner continued to say, administration decided not to give grant information to commissioners and abruptly left the meeting, saying, he had 8 months left as a city commissioner, and he intends to continue coming to audit meetings when his term expires and then he left the meeting stating “I know where all of bodies are buried”

If Commissioner Robinson has information concerning city business, is it not his duty to the residents to expose wrong doings? He has already stated he is not seeking another term, so what has he to lose? He should give residents a fighting chance to remove, from the city, leaders that fear what will be exposed.

The Auditor’s May 23, 2014 request for the Finance Department to forward to him, copies of the grant manager’s report and bank reconciliation records from finance before the next audit meeting, was not met. Deputy Administrator, Dorritt Miller summed It up as a miscommunication between departments.

City Auditor insisted he was clear and have the two e-mails to show, and offered to resend them to the Finance Dept; but Ms. Miller said there is no need for e-mails when the departments are across the hall from each other and the auditor can just walk to the department for request. My interpretation of her comment is for God’s sake don’t leave a paper trail for some nosey resident to request a PRR or it can become a case for he said-she said. Always a good idea to back up statements with a paper trail.

David Rosenstein, Mayor’s Designee, suggested City Auditor Roger Strout adjust his number of yearly audit’s to a more reasonable number. I suggest Mr Strout, who has 30 years in the business realizes what he and his staff can accomplish if he was to receive much needed, requested information from departments to complete his audits.

Marcum ,LLP the city external auditor reported the city has not done a monthly bank reconciliation in the past year. This means the city has not balanced it’s checkbook with bank statements. Who runs a city like this?

The city places a lien on residents who don’t pay their water bills, and it is then placed on their county tax bill for collection. The problem is residents who have paid the bill have not had the lien’s removed, and residents are up in arms because it is two years later and they want relief. The city is fixing the problem. People are working Sat. 7/19 and 7/26 in an attempt to bring the records up to date. Who runs a city like this?

Some good news from the city: On Monday July 21 it was reported the City’s (employees) hot line to report cases of Fraud, Waste, Abuse of City Resources or Questionable Activities will be up and running. Reporting is to remain confidential.

WPB Needs Katherine Waldron

Dear Members,

We are proud to announce that we are heartily endorsing Katherine Waldron for West Palm Beach City Commission District 2, in the March 10, 2015 election.

It is our organization’s goal to help ensure transparency,integrity and ethics within our local government. Katherine Waldron ​has earned the endorsement of WPB Watch because she​ exemplifies the type of commissioner we hope to have representing our district as well as our city as a whole.

Katherine’s ability to provide her time and significant efforts to the job of commissioner adds to our strong endorsement. Our residents deserve a committed commissioner with the business, political and community background that Katherine has as well as the ability to commit the time our city deserves from our commissioners.

We encourage you to support her in her campaign and ​to ​vote for her on March 10, 2015.

WPB Watch

​P.S. ​ Remember that the rules for absentee voting have changed and registration for absentee voting has to be renewed after two main election cycles. You can visit the web site of the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections to check your absentee voting status


Katherine Waldron is a former Sprint executive, founder of Gamxing® Inc., and the mother of three adult children. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and, recently, her MBA from Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Katherine came to Florida in 2002 and became a full-time resident of West Palm Beach in 2005. Except for a brief stint in San Diego to co- found her online compliance training company, she has been a full-time resident since then.

As a resident, she has been very active in the community. Her accomplishments include founding ACTION PAC, a downtown political action committee; accepting a mayoral appointment to lead volunteer efforts for the 2010 Coleman Park Revitalization project; serving as president of her downtown condo board from 2007 to 2011; and most recently assuming Directorship of the Premier FC Foundation and maintaining membership of the Palm Beach Premier FC Advisory Board.

Katherine has raised funds and served as a board or committee member of various non-profits including the American Cancer Society, the Palm Beach County Florence DeGeorge Boys and Girls Club and ElderHelp Services. She has volunteered with the Palm Beach Preservation Foundation, the American Red Cross and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She was appointed by County Commissioners to the Citizens’ Committee on Airport Noise from 2008 to 2011.

In 2013 she established the east coast operations of her company, Gamxing® Inc., in West Palm Beach.1

Katherine enjoys living in this wonderful city with so much character and a great deal to offer residents and visitors alike. As City Commissioner, she hopes to continue the great efforts already underway in addition to developing new initiatives to ensure West Palm Beach remains the world-class city it is today.

1 Gamxing™ Inc., a software compliance training company, is headquartered in San Diego and has east coast operations in West Palm Beach. Gamxing™ has three U.S. patents pending and one international patent pending.

WPB Charter School = They never learn.

The Sun Sentinel newspaper has written an excellent investigative report on Charter Schools. If you aren’t sure where you stand on the City of West Palm Beach attempting to open a Charter School I recommend you read the story in the Sentinel for a real eye opener.  (See:  Florida’s Charter Schools – Unsupervised, part 1 and part 2);

The city has submitted an application, and Mayor Muoio, and 5 City Commissioners, Robinson, Mitchell, Moffett, Materio, and James are the “Founding Team”

The “Founding Team” will appoint the “Board of Directors” who will have authority and control over the school and will consist of Mayor Muoio, and 5 City Commissioners, Robinson, Mitchell, Moffett, Materio, and James. Can you see where this is going?

Of course the Board of Directors will be required to take the “Four-Hour Initial Governance Board Training Course” then they will have the education necessary to run the “West Palm Beach Municipal Charter School” (WPBMCS) You good with that?

(The Mayor of course has some real experience running a school.  See: AFTER LAWSUIT, PARENTS PRAISE NEW SCHOOL THE FAMILY WAS REIMBURSED $110,000 and SCHOOL MUST PUT DISABLED GIRL IN CLASS )

WPBMCS is the brain child of Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell who has been moving this forward with as much enthusiasm as she pushed another school forward named Digital Domain, which was a complete failure, and cost the taxpayers two million dollars which was a taxpayer gift to John Textor, founder of DD, but I suspect that figure to be much higher, considering the effort by city staff, city attorneys, and attorney’s from out of state, hired by the city to initiate a lawsuit to get back the “tent city” land also donated to Mr. Textor which was valued at ten million dollars, and we were this close too losing it.

In my opinion WPB has had multiple failings in both projects and city departments, to name a few: Waste Water Treatment Plant (37 million) Open Sky Police Radio (5 million) and 5 years of supporting the “consortium” so add approximately 2 million to that figure, and we still don’t have a system up and running to insure police safety. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is looking to the city to recoup millions of dollars misspent, or not properly allocated. The city has been embarrassed by news reports of departments not properly supervised, such as Housing and Community Development (HCD) Human Resource Department (HRS) Parks and Recreation, and the city hires consultants to over see the problems. What do these departments have in common? They all report to Deputy City Administrator Dorritt Miller. Why can’t the mayor see the problem? You OK with that?

The city mayor/commissioners constantly circumvent the city’s master plan by ignoring building height, density, and set backs, which has caused residents to file 2 lawsuits against the city. The residents voted, twice, to set the limit of 5 stories max. on the “Old City Hall” site. The mayor/commissioners are floating 8-10 stories. You OK with that?

Commissioner Mitchell has shown a desire to “help these poor kids” receive a good education. She wants the school located in the North End. Now would be a good time to mention the poor kids in the North End, the majority are black children. Please take the time to read two stories previously written on this site. “WPB slow to keep school children safe“, and “Holiday’s not so happy for all WPB residents.” Every taxpayer dollar placed into Charter Schools is taken from public schools. In my opinion this is not to educate children, but to help fill the treasury. The governing body of WPB has failed to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars, and are not fiscally responsible, and this latest project will fail because of the inept administration who put themselves in charge to run it. You OK with that?

Point Of Order!

An assault on the public in public meetings is getting to be common place and It needs to cease. The responsibility is on Mayor Muoio to run the meetings in an orderly fashion and put an end to this strong arm tactic on members of the public and city staff.  She holds a strong mayor’s position as Mayor and CEO of the city and should be in charge of the meetings and exercise her authority beyond the general public and call for order on commissioners who are taking It upon themselves to beat down public speakers when they disagree with the content of their speech.

What must be understood is, the public approaches the podium, when invited to do so by the mayor, to express their feelings, not yours commissioners! Apparently public sector jobs are not very clear to some commissioners and who they actually work for. In the city’s June 9th CRA Public Meeting, Commissioner Materio called out a private citizen who had just finished his public comment, because she disagreed with his expression. She called the speaker to attention and asked the mayor If she could respond, in the middle of the public comment period. The answer, from the mayor, should have been “no” and for her to wait until the public speakers are finished. Of course, that didn’t happen.

The speaker returned to the podium and Commissioner Materio proceeded to tell the speaker how his comments were wrong and how she does not appreciate him placing blame on the commission. Her colleague, Commissioner Mitchell verbally agreed with her and called the same speaker out by name, reminding him of his criticism of the commission. The speaker tried to defend his comments but was stopped by the mayor, telling him he can’t respond. If the speaker can’t respond, why is It necessary to call them back?  Mayor Muoio sat there and allowed that bully tactic to take place and she is just as wrong for not controlling the meeting, as the two commissioners who were out of line. In Monday’s, June 30th Charter School discussion, Commissioner Mitchell called out a private citizens name, who was sitting in the audience, asking him, did she hear him say something that wasn’t pleasing to her. Completely inappropriate even according to the city’s own problematic  civility and decorum code.

Commissioner Mitchell’s actions were wrong and instead of her apologizing to the mayor for the outburst, she should have apologized to the individual she abused.  The mayor needs to exercise full control over the meetings and impose order on everyone! The mayor and Commissioners have ample time to talk as much as they want and should never, ever interfere with a public speaker, just because they disagree with something said.  They say they don’t comment during public comment but they do, when they hear something they don’ like. Neither the mayor or commissioners have any business responding to a public speakers comment unless It’s on their own time and not the public’s time.

Speakers who are speaking for three minutes under general public comment are interrupted and chastised, based on the content of their speech. Private citizens who are sitting in the audience are also called out and challenged by these elected officials, right from the dais and the mayor is quick to stop the victim from responding to this uninvited and embarrassing hostility. This type of unethical behavior is, not only unbecoming of public officials but has the potential to discourage the general public from participating in their public meetings, for fear of public reprisal.

Public officials should expect ridicule because scrutiny comes with the territory of public office, just as many benefits comes with public office, compliments of the public. Even though there are only two commissioners who have made a habit of  beating down the public and staff that they disagree with, the responsibility falls on the entire dais to speak out against abusive behavior, regardless of who It is.   Point Of Order!