Parking Rates Recap

March 21, 2022—City Commission Meeting:

Ordinance/Resolution: “RESOLUTION NO. 88-22: A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA, ESTABLISHING NEW RATES, FINES AND HOURS OF OPERATION FOR THE CITY PARKING SYSTEM”

Staff member, Parking Administrator Edward Davis and Assistant City Administrator, Amando Fana along with Mayor James had the job of selling the new rates to the Commissions and they did a good job. Two residents spoke against 88-22 and one resident requesting the rates not be changed and another asked the commission to table it until Commissioner Fox was in attendance and also mentioned he didn’t hear about the meeting until 3:21 that afternoon. The City Commissioners passed it unanimously and the new rates went into effect May 1, 2022.

May 4, 2022— West Palm Beach Merchant Group Meeting: Led by Rodney Mayo.

Meeting was held with the West Palm Beach Merchant Group concerning the new parking rates and the 5 City Commissioners were invited to attend and hear the problems the group anticipated with the parking rate increase.

Of the five invited Commissioners Fox, Lambert, Peduzzi, Ward and Warren only Fox attended. Not invited, but attended was Edward Davis, Parking Administrator and Amando Fana, Assistant City Manager.

May 9, 2022— Recap Merchant Meeting Wednesday May 4th written by Rodney Mayo reads in part:

(1) “The parking department referred to a study of unlimited hours for street parking and the negative impact it had on businesses. Could we please get a copy of that study along with any updated parking studies that may have followed the study dated September 2017?

(2) City Staff referred to a study regarding Sunday parking fees and the net result of decreasing problems with brunch customers downtown. Could we please get a copy of that study?

Parking department was looking into how many spaces will be available for employee parking downtown at the discounted rate of $50. We were told there is some jumbling around of spaces and an accurate number was not available last week at our meeting. With an estimated 2,500 hospitality workers along the Clematis corridor it seems imperative we have a number of spaces available for our staff. Even if it is somewhat of a rough estimate we need to know if this number is 100, 500, 1,000, 2,000 etc. The Merchant group has expressed strong concern over this issue as businesses are already experiencing employee complaints of not being able to afford to work downtown with $20 parking rates for a full shift currently. Hospitality employees are bearing the cost of these new rates now and we would hope city staff would have this figured out and the structure in place prior to enacting the rate increase”

Dear Mr. Mayo,

Hopefully, but I doubt you received the 2 studies mentioned above. Let me share with readers my PRR sent to the City, and their reply.

May 11, 2022— RE: PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST of May 11, 2022, Reference # R031390-051122

The City of West Palm Beach received a public records request from you on May 11, 2022.

Your request mentioned:

“How many spaces will be available for hospitality workers, employee parking in the five garages listed below ? Please list parking spaces available for each garage.
What will be the cost of parking in a City Garage for an 8 hour shift?
How many hospitality workers, employee’s have requested their name be placed on a waiting list to secure a parking spot in the 5 listed parking garages?
Banyan Garage at Banyan Blvd & Olive Ave, City Center Garage, Clematis St. Garage at Clematis & Quadrille, Evernia Garage at Evernia St. & Dixie Hwy; Police Garage on Clematis Street” 

May 13, 2022 1:46 pm— City’s response to my PRR:

“The City does not answer questions in response to a public records request; however, there are no documents in response to any of the questions.”— “This email is to notify you that no records exist. Your request has been closed.”

May 13, 2022 3:39 pm— “This is the response added in the system. I have attached the City’s public records policy regarding responding to questions.” “No files exists for the questions, Daniel Giust” Who is Mr. Giust? 

Public_Records_Request_policy_05012020

 

Double click to enlarge pic.

Parking Meter No more free parking on Sunday, Holiday’s and between the hours of 7:00 PM til 7:00AM.

New Rates:

Effective May 1, 2022

Meters Enforced 24/7

2 Hour Max. 6 AM to Midnight

Vehicle must be moved After 2 Hours

Overnight Parking

Midnight to 6 AM

Paid by ParkMobile Only

We Accept

Discover MasterCard Visa

Dollar coins, Quarters and ParkMobile

Meter Malfunction Please Call (822) 1500

Handicapped Parking:

If you have a Handicap Placard you are allowed to park where a handicap sign is located, or park at a parking meter for four (4) hours at no cost. Clematis St; one city block between Quadrille and Dixie there were three (3) handicapped spots. Now there are Two (2). Roxy’s on Clematis has the handicapped sign stenciled on the street, but no sign on a pole. Please fix it or someone will park, and receive a $250.00 fine.

 

 

Paid by ParkMobile Only:

Millions of people have a smart phone, millions more do not. You can’t use ParkMobile with a dumb phone. Older residents would have a problem downloading the app. Remember we didn’t grow up with computers!

Dear Commissioners,

When the Ordinance/Resolution was passed on March 21, 2022 Commissioner Shoaf represented District 1, and the reins were turned over to Commissioner Ward. Common Sense would dictate this was not going to be popular with business owners, employees and residents.

As mentioned above 2 residents spoke against the new rates. It appears no one was surprised the Commission Chamber was empty, so once again you were told one side of the story— Mayor James and City Administrator side. Empty chamber should have been a heads up.

If you haven’t signed the petition to help our down town businesses and hospitality workers who depend on the generosity of patrons to enable them to pay rent and put food on the table and not into a parking meter here is one more opportunity.

https://www.change.org/p/city-of-west-palm-beach-increased-parking-rate-repeal/u/30506895

The end.

 

City of West Palm Beach Increased Parking Rate Repeal.

Below was written by Rodney Mayo in an attempt to keep residents apprised of the major change to the parking rate increase that will effect every resident who owns an automobile. There is more to the story and I ask readers to take the time to read the entire piece.

Also included is a petition that will be presented to the City Commission in the hopes they will not approve the new parking rates.

The City’s motto “We Want To Hear From You” please take them at their word and sign the petition. If not you——who?
Residents who have signed the petition (Reason for Signing) have left comments on why they have signed and interesting points were made.

“The City of West Palm Beach passed a sweeping parking rate increase, the largest in the history of our city at the commission meeting on March 23, 2022. Despite the parking department showing an annual profit of 2.5 million dollars last year, the adopted increases include 24/7 enforced parking, flat rate weekend parking, added rates on Sunday, increased event rates, increased monthly rates, increased penalties and a 300% increase in metered parking rates. The one benefit the City claims of the new program is 50% discounted hospitality employee parking. Unfortunately, they do not disclose there are no spaces available at this rate in most all the garages.

The City Commission adopted these new rates after giving less than 48 hours’ notice to the public. The merchants and residents were not given the opportunity to participate in the discussion. The City references a zoom meeting on March 3 of 2021, over one year prior, as sufficient notice and opportunity for merchants and residents to be a part of the process. That zoom meeting comprised of 5 city employees and no merchants or residents.
These new parking rates will hurt the already struggling businesses who are finally rebounding after 2 years of the pandemic. Residents who do not have assigned parking spaces will bear an additional cost of $300 per month in a time of skyrocketing rental rates and inflation. These new parking rates will make the City of West Palm Beach the costliest city to park in all of South East Florida, less a few special districts in South Beach”

https://www.change.org/p/city-of-west-palm-beach-increased-parking-rate-repeal

The end!

POLICE INTERNAL AFFAIRS AUDIT AUD20-

This report is the third and final report received from the IA (Internal Audit) Dept. concerning the WPB Police Dept; The report consist of 24 numbered pages and I urge readers to read the entire report to fully understand the duties of the WPB Police Internal Affairs Dept.   I gave readers a synopsis of the audit below, and the Internal Auditor report goes into detail, and can be found at the end of the story.

Executive Summary

OVERVIEW

“The Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) is a division of the City’s Police Department (PD) that serves as a mechanism for internal accountability. The goal of the IAU is to ensure all citizen and internal complaints of improper conduct against sworn members of the PD are systematically, objectively, and impartially investigated. • Internal complaints of a serious nature are typically investigated by the IAU. The IAU is composed of one IA Commander and three investigators, including one Lieutenant and two Sergeants. Investigations are classified as Citizen Complaints, Administrative Departmental Investigations, Internal Affairs Investigations, and Critical Incident Team Investigations.  The Internal Affairs Unit uses the IAPro system to store pertinent information necessary to manage, oversee, and control the receipt, processing, and investigation of complaints. The IAU also uses the Blueteam program, which interfaces with IAPro, and was designed to facilitate electronic filing of incidents while in the field.”

Background

“The Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) is a division of the City’s Police Department (PD) that serves as a mechanism for internal accountability. The goal of the IAU is to ensure all citizen and internal complaints of improper conduct against sworn members of the PD are systematically, objectively, and impartially investigated.

Complaints of inappropriate PD member behavior can be filed anonymously, in person, by telephone, letter, or online. Citizen complaints are typically investigated by field supervisors. However, depending on the nature of the complaint the Chief of Police assigns the IAU to conduct the investigation. Internal complaints of a serious nature are typically investigated by the IAU. The IAU is composed of one IA Commander and three investigators, including one Lieutenant and two Sergeants. Investigations are classified into four types: 1. Citizen Complaints, 2. Administrative Departmental Investigations, 3. Internal Affairs Investigations, 4. Critical Incident Team Investigations.

During the audit period, there were a total of 291 investigations as shown in the table below, broken down by type.”        Please read page 1 for the table.

Internal Affairs Employee Survey

“We conducted a survey of all PD members to capture views and opinions on various aspects of the internal affairs function. A total of 104 surveys were received of 338 surveys distributed (31% responded).”      Please read page 2 for survey results.

Statement of Scope  “The scope of the audit included all investigation types during the audit period, which was from January 2018 to October 2020.

Statement of Objectives,

The objectives of this audit were to:

Statement of Methodology   

We utilized several audit methodologies to gather evidence and achieve the objectives. These techniques included, but were not limited to:

Statement of Auditing Standards

We conducted this audit in accordance with Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.”    Please read page 3

Audit Conclusions and Summary of Findings

Our assessment of the internal affairs function, including the internal controls, indicated that the PD would benefit from implementing measures to address areas of improvement as follows: Data collection, review, and analysis, Policy compliance, Community engagement and community outreach.

Noteworthy Accomplishments

In November 2019, the PD created an independent Use of Force Review Board (the Board) in an effort to build transparency and hold officers accountable. The Board discusses new laws and updates training practices. At the discretion of the Police Chief, the Board also reviews use of force incidents within the department. Please read page 4.

Police Department Organization Chart. Please read page 5

Opportunities for Improvement

“Complete and Accurate Data Condition There is no formal policy that states when and how the data in IAPro should be entered and reviewed to ensure uniformity, consistency, and completeness. Data analytics1 performed of Internal Affairs case information stored in IAPro disclosed issues related to the completeness and accuracy of the data in the following three areas: 1. Complainant Racial Data, 2. Investigation Turnaround Time, 3. Officer Years Of Experience.”

Criteria

“Collecting, tracking, and reporting accurate and complete data is a necessity for law enforcement agencies in today’s environment. When utilized at their full capability, data systems like IAPro can be used to enhance public safety, improve officer performance and transform organizational culture.”

Cause

“IAPro is used as a repository of case data, not as a tool to proactively and continually analyze the data to identify opportunities to improve the process or officer performance.”

Effect

“Incomplete and inaccurate data hinders the department’s ability to conduct in-depth analyses and make data driven decisions regarding officer performance.” Internal Auditor made four recommendations Recommendation 1a, Recommendation 1b, Recommendation 1c, Recommendation 1d,”    and can be read in it’s entirety on pages 6-8

2. Policy Compliance

“Condition Internal and external complaints are not always processed in compliance with key requirements of the Internal Affairs policy (SOP IV-22). An in-depth review of 109 (48%) of the 225 cases in our sample showed a total of 122 (9%) instances of noncompliance with policy requirements”

Result of Policy Compliance Analysis, Criteria and Cause, along with Recommendation 2 (A&B), Management Response 2  A&B. Can be read on pages 9-11

3. Quality Review of Investigations

Condition

“We performed a quality review of a judgmental sample of 15 completed Internal Affairs investigations from the 109 cases that we evaluated for policy compliance (see Finding 2). The cases were selected based on complexity and the seriousness of the circumstances. The quality review focused on the investigation process and included related deviations from policies and procedures. As a result, we identified opportunities to improve the quality of investigations in 13 of the 15 selected cases. Examples of areas of concern included:” Criteria, Cause and Effect, Recommendation 3, A&B, Management Response 3 A&B, Can be read on page 12&13.

4. Monitoring Use of Force Incidents

Condition

Background: “All incidents involving the use of force are investigated at the platoon level (Shift Commander) whether or not any misconduct occurred. All results of the investigations are submitted to the Police Chief to determine whether the incident a. warrants an additional investigation by Internal Affairs, b. if the incident is justified, or c. if it is a minor violation. The documentation is stored within software that is managed and controlled by Internal Affairs.”

Empty Data Fields, Total Use of Force Incidents and Other Violations, Criteria, Cause, Effect, Recommendation 4       A, B & C,

Management Response 4         A, B & C       Can be read on page 14-16

5. Undocumented Key Control Procedures and Training

Condition

“An evaluation of key elements of the Internal Affairs function indicated that improvements can be made within the processes to communicate and interact with citizens and the community:”

Complaint intake, Complainant communication throughout investigations, Citizen outreach program, Criteria, Cause, Effect, Recommendation 5 a,b,c,d,e & f, Management Response 5 “The Police Department Management agrees with the recommendation.” Can be read on page 17 & 18.

6. Administrative Departmental Investigations

Condition

“We found that a procedure for investigations conducted by line supervisors, known as Administrative Departmental investigations (AD investigations), is not specifically documented as a department procedure.”

Criteria, Cause, Effect, Recommendation 6 a,b,&c, Management Response 6 “The Police Department Management agrees with recommendation.” Can be read on page 19

Exhibit A – Quality Review Case Summaries

“To ensure the quality and accuracy of our assessment, we reviewed our results with management. However, it should be noted that according to applicable laws and regulations, the following cases do not appear eligible to be reopened. Therefore, the findings from this review should be used for training purposes and to strengthen officer and department performance.” There are a total of 15 case samples and can be read on pages 20-24.

Below is the WPB Internal Audit Report report on the WPB Police Internal Affairs Dept.

Police Internal Affairs Audit Report AUD20-05(1)

On a personal note:

The school board has approved a new chief for the district police force and her name is Sara Mooney, former WPB Police Chief. Chief Mooney has always been about the kids and I watched her for years interact with them on our monthly Peace Walk. She wanted to reach the kids before the gangs did. I wish her well in her new position.

“Downtown Merchant Meeting, May 4th at 5pm O’Shea’s Pub 531 Clematis St. on the Patio. Please circulate flyer to any business owners, managers or property owners. Our goal is to keep you informed and give you an opportunity to ask questions and voice your opinions. The Downtown Merchant Group is an independent organization of business and property owners.”  Hope to see you there.

The end

 

 

Residents Spoke— City Commissioners Listened

Update: 4/18/2022, item “#8.1 Resolution # 87-22 amending the Comprehensive Fee Schedule for Sidewalk Cafe permits between downtown businesses and Northwood Village.”  Is this a new fee for Northwood Village? I’m not sure. One area is in District 1 (Cathleen Ward) and District 3: (Christy Fox.)

Residents and business owners attended the (1) CRA and (2) City Commission meeting and spoke on the issue, claiming they weren’t given enough notice concerning the raise hike and presented a petition for a postponement.

One resident, from Delray Beach, spoke against the hike and when she was through Mayor James said “Delray Beach” I took his 2 word statement as this was not her concern. Did James ever consider people traveled from surrounding cities to dine on Clematis St. Why was she not dining in Delray Beach? If the City does raise the fee, businesses will raise their prices to off-set the new rates. Especially in this economy people are finding ways to save money, not pay double the parking fee’s and if restaurants raise their menu prices diners will go elsewhere.

The examples used to determine a rate for downtown West Palm Beach is greatly skewed. The 3 rate comparisons used were among the top 3 per square foot rates charged for sidewalk cafes in Florida. The examples used was Lincoln Road in Miami Beach at $325 PSF (per square foot) Las Olas at$125 PSF and Atlantic Ave in Delray Beach $115 PSF. Double click picture to enlarge.

Staff reported Clematis lease rates were at average of $50 PSF This is not correct. Rates are $30-$35 PSF. Staff neglected to list the dozens of Cities that do not charge a PSF price and similar fees as we currently have in WPB for sidewalk cafes. Reminds me of the time when WPB raised the Fire Fee from $25.00 to $50.00, and staff mentioned two local cities that collected $100 and another $125. Again, staff neglected to report to Commissioners the many local cities that had no such fee. James was elected and immediately raised the Fire Fee to $100.00.

Staff told the dais this was discussed in March 2021 and Commissioners approved the motion on first reading, so downtown businesses were aware of the rate hike that was coming. Commissioner Warren mentioned she was not an elected officials at the time, and this was the first she heard of it. Commissioner Cathleen Ward was recently elected so she’s hearing it for the first time also.

Mayor James worked as hard as staff members to convince the Commissioners the resolution was needed.

Commissioner Christy Fox asked that the item be brought back to give downtown businesses a chance to respond, as did Commissioner Warren.

A frustrated James said “I’ll entertain a Motion” Meaning he wanted either Commissioner Fox or Ward to approve the resolution. The deafening silence was much appreciated by myself and people in the audience. Finally a voice speaks up. Commissioner Joe Peduzzi who represents District 4

“Mayor I move approval of resolution 87-22.”  “James, do I hear a second?” More glorious silence. James, “Motion dies for lack of a second.”

Commissioner Peduzzi I believe you tried to do a favor for James, but it backfired, and gave the impression you didn’t hear residents or bother to look at the petition or you didn’t care.

Commissioner Fox. Made a motion to bring the item back in a month, quickly seconded by Commissioner Lambert.

The City Commission decided unanimously to postpone their vote for 30 days to give the merchants a chance to meet, ask questions and give input.

The entire Commission meeting lasted 1:46:25. If you are interested in viewing the meeting scroll to beginning time 9:48 to end time 42:46 discussion lasted 33 minutes. For some reason the City has decided to run an ad before the meeting comes up. Please be patient.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOZC6gcDUNU

City Commissioners: Info. For Newly elected Warren and Ward.

You heard people say they were not aware of the upcoming changes to the Fee Schedule for Sidewalk Cafe, and heard how the City mailed and hand delivered notices to businesses. Here’s how it went in the good old days. (before James and Johnson)

The City emailed a list of the upcoming weekly meetings to all residents who signed up to receive the information. One of the last time this courtesy was extended was 4/27/2021 when I received a DRAFT agenda for upcoming meetings to be held May 3 – 7, 2021.

WeeklyMeetingList_2021-0503-0507_Draft

(email rec’d) Fri, Apr 30, 2021 FINAL agenda for the 5/3/2021 City Commissioner meeting.

FINAL City Commission Agenda _05_03_21

(email rec’d) Tue, Mar 2, 2021   UPDATED Tentative Weekly Meeting List for the Week of March 1 – 5, 2021 This update cancels the CWPB-IAFF Impasse Hearings on:

(1)Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 9:00 AM; and

(2)Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 9:00 AM.

I attended every meeting of the CWPB-IAFF (City West Palm Beach International Association of Fire Fighters) and because of this notice did not waste my time and energy traveling to City Hall for a meeting that was canceled. If you want to attend a meeting now you should check the City website to insure the meeting will take place.

Tent 03-01-2021_Updated

In closing right before the City Commission meeting I listened to the CRA meeting which I could understand with the help of the CC (Closed Caption) button. When it came to the Commission meeting I received the message “Subtitles/closed caption unavailable”  Why?

I believe I credited the correct City Commissioners with the comments made above, and if I’m wrong please let me know and I will edit the story. It’s hard to understand muffled voices behind a mask and I do depend on re listening to the meeting and using the CC  on the city’s website. New Commissioner Ward removed her mask when addressing the public, much appreciated, thank you.

The end

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADDENDUM TO PAYROLL AND OVERTIME AUDIT

I will always support the WPB Police Dept; and the men and women who protect the residents every day while knowing they are targeted by some. There are a few officers who make it difficult for others to do their jobs and cast a dark shadow over the City. This report covers 2019 with a change in Administration.
City of West Palm Beach Internal Auditor’s Office 7 pages, and can be read below.

“During the original City-wide audit of Payroll and Overtime, we identified inaccurate timecard reporting that contained overlapping hours within the City’s Police Department (Finding 5 of the Payroll and Overtime Audit Report). Our testing was limited to the top 20 Earners of City-paid and vendor-paid overtime during FY2019. The process to analyze the records was time consuming and labor intensive, thus we did not have the resources to expand the review to all officers within the scope period of the audit. Subsequently, we requested resources to conduct testing on all officers during the audit period which was
granted. As such, we have attached the Internal Auditor’s Office Addendum Report to the Payroll and Overtime Audit which details the results of the additional testing.

We thank our contracted auditors, Monica Sanchez and Elena Gonzalez, for their work in completing this audit. Further, we thank the management and staff of the Police Department for their time, assistance, and cooperation during this audit.

 

Opportunities for Improvement – Addendum
Inaccurate Police Officer Timecard Reporting

Condition
We conducted a review of all police officers (about 285) that had City-paid and vendor paid work hours in FY19 to determine if there were any instances where the hours overlapped, and officers were potentially overpaid. We found that 77 (27%) officers had numerous instances where hours overlapped, meaning that they logged work hours for multiple locations at the same time, for a combined total of 462.25 overlapping hours. Using the hourly pay rate of the officers that had overlapping hours, these officers were
potentially overpaid by the City and/or the vendor for a combined total of approximately $19,6531.

Criteria
All City employees are expected to accurately report time worked. Further, the City hasan ethics policy that all City employees are required to adhere to.

Cause
The conditions we identified occurred due to:
Vendors are permitted to pay officers directly for hours worked and no requirement exists for vendors to track officer hours paid versus hours worked;Systems that do not communicate with one another, thereby making it difficult to flag overlapping hours; Higher ranking staff that can enter their own hours and do not require approval; and Lack of ongoing reconciliation of total (vendor-paid and City-paid) hours worked.

Effect
Failure to properly manage and oversee the total employee hours worked, results in an organization that is highly susceptible to improper actions and is exposed to financial loss. When abuse goes unidentified or unquestioned the organization can develop a culture where abuse becomes normal, which ultimately hurts the City’s reputation. It should be noted that when conditions are such that: 1. controls are weak or virtually
nonexistent it creates an opportunity; 2. there is a need which creates pressure; and 3. there is a pay discrepancy which permits rationalization of actions; the organization now has the three elements of the fraud triangle, and it becomes highly likely that fraud may occur or could be occurring undetected.

Recommendation
NOTE – The following recommendation replaces Recommendation 5 from the original Payroll and OT Audit.

The Police Department should ensure adequate monitoring and accurate reporting of hours worked by:
A. Improving technology and access to data. Dedicating resources to finding one automated solution that can support all aspects of the extra-duty and outside employment program, satisfy all data needs, and integrate with the City’s timekeeping and financial systems.

Management Response
Management agrees improved technology would allow for better oversight of both regular duty and overtime.

B. Recovering the overpayments identified in this analysis and/or future overpayments wherever warranted, cost-effective and within the confinement of existing laws and regulations.

Management Response B1
Management does not agree it is prudent to pursue “recovery of overpayments.”However, future oversight and identification of similar “overpayments” would warrant an investigation, appropriate discipline and/or restitution.

Administration Response B1
City Administration agrees with the Police Department that it is not prudent to pursue “recovery of the questionable overpayments” for the various reasons stated in the report among some others.

Auditors Comment B1
The Auditor’s Office recognizes that it may not be cost effective to recover all overpayments, however, it may be helpful to conduct an analysis and determine if it would be cost effective to recover some of the overpayments.

Management Response B2
The audit team made a historical finding for FY2019 of 462.25 hours of potential overlapping hours. An average hourly salary (from an Assistant Chief to new Officer) has been determined to be $41.89. The estimated total potential monetary amount in question is approximately $19,363.65.

Auditor’s Comment B2 

We spent a significant amount of time with PD management to validate the exceptions found related to the 77 officers. PD management was given ample time to review the exceptions and provide any additional information that could impact the results. As such, the results provided here represent discrepancies that PD management could not reconcile after exhaustive reviews.

Management Response
Management agrees there must be more effective review of hours worked by all employees; improved distribution of relevant information to supervisors should allow for appropriate reconciliation of work hours without designating more staff to track employee hours worked. The training and use of the new EDS reports during payroll approval can be implemented by November 30th.

C. Designating staff to periodically reconcile all vendor and City-paid hours. To accomplish this task, the designated staff should have access to all systems that track employee hours worked.

Management Response
Management agrees there must be more effective review of hours worked by all employees; improved distribution of relevant information to supervisors should allow for appropriate reconciliation of work hours without designating more staff to track employee hours worked. The training and use of the new EDS reports during payroll approval can be implemented by November 30th. Entire Internal Auditors Report can be read below.

Addendum to the Payroll and Overtime Audit Report AUD19-04(1)

Personal message
City Commission meeting 4/18/2022 and I spoke under Public Comment when my time ran out so what I wanted known will be added to the story as I want my experience on the record

I left a City Commission meeting in Oct. 2021 and made it to 45th. St. when one of my tires began to go flat. I made it home and parked. The next morning both front tires were flat. A friend arrived to help and said he would put “plugs” in the tires. He removed both screws and placed a plug in each tire, which helped, but both tires had a slow leak. New tires were not in my budget so I had to inflate both tires 2-3 times a week. Nov. 2021 tires were replaced.

2/22/2022 I was removed from a City Commission meeting for refusing to put on a mask until Mayor James did. I was escorted from City Hall when I was asked to sit in the courtyard for a little chat, which I did. I was kept there listening to information I had no interest in. When I finally asked him why he was telling me this, his response was he wanted me to know a few things about him. He received a text message, got up and said he had to go. 20-25 minutes of my life I will never get back. It surprised me to learn he knew I had a handicap placard.

I drive a Hybrid and while driving on 95 my car just died and I had the car towed to my home. The Hybrid battery was guaranteed for 10 years and the dealer wanted $4,000.00 to replace it. I knew it had to be replaced when I was told about a company called “Green Bean” who charged $1,500 to replace with a lifetime guarantee.

A technician arrived with a new battery and while installing it noticed I had a small oil leak. He was kind enough to look under the car and the leak was coming from my oil filter. He called me over and told me to look down and he turned the oil filter back and forth, and then hand tightened it, looked at the dipstick and told me I had no oil in the car I assumed it was the battery that caused my car to die, it wasn’t. I bought 2 quarts of oil, which was enough to get me the station for a new oil change.

Two incidents with my car after leaving City Hall is 2 to many and as I have told readers in the past I don’t believe in coincidences. It makes me angry and I don’t go away, I dig in and if I believe residents need information on what goes on behind the scenes I tell them. For example:

The City Charter says the City Administrator MUST live within City Limits. and I made an issue of it a few times. Well I’m happy to say the City Administrator Faye Johnson purchased a condo in November and it’s located within City Limits. What I don’t understand is why her car still resides in unincorporated Palm Beach County.
The end

City Raising Fees Again

My plan was to give myself and readers a break from WPB Watch City stories over the Easter weekend. You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and man. Things change and plans are altered. I received an email today and I feel I must share it with readers as timing is crucial.

Those who have read about the increase in parking, presented to residents at the last possible moment to avoid pushback from voters & taxpayers.

The city has done it again and why not it worked before with the parking increase. This is what happens when people don’t pay attention and the results are no one complaining at the City Commission meetings.

There are different problems in all areas of the city, and lately it appears the powers to be are concentrating on the downtown area once again.

Most readers will not be impacted by this notice but I ask for unity and your involvement in this issue. Help the downtown area with your voice, and hopefully when they come for you and changes the city want to make in your area the downtown will stand with us and use their voices.

Below is the email I refer too.

Hello Downtown Stakeholders,

I know we have all been very busy and understandably may not had the time to keep up with the happenings within our government downtown. I just received in the mail the new proposed resolution No 87-22 (attached) which goes to a Commission vote this Monday, April 18th. I was not aware of this proposal until 3 days ago . The City and DDA said there were merchant meetings discussing it but the most recent was over one year ago and as I am getting on in years, I do not remember it.

The proposal changes the way we are charged for Sidewalk annual permits. Currently we pay a $150 annual permit fee. The new proposal will be a $200 fee plus an annual charge of $5 per sq foot of your sidewalk cafe area. For some it may be a minor amount and for larger establishments more impactful. For the average sidewalk patio it does represent a 1,500% increase in fees. I’m sure we would all support such a tax IF we knew where the additional revenue was going ie. mitigate homelessness, keep streets cleaner, more security downtown etc. I’m just afraid it will wind up in the City cloud slush fund.

After last weeks dramatic parking rate increase, which I also do not feel the downtown merchants had a chance to participate in, this is just another unnecessary tax on businesses downtown. Again this may not effect most of us but I do think it will effect some of the struggling businesses that are barely recovering from the covid pandemic.

We are only asking in this petition for a 30 day delay in the Commission vote to allow time for a merchant meeting, which is long overdue, and a chance for us to ask questions and give some input.

Please consider signing the petition, Fill in your business name. We will send the results to the commission at their meetings this Monday.”

https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/city-of-west-palm-beach-commision-sidewalk-cafe

Notice from the City can be read below.

Sidewalk Cafe Fees Pamphlet

The end.

WPB Internal Audit on David

My comments in Italic.

City Commission Meeting held 4/4/2022. Item 9.1 on the agenda reads:

“Submittal of the following reports from the Internal Auditor’s Office:

1. Parking      Driver and Vehicle Information Database (DAVID) Audit Report
AUD22-01;

2. Police Internal Affairs Audit Report AUD20-05; and

3. Addendum to the Payroll and Overtime Audit Report AUD19-04.

Originating Department: Internal Audit
Staff Recommended Motion: Receive, Approve, and File.”

Background Information:
“The reports were presented to the Audit Committee on March 29, 2022,
where they were approved by the Audit Committee Members. Copies of
the reports have been provided to the Mayor and the City Commissioners.
Fiscal Note:
No fiscal impact.”

3/29/2022 Internal Audit meet with the IA Committee members and presented the findings. I attended via Zoom, and had concerns and questions particularly concerning police overtime.

Below is the first of 3 reports from the WPB Internal Auditor Department which the City Commissioners received, approved and filed on 4/4/2022 without one question being asked or one concern being shown. I have presented parts of the report and the entire report, containing 12 pages can be read below and I ask readers to note how many employee positions are vacant on the Parking Department Organization Chart. (page 4)

Background
“The City’s Parking Department and the Code Enforcement Division utilize personal information that is obtained from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) to identify or confirm driver or vehicle owner information as related to parking and code violations. In order to utilize the data provided, the City and the FLHSMV entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlines the City’s obligations to meet internal control measures designed to ensure that confidential personal information is adequately protected from inappropriate access or use.

To access the data from the FLHSMV, the City and its employees utilize an online portal known as DAVID (Driver and Vehicle Information Database) that is managed by the FLHSMV. While FLHSMV owns and manages the DAVID system, the City is required to appoint an Agency Point of Contact (APOC) to administer and perform local services.

Examples of these services include deactivation of terminated users, user access reviews, quality control reviews, and obtaining acknowledgements of the confidentiality of information, including criminal sanctions for confidentiality violations. This audit is a requirement in the MOU agreement and it was conducted to evaluate the internal controls in place to ensure that data provided or received is protected from unauthorized access, distribution, use, modification, or disclosure. We note that in the
MOU, the Parking Department is the primary requesting agency and the Code Enforcement Division is the sub-requesting agency. As such, the Parking Department is responsible for ensuring that all users comply with the MOU requirements. However, the Code Enforcement Division is within the Police Department and the Parking Department does not have authority or oversight over Code Enforcement employees.”

Statement of Scope
“The scope of the audit was from December 1, 2018 to September 30, 2021 (audit period). The audit included tests and reviews of systems, policies, procedures, and processes. Other procedures and reviews outside the audit period were conducted as deemed necessary.”

Statement of Objectives
“The objectives of this audit were to: A. Determine whether the internal controls governing the Parking Department’s access and usage of DAVID data complied with the requirements in the MOU, and B. Determine whether there were any additional opportunities for improvement.”

Statement of Methodology
“The methodologies used to meet the audit objectives included the following:
• Conducting interviews and inquiries of personnel;
• Reviews of relevant agreements, State laws, internal policies and procedures;
• Evaluating and testing internal controls as related to applicable systems;
• Analyzing data, and
• Other audit procedures deemed necessary.
To the extent possible, testing was conducted on the entire population. However, where sampling was employed, we utilized a statistically valid sample that provided a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error. As such, these results may be extrapolated to the entire population.”

Opportunities for Improvement

1. “Distribution of DAVID Data . During our review, we found that the Parking Department inappropriately distributed Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle (FLHSMV) DAVID data to the sub-contracting collection agency to assist with collecting on delinquent parking accounts.
Furthermore, we found that the terms of the agreement with the subcontractor did not adequately disclose the applicable laws, security, and confidentiality requirements surrounding DAVID data.”

Criteria

“Per the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Section IV, “Statement of Work”, the Requesting Party agrees to:
• Refrain from assigning, sub-contracting, or otherwise transferring its rights, duties, or obligations under this MOU, without the prior written consent of the Providing Agency,
• Not share, provide, or release any DAVID information to any law enforcement, other governmental agency, person, or entity not a party otherwise subject to the terms and condition of this MOU, and
• Protect and maintain the confidentiality and security of the data received from the Providing Agency in accordance with this MOU and applicable state and federal law.”

Cause

“Parking was not aware of the MOU requirements that prohibit the sharing of DAVID data without prior written consent of the FLHSMV. Additionally, Parking did not inform the Office of the City Attorney of the sub-contracting/third party distribution of DAVID data, prior to establishing an agreement for the collection of delinquent Parking citations.”

Effect

“Transferring DAVID data obtained from the FLHSMV to a sub-contracting collection agency without consent violates the terms of the MOU. More importantly, it increases the risk of inappropriate access to confidential information that could be misused.
Furthermore, this may leave the City susceptible to litigation and reputational damage, due to inappropriate distribution of personal identifiable information.”

Business Justification for Searches
Condition
“During the audit period, there were 14 users with DAVID access, of which 10 users performed searches. The 10 users conducted a total of 3,131 searches. We reviewed a statistically valid sample1 of 343 searches and found that for 94 (27%) searches performed, the Parking Department was unable to provide a business justification or other supporting documentation to validate whether the DAVID searches were for a legitimate business purpose. We also found the following DAVID search activities:
• 85 of 94 (90%) searches were performed within Parking, and
• 9 of 94 (10%) searches were performed within the Code Enforcement Division.

It should be noted that while a process for documenting business justifications for DAVID searches exist, we found that this process was not being consistently followed. Further, the Parking Department does not have oversight or authority over Code Enforcement staff because Code Enforcement is within the Police Department. This presents challenges for the Parking Department to enforce the MOU requirements or monitor the access and use of the DAVID data.”

Criteria

“Per the MOU, Section V, “Safeguarding Information”, the parties mutually agree that information exchanged will not be used for any purposes not specifically authorized by this MOU. The MOU further states that unauthorized use includes, but is not limited to, queries not related to a legitimate business purpose, personal use, or the dissemination, sharing, copying, or passing of this information to unauthorized persons.”
Cause

“As related to the Parking Department, there was insufficient oversight of DAVID users to ensure that a business justification was documented or other support was maintained, for each search performed. As related to Code Enforcement, the Parking Department did not have the authority or oversight of the Code Enforcement Division to ensure that searches had a documented business justification.”
Effect

Failure to document a business justification or maintain other supporting documentation to justify searches performed in DAVID could result in the Parking Department’s inability to demonstrate to the FLHSMV that the searches are in fact legitimate and for a business purpose. Further, this increases the risk of inappropriate searches being performed. Finally, there is a heightened risk to the City of being liable for unauthorized access or misuse of confidential personal information, as well as a loss of public confidence.”

Access Termination
Condition

“During the audit period, DAVID access was added and/or removed for 14 users within the Parking Department. We reviewed access termination and found that the Parking Department did not deactivate DAVID user access in a timely manner for 4 (28%) employees with a terminated or transferred status. Their access remained active for 8 to 886 days. The following table provides the details of what we found:” Please see page 11 for Table,Criteria, Cause and Effect.

The Internal Auditor’s findings demonstrate that the city administration lacks the ability to properly train and monitor employees assigned to the parking department. Fault and blame for lack of over-site is attributable to the Mayor as Chief Executive and the City Administrator, Faye Johnson.

Previously a story was posted on WPB Watch that 275 WPB employees resigned between 4/1/2019 until 9/30/2021. If you missed the story you can read it below. How many employees were from the Parking Department, gone and not replaced?
https://wpbwatch.com/2021/10/city-employees-resigning-why/

Read the entire Internal Auditors Report Below. This is a great example of why the IA Dept. is so critical to the city. It finds the problems so the City can repair the damage. Let’s hope they do.

Parking DAVID Audit Report AUD22-01

The End

WPB Parking Rates

  Updated 3/24/2022@ 12:35 p.m

 

I received a number of phone calls and emails regarding March 21, 2020 City Commission meeting and the topic was item # 8.4 “Resolution No. 88-22 amending existing parking rates and hours of operation for the City Parking System.”

Many downtown residents and businesses are upset over the parking rate increases and they have good reason to be because they were deprived of their right to address their elected officials and express their concerns for the rate hike and the effect it would have on their pocketbooks and businesses.

I placed a PRR with the City Clerk. My comments in Italic, when you see the map where parking prices increase, double click to enlarge.

PRR   Mon, Mar 21, 2022 5:52 pm “On the agenda for the City Commission meeting 3/21/2022 item # 8.4 concerns changes to the city parking fee. No explanation of what the changes are. Please send me the documentation explaining what the changes are.”

City Response: Tue, Mar 22, 2022 10:19 am “I will provide the resolution approving the fees once signed by the Mayor.”   Cancel the request, I have the needed information.

PRR   Tue, Mar 22, 2022 10:19 am “One more request for the agenda for the City Commission meeting 3/21/2022 item # 8.4 concerns changes to the city parking fee. I did not notice this item on the Draft agenda. Please tell me the date and time it was added to the 3/21/2022 City Commission meeting.”

City Response: “This item was approved to be added to the final agenda at agenda review on March 17th, and was published with the final agenda on Friday, March 18th.”

Here lies the problem. It was added to the agenda on 3/17/2022 (Thursday) and put on the final agenda 3/18/2022(Friday) Saturday and Sunday City Hall closed.

At one time (before James & Johnson) emails were sent to residents who registered with the city to receive notice of upcoming meetings. Now residents must check the City’s website.

WPB Watch published a story and predicted problems with the way the City conducted business. Thanks to city leaders for proving me right—–again.

Posted on City Website:

“If you wish to give public comment, please attend the meeting or fill out and submit the public comment form below before the deadline specified:”

DEADLINE FOR PUBLIC COMMENT   2:00 p.m. on the day of the meeting.”

A resident found the addition of # 8.4 after 2:00 p.m. so to late for residents to offer an opinion. So when you are told “we want to hear from you'” understand they mean developers, and everyone who can contribute to keep them in office. They knew this would not be popular with residents and businesses and holding it to the last minute insured approval from City Commissioners, with no complaints from residents

Here is a short list of the changes made to the parking rates, and readers can read all the changes below which include ALL CITY PARKING GARAGES including City Center, Banyan Street Garage, Clematis Street Garage, Evernia Street Garage and Sapodilla Garage.

Want to park on Clematis St. Parking meters went from $1.25 to $2.50/ hr; and parking is limited to 2 hours.

Sunday parking in a City Garage was free, now it will cost you $5.00, along with Saturday & Holiday’s.

Once upon a time the city gave you the first hour of garage parking for free, just enough time to run in and pay your water bill, or check out a book from the library. No More!

“$1.00 First two Hours  $2.00 Each Additional ½ hour after the 1st Two Hours” Wording it that way instead of sticker shock of $4.00/hr. with the maximum charge of $20.00 doubling the price from $10.00.

People who work in downtown depend on the parking garage and this increase hurts them the most.

GARAGE PARKING PERMITS
Monthly $100.00 plus tax
Residential $ 80.00 plus tax               Tax really?

ZONE A,B  & C

Daily Meter Rental Fee       $25.00
Monthly Meter Rental Fee $400.00

Downtown Residential rate and Hospitality Worker (People who work in restaurants or hotels who depend on tips to help pay their parking charges will be hurt the most.)

Over stay your welcome look at the City fines!

 

City’s new parking rates:

Resolution No 88-22

The end!

Mayoral Town Hall: South End Neighborhoods.

3/9/2022.    Mayor James met with the South End Neighborhoods

The crowd consisted of 25-30 people and 15 minutes into the meeting 3 couple left after coming to the conclusion I had. James started his re-election campaign. You can hear and see the meeting below. It appeared to me James was not comfortable, read from a script, and if he said “uh” once he said it a hundred times.

He told us what a wonderful job he’s done since taking over the “reins” of WPB.

He started with a question, asking the people in attendance how long they lived in the city with a show of hands. 10 years, 5 years and 2 years. Majority of hands showed people lived in WPB for 10 Years or more.

The mayor pointed out all the good WPB has to offer, never mentioning the downside of residing in the City. I will write about 3 issues he mentioned growth, crime and food deserts.

Growth:

It’s all about growth. You have probably noticed that WPB has grown a bit. In the last 18-24 months Let me give you some statistics. My administration assisted with the re-location or expansion of 12 new companies to WPB which had more than 300 highly compensated jobs, Financial Services, Tech, Construction and Multi Media. WPB received thirty nine million in business tax last year.

We have six (6) Class A office projects in the pipeline. To give you some perspective between 2008 and 2019 there were no Class A office projects. We have 3 billion dollars in construction projects that are in various stages of completion.”

James told the story of meeting the President of El Cid neighborhood who told him there was a 40% turnover in home ownership. People are not happy when that many relocate.

West Palm Beach Is Overflowing With Class A Office Space As New Towers Emerge:” For a look at the other side of the coin, please read the story below.

https://rrcra.com/west-palm-beach-is-overflowing-with-class-a-office-space-as-new-towers-emerge/

What’s the downside of over-building?

The cement industry produces somewhere between 5-10% of all carbon-dioxide emissions worldwide, making it the third-largest source of global-warming, behind only coal-fueled power plants and combustion-engine vehicles. Test for yourselves. If you’ve ever walked barefoot across a sun baked parking lot, you know firsthand how concrete soaks up and retains the sun’s heat. When temperatures rise, the countless miles of concrete streets, sidewalks, walls and roofs in cities magnify that effect, creating a phenomenon known as “urban heat islands”. I can walk across grass barefooted and not burn my feet. Government so concerned about global warming, they want us to give up driving cars and go all electric to save the planet.

Picture of WPB Skyline. Now picture it with James words “We have six Class A office projects in the pipeline. We have 3 billion dollars in construction projects that are in various stages of completion.” Double click to enlarge.

If that’s not enough to make you think, how about residents living in areas where they can’t exit their garages due to traffic gridlock.

West Palm Beach, Florida Average Apartment Rent in February 2022 is $2,141- $2,875 Compared to a year ago, West Palm Beach, Florida apartments have recorded a 34% rent increase.

Since James has taken office he has talked about building “low cost” apartment rentals. Where are they?

Do you enjoy tennis? Do you play at Currie Park? If the answer is yes, get your play time in because The powers to be have decided once again that developers needs are more important than residents.

The Currie Park tennis courts are to be completely removed in favor of commercializing the park. Not enough room for tennis or other recreation. Instead, the City wants to locate a 2500 sq ft. restaurant and a two-story 4800 sq ft events complex – known as a “Resiliency Hub.”

Be honest— are you sorry if you voted for the $30 million bond issue for parks?

Crime:

Murder map: Deadliest U.S. Cities # 40. West Palm Beach, Florida

The murder rate in West Palm Beach is 15.07 per 100,000. The murder rate plummeted in the city from 2018 to 2019, dropping by more than 9 per 100,000 residents.

https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/murder-map-deadliest-u-s-cities/27/

28 murders in 2018

17 murders in 2019        James elected Mayor of WPB.

15 murders in 2020

23 murders in 2021

2 murders in 2022 Jan.1 thru Mar. 19 I believe there have been more deaths. PB Post not updated at the time story was posted.

https://apps.palmbeachpost.com/homicides/

The link below you will find stats for West Palm Beach VIOLENT CRIMES and West Palm Beach PROPERTY CRIMES.

https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/fl/west-palm-beach/crime

Food Deserts:

What qualifies as a food desert? Geographic areas where access to affordable, healthy food options (aka fresh fruits and veggies) is limited or nonexistent because grocery stores are too far away.

James told the small audience he brought FAMU (Florida A&M University) to operate an urban farm in WPB.

Below are excerpts from Macuba, and the entire story can be read below.

A few weeks ago on this page,  we deplored  West Palm Beach’s decision to scrap the urban farm that brought color, life and fresh produce to a dusty food desert north of downtown. There are no full-size grocery stores within a mile, so Henrietta Bridge Farm, the creation of Vietnam War veteran Stewart Bosley on an acre and a half of town land, was a godsend for residents within walking distance.

Sadly, the town, for reasons as yet unexplained – other than vague discussions about building halfway houses – refused to renew Bosley’s lease this year and forced it to empty itself.

Now here is more encouraging news. The town hall has reached an agreement with a branch of Florida A&M University to establish three small urban farms and educational programs to serve low-income residents of West Palm Beach, starting at six months.

Although the sites are much smaller than the now bulldozed property of Henrietta Avenue, Vonda Richardson, executive director of FAMU cooperative extension program, said they would each provide enough produce for 30 to 50 people.

Meeting this need of our workforce, residents and homeless people is a top priority for Mayor (Keith) James,” a city press release noted. Who writes this crap?

Bosley, for his part, gets credit for planting the idea of urban farming in West Palm Beach and running Henrietta Bridge Farm for years. It was Bosley who recommended the city to contact FAMU, which he first urged about 10 years ago and then again more recently. Although he regretted that the city had put his farm aside, just as a new growing season was starting, he offered to help with the new as best he could.

Every now and then he glances through the chained door to the now silent lot at 401 N. Rosemary Ave. Some of the plants he established still grow their way through the soil.”

There has been no movement at the former site of Henrietta Bridge Farm with the exception of little plants reaching for the sun.

https://macuba.org/plan-for-famu-west-palm-brings-hope-for-urban-farm-in-food-deserts/

Video of James meeting with the south end.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p08yExu6lE8

The end.

 

Who is Phyllis Brooks?

I received a phone call asking if I was aware that  City employee Phyllis Brooks was terminated from her job after 38 years of service to the City. I hadn’t heard, and if it’s true, it’s the second worse thing I’ve heard and it’s right up there with James not renewing the lease for Mr. Bosley’s Urban Farm.
Let’s take a look.
 
Ms. Brooks  was hired by the City Of WPB in 1984 and was terminated in Feb.2022.
 
Mayors of WPB from 1984–2022
 
Dwight Baber, Carol Roberts, Samuel A. Thomas, Richard V. Reikenis, Pat Pepper Schwab, James O. Poole, John F. “Jeff” Koons, Nancy M. Graham, Joel Daves, Lois Frankel, Jeri Muoio and Keith James.
 
When Ms. Brooks started her career with the City it was run by City Managers She worked under 2 City Managers Paul Steinbrenner & Ron Schutta.
 
Strong Mayor form of Government, came with name change from Manager to Administrator.
 
Nancy Graham was the City’s first “Strong Mayor form of Government, and served from November 1991 until March 25, 1999. Along with her new title she introduced Related to the City.
 
City Manager/ Administrator 
 
Paul Steinbrenner,  Ron Schutta, Michael Wright, Ed Mitchell, Jeff Green and Faye Johnson.
 
At this point in City history Ms. Brooks has worked successfully under 11 mayors and 5 City Managers/Administrators until the election of Mayor Keith James who  hired City Administrator  Faye Johnson when in my opinion life changed for Ms. Brooks.
 
I sent the email below to the 5 Commissioners and did not include James & Johnson.
 
March 9, 2022 10:08 AM  It is my understanding the City Commissioners have 2 employees, Executive Administrative Assistant and (1) Administrative Assistant to assist the Commissioner’s in their duties.

The Executive Administration Assistant, Ms. Phyllis Brooks was terminated from her job in Feb. 2022 after 38 years of service to the city.

 
I also understand a vote was taken by the City Commissioners to approve her termination.

Commissioners Fox, Lambert, Peduzzi, Shoaf and Warren was the vote for removal unanimous?

 
Did any of you vote against her removal? What reason were you given for her removal?

This termination not only has me upset but has left the remaining City employees with low morale, Job insecurity, stress, fear, and  anxiety they will be next. Did any of you consider the effects your action have taken? How is the remaining Administrative Assistant coping doing the work of 2 people?
I am anxious for your reply.

 
Wed, Mar 9, 2022 5:06 pm  Response F/ Commissioner Peduzzi: ” It would be inappropriate for me to respond to your request for information, as this is an employee/personnel issue. Please forward any request for information to assistant city administrator José Luis Rodriguez for consideration.”      
Peduzzi CC 4 Commissioner and included Johnson. Possible head’s up?
 
Thu, Mar 10, 2022 8:06 am       I forwarded the email to Mr. Rodriguez.  
 
“Good morning Mr. Rodriguez,I am forwarding you an email that was sent by me to all 5 Commissioners and a response received from Commissioner Peduzzi, who obviously choose to pass the buck to you. My request and Peduzzi response can be read in this email.”
 
Thu, Mar 10, 2022 2:14 pm   Response “Thank you for your email. The City does not comment on personnel related matters.”
 
Thu, Mar 10, 2022 1:17 pm   Response from Commissioner Shoaf was quite lengthy, and I included sections that answered questions I had asked of them.
 
“This is not an easy topic as organizational change never is.  The commissioners discussed office matters as a work session item and one thing was very clear; the structure of our office did not meet the needs of commissioners and changes would need to be made. Given the parameters of Sunshine, the City Administration has assisted with this process as it is difficult and unfair to employees to publicly discuss and per the charter, even commission office employees are staff of the administration”    So a commission vote was not needed to terminate Ms. Brooks.

“As such, administration has provided further support to the commission staff to bridge the gap for capacity during this time so that the office workload does not fall all to remaining staff.”    

Amazing administration has replaced Ms. Brooks so soon. Received no response from Fox, Lambert or Warren.
 
City Commission Office
 
Ms. Brooks, Executive Administrative  Assistant  and and one Administrative Assistant are the only two employees working for the five City Commissioners.
 
6/7/2021 Mayor/City Commission Work Session.
#2 on the agenda, Commission Staff discussed.  I will give reader’s the hi-lights but encourage readers to listen to the televised meeting starting time 26:49 to hear Commissioners remarks. Also included below are the Minutes from the meeting.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmW6wDggUAs
 
Minutes from the Mayor/Commission meeting held 6/7/2021
 
Commission Office Operations & Staffing: Commissioner Joseph Peduzzi.
 
“Commissioner Peduzzi asked his colleagues what they would like to see, from staff, to help with their functions as Commissioners, in order to help support their constituents and to make them a more effective Commissioner. 
Commissioner Peduzzi said that we should have a follow up meeting that is less formal, but there will be notice, so that the meeting can be attended by the public and we can work on what can be done so they can do constituent services. He stated that if we want to do more constituent services, we will have to look at current staff and see if we need to add additional staff.”              Needs more help
 
“Commissioner Fox said the calls she receives are from constituents who do not know who to call and feel that the two staff members are not enough. She wants additional support to work on constituent questions or issues and who to direct them to.”       Needs more help 
 
“Commissioner Warren said that they all have different management styles and different needs, so we need to respond differently to the constituents in their districts.She said that it would be beneficial for each Commissioner to have their own staff person.”  Needs more help
 
“Commissioner Shoaf said we need to determine what functions we can have staff in our office take up, by looking at job descriptions and seeing what can be done. She commented on the Smartsheet system put in place by the City Administrator and how to have staff fit into the process. She stated that staff should have more training on how to control the calendar and how to handle constituents.”
 
“Commissioner Lambert said that she wants to see the job descriptions to see if constituent services are included.”  Of course it’s not included in the job description, Ms. Johnson just put it in place. 
06072021 MC Work Session Minutes 
 
Fox and Warren said they need more staff and Peduzzi is in agreement.  Lets see with another email to   PBC Commissioners.
 
From:  <sandymac36@aol.com>
Sent: Friday, February 25, 2022 12:22 PM
To: Melissa McKinlay <MMcKinlay@pbcgov.org>
Subject: looking for info
 
I am told each County Commissioner has 2 assistance’s to lighten the work load for Commissioners. Is the information correct, what titles do they hold?
 
Fri, Feb 25, 2022 1:54 pm  Received a response from the County in 1 hr & 32 min.
 
Each Palm Beach County Commissioner has two aides and a secretary.  The title of the aide varies depending on years of service.   With the exception of Commissioner Kerner, the commissioners have two offices (one at the Governmental Center, and a second in their district).
 
Have a great weekend.
Kelley A. Burke
Chief of Staff to
Commissioner Melissa McKinlay
 
Now let’s get serious. Johnson came to us from the County where she served as Assistant City Administrator, and knew their system, and have the system that Johnson brought to WPB. Knowing how many staff members the County had did she really expect 2 WPB people assigned to the Commission office to put out the amount of work the County did? Commissioners see what happens when you can’t be bothered to do your homework and listen to Administration?  A good woman lost her job.
 
Commissioners I offer a solution:
 
Demand Ms. Brooks, a woman with 38 years of knowledge and valuable service be returned to her former position, and demand Johnson and James find the money to hire 3 more employees so each Commissioner has a “staff member”  and answers to resident can be made in 1 hr & 32 min.        1 on 1 = win win.
 
Feb.was Black History Month. As a gift, Ms. Brooks, who looks like James and Johnson, was terminated from her job she held for 38 Years.

One more black eye for WPB.
 
The end

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