Homeless Take Care Of their Own

Panhandling can be seen daily in my neighborhood, and I will share 3 stories I was involved in, and thank Channel 12 reporter Albert Pefley for reporting on the story.

The first encounter was while traveling on Military Trail.
There was a young woman standing in the street, holding a sign “Homeless and hungry, please help, God bless you” I stopped and asked her how she became homeless, and truly can’t remember her response. I told her I was willing to drive her to a homeless shelter where she could receive help. Without missing a beat, she said she would never go to a homeless shelter, because she was raped in one. Now I take a good look at her. She was well dressed in clean clothes, and a smile that you knew her parents spent a fortune on her mouth with teeth any one would be envious of.    I didn’t contribute any money.

On 45th. St. There was a young man holding a sign “Hungary, Will work for food. Thank you and God Bless.” I stopped and offered to pay him if he would mow my lawn, and explained I lived in the neighborhood and had a lawnmower he could use. His response ” I have been here all day in the heat, and am going to leave now.   I didn’t contribute any money.

I saved the best story for last. Coming off 95 onto 45th. St. there was a young couple, well dressed. The man was holding a sign “Trying to make it home for Christmas” while the young lady sat on a suitcase. I had a flashback to the time I was traveling from one state to another in an effort to get home to my parents for Christmas, in a car that was not reliable. I stopped and gave the young man $25.00. He thanked me profusely, and I was on my way.

A few days later I saw them again, in the same place, he was holding the sign while she took her place on the suitcase. I pulled over, got out of the car and demanded my money back. The last time I saw them they were running down 45th, St, suitcase in hand. I learned my lesson, and also learned the truly homeless, (easily spotted because they have their worldly possessions in a garbage bag, and the lucky ones push a grocery cart) They have never asked anything of me. You actually have to buy them a sandwich and cold drink and offer it up. Most will accept, some have refused. When good folks realize they are contributing to the problem, and stop donating money, the problem will cease to exist.

City Commission Meeting 11/15/2021 My comments will be in Italic.

10.7. “Public Hearing and First Reading of Ordinance No. 4983-21 regarding the repeal of Sections 54-127(2), (3), & (5) and 54-147(a)(1) pertaining to panhandling or soliciting in certain public areas of the City.”

Panhandling is the way some folks earn their living, like a 9-5 job. What bothers me is the City’s attempt to curb panhandling in certain sections of the City, namely the downtown (Clematis St) and Northwood Village. I assume it is OK to panhandle in other parts of the City, and believe me they do. I believe panhandling and homelessness are two separate issues, but obviously I’m wrong. Advocates have made changes in panhandling, and I hope the fight doesn’t stop there, and homelessness situation is also looked into. Below readers will find a story by the Miami New Times concerning the homeless in WPB Fl. and I have included excerpts and the entire story can be found below.

“Because of a recent U.S. Supreme Court case and other court rulings, the city of West Palm Beach may join a list of other cities in the state that have had to throw out their ordinances that outlaw panhandling.

In the face of intense backlash from homeless advocates and civil-rights organizations, the West Palm Beach City Commission voted unanimously to criminalize certain homeless behavior in order to preserve the city’s “aesthetic beauty.” Please note the dogs food & water dish. They care for their own, loyalty is rewarded.

During the meeting, Mayor Keith James said the ordinance was not meant to target homeless people but merely meant to regulate behavior that harms businesses in downtown and Northwood. And he claimed the ordinance was perfectly legal because the regulation is limited to two areas of the city, allowing homeless individuals to move to other areas.

Commissioner Joseph Peduzzi, who began to question the ordinance during the discussion, pushed back against the mayor’s argument, saying that if homeless people are driven to other parts of the city, at some point they may have nowhere else to go.”

Another commissioner who challenged the ordinance, Cory Neering, said he has a family member who experienced homelessness in West Palm Beach and was unable to find space in any shelters in the city. Neering was concerned that people who couldn’t find shelter space would wind up getting arrested or fined because they had no choice other than to sleep outside.

But James resisted requests from commissioners to table the ordinance for further review, saying he wanted a vote on it right away. After a long period of discussion, the ordinance finally passed without the language prohibiting sleeping outdoors; the prohibitions on public urination and defecation and on panhandling remain intact.

Jackie Azis, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Florida, says that even without the outdoor sleeping provision, the ordinance violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because prohibiting people from asking for donations infringes on their freedom of speech.
“The concern is that the government cannot tell people what they’re allowed to talk about in public,” Azis tells New Times. “What they passed is the same as telling the community, ‘You can’t talk about politics in downtown.'”

Although the pandemic has left many people jobless and without their livelihoods this year, South Florida cities haven’t stopped trying to criminalize homeless behaviors or otherwise make life difficult for marginalized people. In May, Miami Beach passed a panhandling ban that was challenged by the ACLU. (The city quietly removed the ban.) In Fort Lauderdale, advocates alleged that the city built an unnecessary parking lot in order to drive out a homeless encampment.

Azis says the ACLU is prepared to challenge West Palm Beach’s ordinance in court and is eager to hear from anyone who is arrested or fined for panhandling once the new law takes effect.”

Mayor Keith James has stated, on more than one occasion, he is not criminalizing homelessness. What does he call making the act punishable by a fine of up to $500 or 60 days of jail time? Channel 12 also reports they have reached out to City Commissioners and Mayor James for comment, and have not heard back. I’m shocked! Not really, they are the government, and explain nothing. I Have a bed to sleep in, food in the refrigerator, hot water to shower with, and I thank God every day for my blessings. Other’s are not so fortunate. In closing I should inform readers at the time the ordinance was passed neither Commissioner Fox or Warren sat on the dais, but replaced Commissioner Neering and Ryles, who decided not to seek re-election, and broke my heart.

Update on contaminated water situation!

The contaminated water situation residents faced when we were not advised by the City for 8 days we were drinking and using tainted water.Mayor James denied being aware of the situation. City Administrator, Faye Johnson made no such claim, leaving Public Utilities Director Poonam Kalkat aware. There is no one that will ever convince me Ms. Kalkat kept the news to herself. She reports to Johnson who reports to James. Ms. Kalkat recently took one for the team and handed in her resignation letter. My opinion, wrong person resigned.

https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/west-palm-beach-passes-anti-homeless-panhandling-ban-11787350

The end

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is the Internal Audit Dept. Needed?

The Internal Auditor is the best friend tax payers can possibly have.

They have the responsibility of auditing City Departments and find ways to improve the way business is done, find way’s to save the City money, and run more efficiently, while offering recommendations for improvement.

Internal City Auditors have the following responsibilities:
Evaluate financial documents, identify the financial risk and offer recommendations to reduce the risk, Identify accounting and financial record-keeping processes that can be improved, determine ways to cut costs, assess the efficiency and productivity of internal staff and make recommendations for improvement, and present findings to upper management in the form of reports and presentations.

You cannot fix a problem you don’t know you have, and the City of WPB has problems from the top down.

A little history:

Along with the Chief Internal Auditor there are five members of an audit committee who work with the IA. One member is appointed by the Mayor, and three are considered “Member -At- Large” who volunteer their time in an effort to assist the City. Presently the City is missing one “Member -At- Large” due to relocating to another city. The City Charter requires the audit committee members to reside with-in city limits, as the Charter also calls for the City Administrator to also reside within city limits, and she does not. The President of the City Commission (Peduzzi) acts as the Chairperson.

Chief Internal Auditors:

The first WPB Internal Auditor for the City was Imogene Isaacs, who devoted 22 years of her life to the City of WPB before being forced out by then Commissioner Keith James, when he accused her of leaking a story to the Palm Beach Post, concerning Bishop Ray of Redemptive Life, who as an attorney James previously represented Ray and the church.

WPB Watch posted a story in 2013 and can be read below, and I ask readers to read the memo James sent to Ms. Isaacs, which caused her resignation. Ms. Isaacs biggest complaint was her budget was cut severely enough that she didn’t have the money needed to hire enough staff to do a decent audit. After her resignation the entire audit staff resigned in protest.

https://wpbwatch.com/2013/10/redemptive-life-fiasco-caused-retaliation-on-wpb-auditor/

The second Internal Auditor was Roger Strout, hired by the City Commissioners in 2013. Mr. Strout gave excellent reports, easily understood, and also mentioned problems he had with some departments releasing documentation in a timely manner so he could audit a particular dept. He was very professional in his remarks, but you could hear the frustration in his voice. Just my common sense working here, but if there is a problem releasing documentation, my first thought is what are they trying to hide?

Mr. Strout had his “right hand man” who turned out to be a woman named Beverly Mahaso Esq. (identifies her as an attorney) CIA (Certified Internal Auditor) CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner) and when he retired from the City he stood at the podium and recommended her as his replacement. The City listened to him and offered her the position. She accepted, which brings us to the City’s third Chief Internal Auditor.

There are 21 Departments in the City of WPB, and at one time or another they all will be audited. The IA just finished an audit on “Police Special Investigations” one area of the Police Dept; there are many more.

Audit Committee Meeting, Tuesday November 9, 2021.

Very upsetting meeting where I learned the Internal Auditor’s Office. is down to one Senior Internal Auditor. Last month they had 2, but one resigned due to personal reasons.
The Internal Auditors Office has been given only 3 staff auditors to do audits of the entire City and its been like that for years. So how many are needed to properly run the dept.? Certainly more than 3 especially with all the money the City is receiving.

Ms. Mahaso said she was concerned she would lose her last Senior Internal Auditor, and that should concern every City Commissioner and taxpayer of WPB. She said that she has been trying to promote the one person but it sounded like she must have hit some resistance. It was clear that this was an urgent matter. Some even called it an emergency.

The other interesting statement was Commissioner Peduzzi reported the IA Dept. reports to the Committee Members mentioned above because the charter calls them a management committee. According to the charter this is to ensure the independence of the audit function. But the City Commissioners appoint the Internal Auditor also in the charter. So between the audit committee and the commissioners, the Chief Internal Auditor should be able to go to them and get the support she needs to get the work done.

City Charter: Sec. 4.05. – Internal auditor.

“The city commission shall appoint a city officer with the title of internal auditor. The internal auditor shall conduct, or cause to be conducted, financial, compliance, and expanded scope audits following generally accepted government auditing standards. The internal auditor shall have access to all records and personnel.
The internal auditor shall be appointed by the city commission. Removal from office must be for cause by a majority vote of the entire membership of the city commission (three affirmative votes).
To ensure independence of the audit function and to coordinate internal audit work with the needs of the mayor and the city commission, an audit committee is hereby established. The audit committee is a management committee and not a public board, commission or committee as specified in Article III, Section 3.01(5) above. The audit committee shall be comprised of five (5) voting members; the mayor or designee, the president of the city commission and three (3) at-large members who shall be appointed by the city commission.

The at-large members shall be city residents with expertise in auditing preferably internal or management auditing and at least two (2) of whom shall be a certified public accountant or a certified internal auditor; appointments shall be staggered for terms of three (3) years. The president of the commission shall be appointed as chairperson of the audit committee. The audit committee shall perform an evaluation of the internal auditor annually and present such to the city commission.”

City of WPB Org Chart Effective 05.24.21-1

Readers look what I found on the agenda for the upcoming CC meeting
Resolution No. 299-21 amends the City’s Salary Plan as provided in Resolution No. 248-21, approved on September 20, 2021 for fiscal year 2021/22 by creating the job classification of Grants and Special Projects Administrator with the pay grade allocation of GM04 and providing a salary range of $84,249 – $130,164. This job classification is created to facilitate complex grant planning, budgeting, monitoring, reporting, procurement compliance and task management.

Previous new hire

“Mayor James Announces New WPB Assistant to the City Administrator Dr. Philip C. Harris
The City’s pay scale salary for level GM17. “Min. $121,330.00 Mid. $151,663.00 Max. $181,995.00” “Mayor’s Office Harris, Philip Christopher 101117. Assistant to the City Administrator. Admin, Clerical&Fiscal GM17 $152,000.” (Mid. Level)” Very generous Mayor and City Administrator with taxpayers dollars.

So Administration can create new positions for friends and family, but can’t take care of the employees they have. The employees they need. So where does that leave the Internal Auditor’s Office when they need positions and funds to pay staff? Who benefits from not having audits done?

The end

 

Tent Site

Cast of characters. Developer Charles Cohen, representing Cohen, Brian Seymour, Chief architect Kristin Hawkins of world-renowned Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, CRA Board who is made up of the 5 sitting City Commissioners, Planning Board, City Place South Tower Association, 1 & 2 City Plaza, Downtown Neighborhood Association, and lets not forget Mayor James in the mix.

The Tent Site is a piece of city owned property that has been dormant and a terrible eye sore for 24 years, until the Cohen Brothers has a vision to build “West Palm Point”

4/21/2020 Cohen Bros. signed a Ground Lease: “A ground lease is an agreement that permits a tenant (Cohen) to develop a piece of property during the period of the lease. After the lease period, the land and all improvements the tenant makes return to the property owner.(City) Ground leases may also be referred to as land leases since the landlord is leasing out only the land.”

Once the building is up and a Certificate of Occupancy is issued Mr. Cohen will pay the City $1,280,000/year. Due to the length of time it is taking the City to decide this project is worthy residents will lose out on millions of dollars in revenue.

Cohen and chief architect Kristin Hawkins presented the board with their concept for the project. It will include an elliptical tower with 23 floors of offices, rising beside a 10-story garage.

8/17/2020 City commissioners, acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency board, voted unanimously for the West Palm Point project to rise on the 2.4 acre property at the corner of Okeechobee Boulevard and South Dixie Highway.

8/17/2021 Planning Board recommended approval.

Commissioner Kelly Shoaf has a problem with the project’s garage. She constantly states “Make it not look like a parking garage.” and unfortunately the other 4 bobble heads jumped on her wagon.

Cohen, along with his architect has been back and forth with the City trying to appease Shoaf and came up with ” living green wall.”

The garage stands alone, is 10 stories tall and as readers can see in the picture the seven bottom floors have living trees surrounding the garage so not a car can been seen, and is adorned with art and topped with a sky terrace with a reflective pool and landscaped seating areas. The architect will place Cysteine’s in order to water the trees. Click to enlarge.

Commissioner Peduzzi questions hurricane season. This building will attract big business who will pay top dollar for renting space and can you imagine the building and garage not being kept in pristine condition. If a tree is lost it will be replaced before the City wakes up. Going forward

11/1/2021 CRA Meeting scheduled for 4:00 PM followed by the City Commission Meeting at 5:00 PM. Tent site was on the agenda for both meetings. For unknown reasons the CRA meeting was changed to 3:00 PM and many residents mentioned above from the immediate neighborhood planned to attend and speak for the project. Residents I spoke to were upset about the time change and felt their opinion didn’t count, especially the people from the Downtown Neighborhood Association who are pictured here, and loved everything about the project, and Mr. Seymour stated he was surprised when he received a standing ovation. You can watch the CRA meeting below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvyByYP7Fog

The entire CRA meeting lasted for 1:47:26. I hope readers will take the time to view the meeting and listen to 2 speakers who did manage to make the time change. If you choose to watch the Tent Site presentation starts at 21:04, and Mr.Seymour begins at 25:28. Sherry Elias 1:19:31 tells the Commissioners what happens on the property weekends. Christopher Arlata starts at 1:23:16 and calls out the Commissioners for referring to the property as theirs.  He doesn’t mince words.

Listen to the conversation between Commission Peduzzi and Mr. Seymour when the word litigation is used. Mr. Cohen, without a brick being laid has spent well in access of a million dollars to date. What was accomplished-nothing. Come back and “Make it not look like a parking garage.”

Buy the time the next CRA meeting rolls around (Dec. 21) Cohen’s Ground Lease will expire and he will have to request an extension. Is this what the City is waiting for, the lease to expire?

It’s the end of the meeting and Commissioner Peduzzi asks the City Clerk if there are any comments emailed to the City. Well, yes there are. In fact there are 77 comments to be read. Due to the amount the Clerk is advised to just read the names and addresses, and if they are in favor or opposed to the project. I listened and wrote every name and address down.
All 77 comments were opposed to the project, and if that’s not surprising to readers this should be. The vast majority who opposed live in my area, District 2, called the Villages and live many miles from the Tent Site.

The beginning of the City Commission meeting 5:00 PM Peduzzi asked Faye Johnson, City Administrator, if there were any changes to the agenda, and she stated no, no changes.

The Tent Site was the last item on the agenda, and due to no action being taken at the CRA, there was no discussion. People waited until 9:30 PM to discover their night was wasted.

The City can’t pass the smell test, and should hang their heads in disgrace the way they treat residents.  All act like little demigod.

1100 Okeechobee Rd. Give-A-Way

This story contains emails between the City and business people interested in the sale of 1100 Okeechobee Rd; along with 2 Commercial Contracts and a Agreement for Sale and Purchase of Real Property I found the communication interesting, telling, and a bit long. I ask readers to pay attention to the dates when reading the emails. The entire PRR (Public Records Request can be read below, if you have the courage-go for it.

Original contracts for 1100 Okeechobee Rd. can be read and Marto Rentals offered $700,000.00 and the city accepted the offer, drew up the 23 page Agreement for Sale and Purchase of Real Property without the benefit of 2 appraisals as required by Code of Ordinances. City eventually asked for and received a fair market value of $775,000.00, and a new contract was issued.

Commercial Contract

Gladstone Realty Investment Corp, (TBD) offered $875,000.00. Contract consisting of 8 pages was signed 10/15/2021

Commercial Contract

Keith Beaty Buyers Broker  JON Schmid & Associates offered $900,000.00. Contract consisting of 8 pages was signed 10/16/2021 This is a dad/son operation and you will read emails by the son Mark.

City Commission Meeting held Oct 18 2021

9.2 Public Hearing and First Reading of Ordinance No. 4954-21 authorizing the sale and conveyance of property located at 1100 Okeechobee Road to Marto Rentals 2, LLC for $775,000.

Background Information: In part reads:

On April 5, 2021, the City received a letter of intent to purchase the property from Marto Rentals 2, LLC.

The interested party intends to utilize the site for expansion of Property Works, a minority-owned small business located at a neighboring site and intends to create 10 -15 local jobs to be offered to West Palm Beach residents.

The Ordinance must be approved by 4/5 of the Commission at either First
or Second Reading, or both, as required by Sec. 2-31(27) of the Code. Meaning 4 of the 5 Commissioners must agree to sell. If a Commissioner is absent and there is a tie vote Mayor James will vote to approve. Both Peduzzi & Lambert were absent on 10/18/21.

The registered agents for Marto Rentals 2, LLC are also the owners of Property Works, a current vendor of the City who provides landscape and maintenance services to various Departments. An ethics opinion was provided by the City’s Ethics Officer which determined that transaction does not present a prohibited conflict. Really?

E-Mails

Emails from Alexander Millan to the City concerning 1100 Okeechobee Rd. Offered $800,000.00

From: Alexander Millan <alex@alexandermillan.com>

Sent: Saturday, October 2, 2021 5:31 PM

To: Jennifer Ferriol <JFerriol@wpb.org>

Subject: 1100 Okeechobee Rd.

“The reason for my email is I noticed 1100 Okeechobee Rd. was declared surplus and Property Works is trying to buy it. We are also interested in purchasing the property. What is the process for submitting a bid?”

(City) On Mon, Oct 4, 2021 at 11:24 AM Jennifer Ferriol <JFerriol@wpb.org> wrote:

Hello Alexander,

As it relates to your inquiry, the City received an unsolicited proposal to purchase the building. As you know, the City Commission has authorized for us to formally negotiate with the interested party and we are moving forward with that direction. Do you have a purchase price in mind?

From: Alexander Millan <alex@alexandermillan.com>

Sent: Tuesday, October 5, 2021 3:10 PM

To: Jennifer Ferriol <JFerriol@wpb.org>

Subject: Re: 1100 Okeechobee Rd.

“Do we get one chance to submit an offer or is there a bidding process?”

(City) On Tue, Oct 5, 2021 at 3:27 PM Jennifer Ferriol <JFerriol@wpb.org> wrote:

Hello Alexander,

“As per my email below, we have already accepted the unsolicited offer from the interested party and the City Commission has authorized for us to formally negotiate with them.

In accordance with the code, we are not to follow any process outside of what the City Commission has authorized for us to do. As such, we plan on bringing forward the negotiated agreement in a future meeting.

I was simply inquiring on a potential purchase price to determine if it warrants other considerations.”

***********************************************************************

From: Alexander Millan <alex@alexandermillan.com>

Sent: Wednesday, October 6, 2021 11:04 AM

To: Jennifer Ferriol <JFerriol@wpb.org>

Subject: Re: 1100 Okeechobee Rd.

“Following up to see if the city will entertain our offer?”

(City) On Wed, Oct 6, 2021 at 11:57 AM Jennifer Ferriol <JFerriol@wpb.org> wrote:

“Hi Alex,

“I will inform the City Commission and have them review for consideration.”

From: Alexander Millan <alex@alexandermillan.com>

Sent: Wednesday, October 6, 2021 12:01 PM

To: Jennifer Ferriol <JFerriol@wpb.org>

Subject: Re: 1100 Okeechobee Rd.

“Thank you! Please let me know if you need any further information. Have a great day!”

 

On Mon, Oct 11, 2021 at 6:47 PM Alexander Millan <alex@alexandermillan.com> wrote:

“When will our offer be presented to the commission? I’ve been talking with our architect about making renderings of the remodel and improvements we would perform on the buildings and I’d like to see if we have enough time” The City did not respond to the email

On Wed, Oct 13, 2021 at 8:55 AM Alexander Millan <alex@alexandermillan.com> wrote:

Hi Jennifer,

“Following up on the timeline to see if we have time for renderings.

Best,  Alex    The City did not respond to email

 

From: Alexander Millan <alex@alexandermillan.com>

Sent: Friday, October 15, 2021 8:31 AM

To: Jennifer Ferriol <JFerriol@wpb.org>

Subject: Re: 1100 Okeechobee Rd.

“I saw on the draft agenda for the October 18th commission meeting the sale of 1100 Okeechobee is on there for $775,000. As I mentioned, our offer is $800,000 and I believe we are better buyers for the property. Our intentions are to completely renovate the property to transform it into industrial office space to attract high quality businesses and jobs to the area. As it is very clear, the direction of the neighborhood is more in line with that vision. I believe selling the property to be used as a landscape yard is a great under utilization and doesn’t add great value to the neighborhood.”

(City) On Fri, Oct 15, 2021 at 12:14 PM Jennifer Ferriol <JFerriol@wpb.org> wrote:

“Alexander:

The City Commission will be made aware that there are other organizations that are interested and will have the ability to make a decision on how they would like to proceed. I will include your intent and proposal in my presentation on Monday.”

From: Alexander Millan

Sent: Fri, 15 Oct 2021 15:57:30 -0400 (3:57PM)

To: Jennifer Ferriol

Subject: Re: 1100 Okeechobee Rd.

“Thank you for the update, Jennifer! I appreciate your time and consideration. Have a great weekend!”

Emails from Mark Schmid to the City concerning 1100 Okeechobee Rd. Offered $900,000.00

From: Mark Schmid <markhschmid@gmail.com>

Date: Mon, Oct 11, 2021 at 9:57 AM

Subject: 1100 Okeechobee Rd, WPB, FL. 33401

To: <Jferriol@wpb.org>

Jennifer,

“My name is Mark Schmid and I’m a Real Estate Associate in West Palm Beach. I have a client that wants to purchase the City property located at 1100 Okeechobee Rd, WPB FL. 33401. Can you call me back or email me to provide further assistance on the sale of this property?”        The City did not respond to the email.

From: Mark Schmid <markhschmid@gmail.com>

Sent: Thursday, October 14, 2021 3:27 PM

To: Kelly Shoaf <kshoaf@wpb.org>

Cc: Joseph Peduzzi <jpeduzzi@wpb.org>

Subject: Fwd: 1100 Okeechobee Rd, WPB, FL. 33401

To all,

“My name is Mark Schmid and I’m a Real Estate Associate in West Palm Beach. I have tried contacting Jennifer Ferriol by phone and email regarding the City property located at 1100 Okeechobee Rd, PCN#: 74-43-43-28-09-008-0010 and to this date there has been no reply. Over the years my company has been told repeatedly that if this property was for sale by the City that there would be an RFP and a formal notification.

This property is owned by the taxpayers of WPB. The Mayor and Commission have an obligation to sell it to the highest bidder not take the first unsolicited proposal.”

Mark Schmid

(City) On Thu, Oct 14, 2021 at 3:41 PM Armando Fana <AFana@wpb.org> wrote:

“Hello Mr. Schmid,

“The City is following the allowed process under the City Charter. Although price is a consideration it is not the only consideration that government entities follow when reviewing a property disposition as there are other public benefits that are of value. For example the City has donated properties for the development of affordable housing.

The proposal that is being considered is above the appraised value and provides additional public benefits. I’ve CC’d Ms. Ferriol who will reach out to answer any further questions you may have.”

Regards,

Armando Fana

 

From: Mark Schmid <markhschmid@gmail.com>

Sent: Thursday, October 14, 2021 4:13 PM

To: Armando Fana <AFana@wpb.org>

Cc: Kelly Shoaf <kshoaf@wpb.org>; Joseph Peduzzi <jpeduzzi@wpb.org>; Christina

Lambert <clambert@wpb.org>; Christy Fox <CFox@wpb.org>; Keith James

<KJames@wpb.org>; Shalonda Warren <SWarren@wpb.org>; Jennifer Ferriol

<JFerriol@wpb.org>

Subject: Re: 1100 Okeechobee Rd, WPB, FL. 33401

“Armando,

Thank you for the quick response. I meant to CC everyone in the email but I accidentally BCC’d some of the commissioners. From my understanding, in order for the City to sell property they have to form an RFP and present it to the public. Please read below:

Legislative declaration of surplus and method of disposition. Prior to the commencement of formal negotiations for the sale, lease or exchange of city property, the subject property shall first be presented to the city commission so that the city commission may by resolution (by simple majority vote):

1. Make a legislative finding that the city property is not needed for city purposes and declare the property surplus; and

2. Select a method of disposition as follows by:

i. Authorizing formal negotiations with interested parties;

ii. Issuing a competitive request for proposals from interested parties;

iii. Issuing a competitive invitation to negotiate for interested parties;

iv. Authorizing disposition by auction and establishing the minimum acceptable bid and other parameters to allow disposal at action; or

v. Submitting to the electors in a referendum the question as to whether or not the property should be sold.

If the city commission selects disposition by request for proposals or invitation to negotiate, the request for proposals or invitation to negotiate shall be approved by the city commission prior to publication of the notice and issuance of the request for proposals or invitation to negotiate. Any request for proposals approved under this subsection (27) shall establish the criteria for proposal award. Any contract for the sale or disposal of real property shall be approved by ordinance and by a super-majority vote of the city commission in accordance with subsection (27)e. of this section.”

(City) “On Thu, Oct 14, 2021 at 5:46 PM Armando Fana <AFana@wpb.org> wrote:

“It can be one or more than one. We received an offer that includes an over appraised value price and other public benefits that we deemed as valuable to the City’s interest. That has been presented to the City Commission.”

From: Mark Schmid <markhschmid@gmail.com>

Sent: Thursday, October 14, 2021 5:51:11 PM

To: Armando Fana <AFana@wpb.org>

Cc: Jennifer Ferriol <JFerriol@wpb.org>; Kelly Shoaf <kshoaf@wpb.org>; Joseph Peduzzi

<jpeduzzi@wpb.org>; Christina Lambert <clambert@wpb.org>; Christy Fox <CFox@wpb.org>; Keith

James <KJames@wpb.org>; Shalonda Warren <SWarren@wpb.org>

Subject: Re: 1100 Okeechobee Rd, WPB, FL. 33401

“Armando,

It states “Parties” (more than one). Can I make an offer?

Thanks, Mark”

(City) On Thu, Oct 14, 2021 at 5:59 PM Armando Fana <AFana@wpb.org> wrote:

“Absolutely you can. We are way down the line with the negotiations on the offer that we have so I’m not saying it will be accepted or considered but you can present an offer through Housing and Community Development and we will certainly take a look at it.”

From: Mark Schmid <markhschmid@gmail.com>

Sent: Thursday, October 14, 2021 6:18:28 PM

To: Armando Fana <AFana@wpb.org>

Cc: Jennifer Ferriol <JFerriol@wpb.org>

Subject: Re: 1100 Okeechobee Rd, WPB, FL. 33401

“Armando,

I will get you an offer tomorrow. Can you provide me with the appropriate contact info to send the offer to? Thank you for your time and efforts.

Thanks, Mark”

From: Armando Fana

Sent: Thu, 14 Oct 2021 22:26:01 +0000 (10:26PM)

To: Mark Schmid

Cc: Jennifer Ferriol

Subject: Re: 1100 Okeechobee Rd, WPB, FL. 33401

“Hey Mark,, you can send it to Jennifer. Thanks”

From: Mark Schmid <markhschmid@gmail.com>

Sent: Saturday, October 16, 2021 3:23:53 PM

To: Jennifer Ferriol <JFerriol@wpb.org>

Subject: 1100 Okeechobee Rd Offer

Jennifer,

Please see attached 2nd offer for 1100 Okeechobee Rd. Please confirm that you have

received both offers.

Thanks, Mark

From: Jennifer Ferriol

Sent: Sun, 17 Oct 2021 18:14:38 +0000 (6:14 PM)

To: Mark Schmid

Subject: Re: 1100 Okeechobee Rd Offer

Hello Mark,

“Received. Thank you.”

Jennifer Ferriol

Emails from Martin Murphy to the City concerning 1100 Okeechobee Rd.

From: martinmurphy@themurphyco.com <martinmurphy@themurphyco.com>

Sent: Thursday, October 14, 2021 4:28 PM

To: Andre D. Lewis <ALewis@wpb.org>

Cc: Jennifer Ferriol <JFerriol@wpb.org>; Christina Lambert <clambert@wpb.org>

Subject: City of WPB City Commission – 10/18/2021 – Draft Agenda – Section 10.2

“Mr. Lewis,

My name is Martin Murphy, with JAMCO, Inc. We noticed in section 10.2 of the City Commission Draft Agenda set for this Monday that the property located at 1100 Okeechobee Rd. has staff recommendation to sell to a private entity. We are long time property owners in this area and have been interested in this property since the City acquired it. When we have reached out to the City in the past we were told that, if the property would be put up for sale, it would be offered in an RFP or other formal notification.  Can you please tell us if an RFP or formal notification was previously advertised? We remain interested in the property and would like to be included in the process if possible.

Thank you.”

Sincerely,

JAMCO, Inc.

Martin E. Murphy

President

From: Jennifer Ferriol <JFerriol@wpb.org>

Sent: Thursday, October 14, 2021 5:10 PM

To: martinmurphy@themurphyco.com; Andre D. Lewis <ALewis@wpb.org>

Cc: Christina Lambert <clambert@wpb.org>

Subject: RE: City of WPB City Commission – 10/18/2021 – Draft Agenda – Section 10.2

“Hello Martin,

In accordance with Section 2-31 of the City’s Code of Ordinances, prior to the formal negotiations, the City Commission must make a determination that the property is not needed for City purpose and must declare the property as surplus and select one method of disposition. The method of disposition may be formal negotiations with an interested party as detailed in your email below. In the case of property located at 1100 Okeechobee Rd, a surplus declaration and method of disposition was determined at the September 7th meeting via resolution 145-21. Feel free to contact me directly at 561-822-1276 for further discussion”

From: martinmurphy@themurphyco.com <martinmurphy@themurphyco.com>

Sent: Friday, October 15, 2021 10:35 AM

To: Jennifer Ferriol <JFerriol@wpb.org>; Andre D. Lewis <ALewis@wpb.org>

Cc: Christina Lambert <clambert@wpb.org>

Subject: RE: City of WPB City Commission – 10/18/2021 – Draft Agenda – Section 10.2

“Jennifer – thank you very much for the quick response. However, we are not a little disappointed that this is the path the City is taking regarding the sale of 1100 Okeechobee Road property. We have inquired numerous times over the past 31 years about the possibility of purchasing the 1100 Okeechobee Road property since the City obtained it in 1990 and were never told that we could effectively make an offer to purchase that would be considered in this fashion. Reading section 14 of the attached agenda from September 7th, it states that an offer was made on April 5, 2021 and the City has decided to sell without investigating if other higher offers would be available for their benefit. We assume that the offer was unsolicited, is this correct? Is there a reason the City would not explore the possibility of receiving a potential higher offer for the property? We are long time property owners (The Murphy Construction Co./JAMCO, Inc.) within the City limits of West Palm Beach, in this very City district, that have paid our property taxes since 1925. As stated in the initial email, would like to have the opportunity to pursue the potential purchase of the property. Please advise if we have an chance to participate in such or not. If this items remains on the Agenda, I plan on attending the Monday City Commission meeting and reiterating out position above.”

Thank you.

Sincerely,

JAMCO, Inc.

Martin E. Murphy

From: Jennifer Ferriol

Sent: Friday, October 15, 2021 12:12 PM

To: martinmurphy@themurphyco.com; Andre D. Lewis <ALewis@wpb.org>

Cc: Christina Lambert <clambert@wpb.org>; Armando Fana <AFana@wpb.org>; Philip Harris <PHarris@wpb.org>

Subject: RE: City of WPB City Commission – 10/18/2021 – Draft Agenda – Section 10.2

Martin:

“In accordance with Section 2-31 of the City’s Code of Ordinances, the City has the authority to accept unsolicited proposals and formally negotiate with the interested party. Based on the proposal received, City staff made a determination that the purchase price and public benefits provided where suitable to bring forward for consideration by the City Commission. Although price is an obvious consideration, it is not the only aspect that we review when determining property disposition as there are other public benefits that are of value. At this moment, we intend to move forward with the agenda item . The City Commission will be made aware that there are other organizations that are interested and will have the ability to make a decision on how they would like to proceed. We welcome your feedback and public comment.

I hope this email answers your questions. Please let me know if I could be of further assistance.

From: Jennifer Ferriol <JFerriol@wpb.org>

Sent: Friday, October 15, 2021 12:17 PM

To: martinmurphy@themurphyco.com

Cc: Armando Fana <AFana@wpb.org>; Philip Harris <PHarris@wpb.org>

Subject: RE: City of WPB City Commission – 10/18/2021 – Draft Agenda – Section 10.2

“Martin:

As a follow-up, do you have a purchase price and intent in mind? Again, I will be presenting to the Commission and would like to have as much information as possible so that they could make an informed decision.”

Jennifer Ferriol

From: martinmurphy@themurphyco.com <martinmurphy@themurphyco.com>

Sent: Friday, October 15, 2021 1:08 PM

To: Jennifer Ferriol <JFerriol@wpb.org>

Cc: Armando Fana <AFana@wpb.org>; Philip Harris <PHarris@wpb.org>; Christina Lambert <clambert@wpb.org>

Subject: RE: City of WPB City Commission – 10/18/2021 – Draft Agenda – Section 10.2

“Jennifer – thank you again for the very quick response. I don’t have a purchase price at this time unfortunately, we just noticed the agenda item for this coming Monday. The real estate market is very active and we would like to take a look at the site/structures prior to offering a purchase price.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

JAMCO, Inc.

Martin E. Murphy

From: Jennifer Ferriol

Sent: Fri, 15 Oct 2021 20:30:05 +0000 (8:30PM)

To: martinmurphy@themurphyco.com

Cc: Armando Fana;Philip Harris;Christina Lambert

Subject: RE: City of WPB City Commission – 10/18/2021 – Draft Agenda – Section 10.2

“Martin:

Understood. I will express your interest to the City Commission in order for them to make a determination on how to proceed. Have a great weekend! “

Jennifer Ferriol.

email below between the City and buyers Marto Rentals 2, LLC. and Pworks, better known as Tony and Jason.

(City) On Sep 27, 2021, at 2:43 PM, Jennifer Ferriol <JFerriol@wpb.org> wrote:

Hello Tony and Jason:

Find attached the agreement for sale of property located at 1100 Okeechobee Road. Please review and provide comments, as needed. Otherwise, please execute and return to my attention via email. As a reminder, we intend to seek first approval at the October 18th City Commission meeting. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

From: Jason Pworks

Sent: Thu, 30 Sep 2021 16:12:41 +0000 (4:12 PM)

To: Jennifer Ferriol

Cc: Antonio Batallan

Subject: Re: 1100 Okeechobee Road – Sale Agreement

Importance: High

Hello,

Contract looks acceptable just a few small things.

Section 3.1 says time for redevelopment, we intend to remodel not redevelop the two are different and I would prefer it say remodel.

Section 3.3 says 6 month after CO from redevelopment once again we are planing on remodeling not redeveloping, also the 10 employees will not be employees of the entity buying the property (Marto rentals 2 LLC) they will be employed by other entities owned by me. Also include Not withstanding market availability of employees

Section 12.3 again says redevelopment  THANKS!

PRR (Public Records Request can be read here.  1100 Okeechobee Rd.

And there you have it, the deal is done, and this is a good example of why the City gets sued so often. Remember the no bid PSC Security contract. Couldn’t give our 1st responders a new contract for over a year because the city was so short of funds, but they walk away and leave $125,000 on the table. If folks are foolish enough to give Mayor James a second term, they will get the leadership they deserve.

The end

City Commission Meeting 10/18/2021

My comments and questions in italic.

I want to bring 2 items (7-8 & 7-11) to readers attention that City Commissioners voted approval that was on the Consent Calendar, which the City added new wording.

“All items listed under the consent calendar are considered routine and will be enacted by one motion. There will be no separate discussion of these items.”

The Consent Calendar is where the City tries to slip through items like the $180,000.00 payout to a former employee who sued the City. If readers cant recall the incident Tony Doris from the PB Post wrote an article and can be read below.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20191118/west-palm-beach-commissioners-reject-180000-payout-over-sex-assault-allegations

7.8 “Resolution No. 273-21 authorizing the City Commission to approve a Facility Use and Maintenance Agreement with Phipps Youth Baseball.
Background Information: The City owns the baseball facilities located at Phipps Park (the “Park”) which include four (4) baseball fields, batting cages and other baseball practice facilities, the restrooms, concession facilities and parking lot (the “Baseball Facilities”), which facilities are for the use and benefit of the public.”

Who in their right mind would object to a park where kids can play ball? Not me, give the kids something to do, some place to go, have fun, make friends. Keep kids on the ball field and off the street. Win-Win. So what’s the problem? Kids play hard, coach’s insure they don’t get dehydrated insure they drink enough. Now comes the problem.
I did a story previously on the City Parks and the homeless. The City chooses to keep it’s City Park restrooms locked and bared. Why? Keep the homeless from using the facilities. No place to wash up or relieve them selves. So when residents complain about the smell from urine or feces where can the homeless go? This is a picture of Phipps Park where the ball park is located. Cant even get to the water fountain.

7.11. “Resolution No. 244-21(F) for Law Enforcement investigative expenses.
Background information: “The Federal Law Enforcement Trust Fund expenditure of $115,775 will be used to achieve law enforcement objectives in accordance with the statutes and guidelines that govern the Federal Equitable Sharing Program as set forth in the current edition of the Department of Justice’s Guide to Equitable Sharing for State and Local Law Enforcement.
The West Palm Beach Police Department continues to need additional space for investigative personnel. This request will cover the payments required for the leasing of space and continuing operational expenses: $91,575 Lease Expenses; $7,800 Electric; $6,400 Contractual Services; and $10,000 for maintenance, repairs, and service agreements as required under the lease agreement.”

If the police need additional space give it to them. They obviously out grew the old, outdated building on Banyan Blvd. Crime is growing in WPB and a reported 5 murders committed between 8/4/21 and 10/17/21. That’s unacceptable, and detectives are trying to solve crimes without the aid of residents who fear retaliation. If the City cares about it’s residents how about building a new state of the art Police Station? In the meantime City Hall has more space than they need, and I question why the City will spend $115,775 dollars to rent space (making a landlord richer) than allowing the detectives to work out of City Hall.

A Week In The Life Of A WPB Cop

Update 10/18/2021

Woke up Sunday morning, put on the coffee, let KC out to take care of business and turned on the news. Appears a cop shot a man armed with a knife. Not many details given. Below is a story from WPBF channel 25.

“Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating a West Palm Beach officer-involved shooting.
The shooting happened at the 800 block of Sunset Rd. in West Palm Beach around 2:10 Sunday morning.
Officers responded to a call of a man armed with a knife attempting to break into a residence.
According to West Palm Beach police, the man lunged at officers with a knife while they tried to communicate with him.
One West Palm Beach officer shot the suspect.
Police have not identified the suspect nor his current condition.”

I don’t know if the cop is black or white, and I don’t care. I don’t know if the man who was shot is black or white, and I don’t care, although I hope the shooting wasn’t fatal. What I do care about is the cop went home to his family and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the incident. In my opinion no department should investigate a shooting of one on their own.

I receive a weekly crime report and here is part of the report for serious crime from 10/10/2021 -10/13/21.

1) DEATH INVESTIGATION
23XX 45TH ST
Oct 13, 2021 at 10:26 am
#20210014579
************************************************
2) DEATH INVESTIGATION
66XX 66TH WAY
Oct 13, 2021 at 6:13 pm
#20210014601
************************************************
3) DEATH INVESTIGATION
10XX 25TH ST
Oct 13, 2021 at 7:25 am
#20210014573
************************************************
4) ASSAULT – AGG ASSAULT W/ A FIREARM (POSS.)
17XX VILLAGE BLVD
Oct 12, 2021 at 9:40 pm
#20210014561
************************************************
5) BATTERY – OFFICER, FIREFIGHTER, MEDICAL CARE PROVIDER
9XX 45TH ST
Oct 12, 2021 at 7:00 pm
#20210014555
************************************************
6) BATTERY – OFFICER, FIREFIGHTER, MEDICAL CARE PROVIDER
9XX 45TH ST
Oct 10, 2021 at 12:20 am
#20210014428
************************************************
Coincidence? A shooting happens in Riviera Beach. Soon after a shooting happens in WPB. Then back and forth. I have been told, and I believe, the shootings are gang related. Three death investigations in one week. I’m grateful I don’t live in Chicago where 785 victims were killed in Chicago in the past 12 months. Sixty five deaths a day. Read the report below:

https://graphics.suntimes.com/homicides/

I’ve lived long enough to know the WPB Police may not solve the 3 murders in WPB without the help of the residents stepping up if they know something. I also know residents will never find peace in their neighborhood without the Police Dept.

Residents live in fear of retaliation if they talk to police. There has to be a better way.
How about a “go between” If a resident has information is it possible to talk to a Priest or Pastor who would be willing to talk to the Police and possibly point them in the right direction?
A problem has never existed without a solution. Let’s find one.

Update 10/18/2021

Sunday afternoon, police said Lorenzo Robb was released from prison on Sept. 17. His criminal history includes 13 felony charges with one felony conviction and 14 misdemeanor charges with five misdemeanor convictions.

According to West Palm Beach police, all three officers are currently on administrative leave, which is standard department protocol. The officers will be named at a later time.

Rodney Mayo, A Man Of Compassion

Along with the City Commissioners, Mayor James, City Administrator Faye Johnson, Tony Doris of the PB Post and others I received the email below. The email is verbatim, and is a Public Record, so I’m comfortable including it with the story. Rodney Mayo & Maurice Costigan have organized MoonFest for 30 years. My comments below in italic.

“MOONFEST 2021 the TRUTH as to why it was cancelled.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise these days the lack of facts and the unwillingness to fact check in the media.
Moonfest was not approved by the City of West Palm Beach and here is why.

Moonfest’s permit application was submitted for the 400 and 500 blocks of Clematis. The reason we scaled back the event this year was two fold

1- the city changed the approval process for events on clematis and increased the number of businesses needed for consent to approve any event from 50% to 85%. After speaking with many of the businesses in the 200 and 300 blocks we felt we would not be able to reach the 85% consent for approval of Moonfest. The 400 and 500 blocks had 100% consent for approval.

2- we never wanted to produce an event where it might negatively affect any business or at the objection of any business owners. The event was created 30 years ago to do just the opposite, bring traffic to downtown!

This is why we submitted this year for only the 400 and 500 blocks of Clematis. This also would have enabled us to increase the production value , attract more artists and produce something we and the City would be proud of.

We were initially told by the special events department at the City that this proposal was ok and would be approved.

In August the City had a meeting to discuss Moonfest 2021. We were not only not invited to this meeting but were told we were not allowed to attend the meeting.    Does this sound familiar to readers, remember CMUDD and invited guests only, and I was removed from City Hall due to my name not being on the “list”.

This was highly suspect as we , as the organizers of Moonfest, had always been an integral part of the planning process and attended all the City staff meetings.
We feel that as a gated event, where the capacity is limited to a maximum safe number, is not only safe but far safer than what is going to take place. An open, completely unregulated, un-gated free event with no age limits and no way to control alcohol consumption.

In addition, unauthorized Moonfest events, such as “Clematis Socials Moonfest”, are now popping up all over the place and are making it appear that they are now the organizers of Moonfest and that the event is still on.

This could really turn into a disaster unless the city is prepared for the influx of attendees that in the past have been regulated to over 21 years of age and also supplemented by an extra 50 private security personal in addition to the 40 City of West Palm Beach overtime police officers that were hired by Moonfest.

There will be no gates to control the crowd as well so how can this possibly make it a safer “event”. It will basically be a free for all.
We are pretty baffled as to the Cities rationale in making this decision, if there is one. We do know that we were ready willing and able to make this year’s Moonfest a safe, fun event and we’re willing to work with the City as we always have in the past to assure that.
Unfortunately we were not given that opportunity by the City.
Rodney and Maurice
Founders and organizers of Moonfest since 1993.”

Below is the PB Post story written by Mr.Washington on Moon Fest

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/story/news/local/westpb/2021/10/16/moonfest-2021-canceled-west-palm-halloween-event-off-second-year/8470676002/

So Who Is Rodney Mayo? Story below is written by Krista Martinelli and excerpts are from her story. Please take the time to read the entire article and listen to an emotional Mr. Mayo address the City Commissioners. My comments in italic.

“Rodney Mayo, Community Activist and Restaurant Owner. Rodney Mayo is known for the 17 restaurants/nightclubs that he owns in the area. But also he’s been a community activist, starting up an organization called Hospitality Helping Hands (as a response to COVID-19) and speaking out against racism.

I asked Mayo why he decided to start Hospitality Helping Hands. “As a result of COVID and the layoffs, we were initially going to set up a program to feed our staff (over 600 people, many of them as the sole providers for their families). We got so many other hospitality workers looking for a hot daily meal. And then we got a flood of requests from everyone who was laid off, not just hospitality workers.” Mayo seems to be an empathetic soul; he didn’t have the heart to say no, so they just stepped up to the plate, feeding everyone who needs a hot meal and continuing to do so.

Mayo put together a Barbecue for Peace, in response to the incident in West Palm Beach when peaceful protesters were met by police officers with tear gas and rubber bullets. “The Chief of Police denied the tear gas and rubber bullets.” But when faced with physical evidence of both, “they retracted all that,” says Mayo. “I suggested a coming together with a Barbecue for police officers and protesters.” Chief of Police Frank Adderley thought it was a good idea. The date was set for Sunday, June 7th and the location would be West Palm Beach. “We were granted a permit,” says Mayo.

“On that Friday at 6pm, WPB Mayor Keith James revoked the permit. With very little time on his hands, Mayo moved the BBQ for Peace, planned for about 1,000 people to Lake Worth.

In my opinion the incident with the police is the reason for the push back with Moon Fest. I have heard, from too many people, the Mayor can be very vindictive and when enough people make the statement I believe there is some truth to it.

In my opinion Mayor Keith James has absolutely no empathy, and if he can’t relate to someone’s pain he will have no qualms about causing it.

Read the entire story by Krista Martinelli below

https://aroundwellington.com/talking-about-racism-part-6-rodney-mayo-community-activist-and-restaurant-owner/

 

City Employees Resigning–Why

It’s been said If you love your job, you never work a day in your life, If you don’t care for your job, 8 hours can seem like 15. I believe both versions. Been there-done that.

West Palm Beach is to receive a total of $24.5 million in federal coronavirus relief money.
Half of the money was given to the city in May, (2021) and the other half will come next year.(2022)

From the City: “The bulk of this year’s money, about $6.5 million, will be used to replace the roughly $7 million in revenue the city said it lost because of the pandemic, which shut down businesses and limited the city’s tax receipts. The city plans to purchase vehicles to replace aging ones in its fleet. About $10 million in vehicles will ultimately need to be replaced, city officials have said.”

Employee bonuses of up to $3,800 will be issued in Nov.2021.

Premium Pay Proposal Details: Category 1: $3,800.00. “Routinely worked in areas mainly outside of City facilities. Broad potential exposure and interaction with public and/or items touched by public in the community or within City facilities” Fire, Police, SEIU (Service Employees International Union) PMSA ( Professional Managers and Supervisors Association) Non-Union Employees.

The WPB police dept. mourns the loss of 2 police officers in as many months. Officers Bob Williams and Tony Testa, both husbands and fathers passed away from Covid-19. Hopefully the City will allow the premium pay to go to their spouses and children.

Premium Pay Proposal Details: Category 2: $2,500.00 “Routinely work within City facilities. Some degree of potential exposure and interaction with public and/or items touched by public who had appointments at City facilities.” SEIU (Service Employees International Union) PMSA ( Professional Managers and Supervisors Association) Non-Union Employees (Includes Police & Fire Command Staff, Directors, Administrations)

Premium Pay Proposal Estimated Totals:

Category 1 $3,800 X 892 FTE (full-time equivalent) $3,389,600.00.
Category 2 $2,500 X 442 FTE $1,105,000. Total $4,494,600.00.”

I don’t understand why the city received $12.25 million dollars in May and will not issue the city employees their well deserved bonuses until 6 months later in Nov.2021, and wonder if  Directors and Administration will wait, or have already received their  bonus.

I was told 3 employees who worked for Code Enforcement recently resigned from the City, and it was easily verified that Supervisor Mitch Posner, everybody’s favorite Laura Borso and Joe Oliva have resigned within a month.

Code Enforcement is already understaffed, how could they afford to lose these three employees and many more.

Talk around the office it is connected with the department being moved under the watchful eye of the Police Dept. I wrote this was tried previously and was not successful.

I was advised to look into exactly how many have left the City, and I did place a PRR (Public Records Request) for information.

“I am requesting information on the number of City employees who have resigned from the City of WPB from 4/1/2019 until 9/30/2021. Please include the departments they resigned from.”

My response from the City was “275” employees resigned, and the job loss includes many from Admin, Clerical&Fiscal, Utilities, Labor, Supervision & Trades, Public Safety, and Engineering, Inspection&Related. Think of the dollars used to train all these people and now a new city will get the benefit of our lost employees.

Keep this date in mind James was sworn in as Mayor on 4/4/2019, and City Administrator Faye Johnson was promoted on 1/3/2020. These 2 people run the city, and make the decisions.

Between 4/4/2019 and 9/30/2021 = 910 calendar days.
Exclude 130 Saturdays, 130 Sundays + 31 holidays = 291

That leaves 619 working days and 275 employees resigned. Something is terribly wrong, and I have been told morale among city workers is at a all time low.

Now I ask myself, how bad can the working conditions be when employees are walking away from a Premium Pay of $2,500.00 to $3,800.00.

How bad are the working conditions at the City? Below is a list of employee’s who have left the City. Enlarge print by holding the Ctrl button down while tapping the + bar to enlarge.

WPB resigned report

 

The end.

Rules 1 For Me-1 For You!

1/13/2020 “Resolution No. 10-20 establishing the salary and other compensation for the City Administrator and amending the pay grade information for the City Administrator job classification. Based on Ms. Johnson’s extensive qualifications and experience, the Mayor is recommending to the Commission a starting salary of $249,000 for consideration, which is within the General Management Salary Rate Schedule for the City Administrator Pay Grade, GM20 ($174,303-$261,454).

Upon successful completion of a six (6) month probationary period, Ms. Johnson’s salary will increase by 5% to $261,450, also within the current salary rate schedule.

Ms. Johnson’s current salary as Interim City Administrator is $220,000.” Commissioners approved the pay raise. A raise of $41,450.00. While trying to balance the budget on the backs of Police and Fire Fighters.

Below is a section of the WPB City Charter.

“A municipal charter is the basic document that defines the organization, powers, functions and essential procedures of the city government. It is comparable to the Constitution of the United States or a state’s constitution. The charter is, therefore, the most important legal document of any city.”

Sec. 3.03. – City administrator—Appointment, removal and qualifications.

“The mayor shall appoint a city officer with the title city administrator. Such officer shall be chosen solely on the basis of executive and administrative qualifications and be subject to the immediate supervision of the mayor. The city administrator shall coordinate under the supervision of the mayor the activities of all administrative departments, divisions, and agencies, serve as special liaison between the mayor, the city commission and all departments, divisions, boards and commissions, and perform such administrative and executive duties as may from time to time be assigned by the mayor. The city administrator may be dismissed by the mayor, without the approval of the city commission. The salary of the city administrator shall be set by the city commission upon the recommendation of the mayor. When appointed, the city administrator need not be a resident of the city, but during tenure of office the city administrator shall reside within the city.”

9/20/2021   City Commission meeting    Meeting can be seen/heard below.

Resolution No. 248-21 establishing the City’s Salary Plan for fiscal year 2021-22
Item #16 started with the presentation by Human Resources Director Jose‐Luis Rodriguez @20:23 and ended with City Administrator Faye Johnson 28:55. I commented on the resolution at 21:30, and again commented on the fact Ms. Johnson doesn’t reside within the city as as required by the charter. Ms. Johnson does not follow the laws of WPB.

Mayor James stated  “For the record Ms. Johnson does live in the city limits, and for the record she’s worth every penny that we are paying her” Ms Johnson didn’t correct his lie, and she does not live in the City but in unincorporated Palm Beach County.

I requested a PRR from the County for her water bill and they supplied 3 months record of where the bill is sent. A PRR to the City could not provide a WPB address. If she is living inside the City why is her home still homesteaded? Foolish lie that can so easily be proven.

The meeting got heated, and it appeared for a moment I was about to be removed by the police from City Hall. Ms Johnson made statements which I will attempt to correct.

Johnson: “I brought 34 years of government experience.” Actions speak louder than words, and to date I’m not impressed with her experience.

Johnson: “At the onset of my position we had a model in place with 5 Assistant City Administrators. We saved in excess of $500,000.00, half a million dollars, by reducing the number of Assistant City Administrators from 5 to 2, that my predecessor had the luxury of having.”    False!

Fact: Mayor James, after being sworn in, promoted 3 staff members to Assistant City Administrators and their pay was bumped to $180,000.00/yr. Mr. Green did not have the luxury of 5 City Administrators, and the savings was not $500.000.00. The 3 promoted Administrators were demoted to their former position. and pay grade.

Johnson: “My starting salary was $ 249,000, $2,000 above Green’s $247,000.  False

Fact: Jeff Green resigned with a salary of $240,000 after serving the City for 8 years.

She finished her statements with “I came to this conclusion it’s because of the fact that I happen to be black or Africa-American or the fact that I happen to be female that somehow my years of experience and the work that I do is less valuable and shouldn’t be paid at the appropriate level and I take great exception to that.”

Fact: I take great exception to the fact she played the race card. I don’t give a damn if she’s black, African -American or a woman. Who starts a new job at the top of their pay grade, without proving themselves first, and refusing to reside in the City she oversees. If any white person questions or challenges a person of color, they are called a racist. This needs to stop.

Here are 3 examples of her leadership.

11/2019 Faye Johnson attempted to convince the City Commissioners to vote approval for a $180,000 settlement with a former employee, to avoid a lawsuit. West Palm Beach City Commissioners were unanimous in wanting more information before they would agree to the payout. In my opinion it was an attempt to cover up a scandal that included Mayor James.

Ms. Johnson failed in her negotiations with our Fire Fighters, and James declared an impasse and the issue was decided by a Special Magistrate, who thankfully protected our fire dept. The County firefighters protects her home and property.

Mayor James and Ms. Johnson failed to notify residents that we were drinking/using contaminated water for 8 days before notification. People & pets getting sick. Ms. Johnson uses County water. Contaminated water didn’t effect her.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-a2qTRF5nro

The end

 

Henrietta Farms Early Lock Out

Updated 9/27/2021 @ 9:50AM

A recent article by Investigative Reporter Terry Parker (Channel 25 (WPBF) tells the story of “Brightline restarting in November, debuts ride-share service”  Part of the story reads:

“So you’d love to take the high-speed Brightline when it reopens, but there’s always a slight problem:

“How do I get to the station and how do I get from the station to my final destination, well we’ve solved that problem for you,” said Brightline Trains President Patrick Goddard.
“We’ll have a fleet of Teslas, shuttles, electric golf carts that will pick you up where you are and take you to the train station, then take you to your final destination,” Goddard said.

After reading the story, bells were going off. Brightline will have a fleet of vehicles to take riders to and from their home to the RR and back again. Question? Where is Brightline going to park the vehicles? Hey, how about the land that Henrietta Farms is located on?

The property is already fenced in thanks to generous donors, so vehicles will be safe. All that needs to be done is plow it under, bring in the asphalt and we have a parking lot.

Circuit Service is already doing business in Fl. “Rewire your city with on-demand, easy-to-use, electric, shuttles! Improve access to local trains, buses, essential businesses, and reduce traffic, congestion, and emissions in the process.”

The Sept. 20,2021 City Commission Meeting residents spoke out in defense of Henrietta Farms and 2 Commissioners spoke up when Commissioner Shoaf asked for information on what the land would be used for, and Commissioner Warren asked if another solution was possible. Here’s an update on the farm, and I have a possible solution.

Mr Stewart Bosley, worked tirelessly to start the farm, was sent a letter from the City informing him the lease would not be renewed. The present lease will expire on 10/16/2021.

9/24/2021 (Fri.) Mr. Bosley had a crew of volunteers to work on the farm that weekend, and when they arrived they found their locks were cut off and replaced with new one’s. A week end of work gone when the lease didn’t expire for 2 more weeks. People who were willing to spend their time off helping Boz weren’t needed after all. Shinny new lock placed on a chain bought by the farm along with the fencing.

The farm kept operating on dollars donated by caring people and from Boz own pocket, and he dug deep in order to feed the poorest of the poor in a run down section of the city, and the weekend plan was to clean up the area and remove cinder blocks, potting pots, a hot house and whatever else they could salvage.

 

Mr Bosley recently received a $20,000 grant which he returned before it was even cashed.
If my thinking is correct why can’t the city allow the fleet of vehicles to be parked in the city garage—give them the top floor and don’t charge Brightline for the parking privileged, and leave the farm alone.

10/4/2021 is the next City Commission Meeting, please try and attend and let your voice be heard on the farm issue. Bring your parking ticket with you and have it validated outside Commission Chambers (free parking). If unable to attend please write a comment and send it to the City Clerks Office, and it will be read out loud, and into the record, for the mayor and Commissioners to hear your thoughts.

“If you wish to give public comment, please attend the meeting or fill out and submit the public comment form below by 2:00 p.m. on the day of the meeting.” I have supplied the form for those who wish to address their concerns. If not you—who?

https://www.wpb.org/i-want-to/public-comment

Channel 25 news story below below.

https://www.wpbf.com/article/florida-brightline-restarting-in-november-debuts-ride-share-service/37697511

Mayor Keith James, while campaigning told voters he was raised by a single mother. James did well for himself and I can only imagine the struggle’s his mother had.

Before City Administrator was Faye Johnson she was Faye Outlaw, and she was interviewed by Carol on July 9, 2013 for FCCMA (Florida City and County Management Association)

One question and answer stood out, and I will share with readers.
What got you interested in public service?
I became interested in local government early in my childhood. It was sparked from a passion for reading the local newspaper and a curiosity about the “government.” Being raised in a family that was reliant on public assistance, I heard the word “government” all the time. However, I had no idea who or what the “government” was but was glad it existed as, for the most part, that was how my family was able to have food on the table.

Ever hear the old saying I GOT MINE; YOU GET YOURS. Translation: “A selfish mentality that is very common among people, whereby an individual strives to achieve the standards that he wants; and that after achieving, denies responsibility or aid to other people who have yet to achieve the same standards.”

How can the 2 people charged with running the City of West Palm Beach turn their back on the neediest residents needing fresh fruit and vegetables. People who look like them.

City Commissioners: The simple fact that a commissioner had to ask what purpose the land would be used for should make them aware of how much in the dark they are kept on city business. If it wasn’t  for good folks speaking out on the loss of the land they wouldn’t be aware it was an issue. Please include along with listening to “staff” recommend approval ask the questions and investigate, and readers continue to let your voiced be heard. It’s the first heads-up the commissioners hear that something isn’t right.

If the Mayor and City Administrator know the farm land will not be used to store a fleet of vehicles they need to contact me so the story can be updated. What’s their secret?

The end

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