Avenir, Body Cameras and IAFF Contract Highlights of a Busy Council Week

The first order of business in the Regular City Council meeting was to complete the approvals for Avenir (Ordinance 4, 2016). City Attorney Max Lohman told the Council that ex-partes must cover the time-frame from 2013 until the present. All described several meetings with residents, applicants, emails, etc. except for Council Member Russo who said that he spoke with the owners prior to their purchase of the property. Since he felt that the size and issues surrounding the development could result in litigation, he specifically chose to not speak to anyone associated with the applicants nor residents. After presentations by Avenir and staff, 10 people made public comment including Karen Marcus who strongly encouraged that the City and Avenir work closely with SFWMD asap to design the water flow with Mecca Farms; Kimberly Rothenberg – stating that the City of West Palm Beach remains opposed and that the project is not viable without State Route 7 which they plan to block; Beth Kigel who continued ‘part 2’ (from the previous night) of her statements on the future of smart transportation technology. The ordinance passed 5:0 after brief discussion regarding State Route 7.

January 7, 2016

Two residents of Shady Lakes – Barry Mendelewicz and Cathy Beamer, spoke in opposition of the planned extension. In response, City Manager Ferris gave a report on the status of outreach. Here is a timeline from the City’s website.

Sarah Peters of the Palm Beach Post summarized the meeting. Resolution 9, 2016 provided funding for the implementation of Body Cameras for the Police Department. Chief Stepp made a presentation describing the steps involved, and a timeline leading to a full implementation by July-August 2016. He also described initiatives with the PBC Clergy Alliance, among them: Overall policy review, Plain Clothes policy and Human Diversity Training. All public comment was supportive of the City’s response and actions in the aftermath of the Corey Jones shooting. Council Member Russo, in his comments stated that it was important to make sure that everyone feels safe in Palm Beach Gardens, and that Corey’s impact, even though no longer with us, was to effect significant change. Mayor Jablin praised all involved.

Also of note was the Collective Bargaining Agreement reached with the IAFF.  

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