[ PRINT ]

Carl Woods Takes His Seat on the City Council


The ‘new’ Council was finally complete, 5 months after the Municipal Elections. Council Member Woods, while sworn in a couple of weeks ago, formally took the Oath of Office at the beginning of the meeting and made a short, heartfelt and humorous statement.

EMS Division Chief James Ippolito described, and others spoke about the City, first in Palm Beach County, receiving the American Heart Association 2016 Mission Lifeline EMS Gold Award. Kudos to Fire/Rescue.

All Public Hearings/Resolutions and the Consent Agenda passed 5:0, with discussion on two Consent Items:

  • Resolution 60, 2016, approving the crossing agreement with the City, FEC and All Aboard Florida (AAF), was described by the City Attorney. Changes to the existing agreement primarily was caused by the addition of AAF, and the construction/maintenance entailed by the addition of a 2nd track.
  • Resident Vito DeFrancesco expressed concern with wording in the Settlement Agreement Alexander V. The City of Palm Beach Gardens, Et. Al., ¬†which sounded like the agreement was not being publicly recorded and thus avoiding Freedom of Information requests. City Attorney Lohman replied that the entire text of the settlement was in the City’s records (and in the agenda details) and that the wording of the phrase which concerned Mr. DeFrancesco, was commonly used to mean that private suits are not recorded with the County Clerk.**
August 4, 2016

Comments from the Public resulted in the most discussion:

  • Sid Dinerstein, of the Palm Beach County Term Limits Committee, and initiator of the lawsuit challenging David Levy’s eligibility for office, challenged the new Council to resolve and take two votes that night:
    1) Get the people’s money back from the City Attorney for the Term Limits lawsuit
    2) Start paying for the Inspector General
    City Manager Ferris replied, during his report, that the City Attorney acted at the behest of the City. He did not address the IG Lawsuit. Nor did the Council pursue either subject later in the meeting.
  • Cynthia Medley, raised an issue regarding construction of the new City Park. Her property is adjacent to the park and construction has made lights fall in her kitchen, construction seems to be happening on the weekend as well.
  • Shady Lakes was the topic for Kathy Beamer and Jeff Hiscock. Ms. Beamer stated that the construction contract for the 3 parts of the project was issued in November, 2015 – several months before the plans were approved, and that her FOIA requests went unanswered on the contract. She also pointed out that each of the 3 portions of the project came in under $2 million, which is the point at which a project must go out for public bid. Was that to avoid public scrutiny? Beamer also asked once again that the 117th project be completed before starting Shady Lakes, and re-assess. Mr. Hiscock also added, ‘why the rush?’ – delay the Shady Lakes construction until next year and re-visit the vote when the new council is seated. (Note – 3 seats are up for election in the March 2017 Municipal Election). The subject resulted in immediate responses from Mayor Tinsley, Mr. Ferris and Mr. Lohman – each pointing out different aspects of the project including:
    • Fire/Rescue need for second entry
    • Shady Lakes tied into agreement for 117th with School Board
    • Traffic reassessment still resulted in need for the Shady Lakes component
    • Access to the City Park/Tennis Center via Shady Lakes Drive is both shorter and avoids the schools
    • The project was voted on over a year ago, each part having separate Council votes with estimates under $2 million.

At this point, Comments from the Public resumed. Other Comments made before and after the Shady Lakes ‘interruption’ include:

  • Resident Vito DeFrancesco pointed out that Mr. Woods should have been seated in March, and was denied so due to a misinterpretation by staff of the Charter. He also said that all votes taken since March should be reworked. (Note – since the Council has voted unanimously 4:0 or 5:0 on all items since that time – no different outcome would have resulted – although clearly had Council Member Woods had a strong argument differing with those votes, he could have swayed the remainder of the Council, changing the results.)
  • Barbara McQuinn (candidate for School Board District 1) and Tony Bennett (Candidate for County Commission District 1) both introduced themselves.
  • Tom Murphy, President of the PBG Police Foundation, reminded the public that the deadline for the 9/11 essay contest is coming up. See details here.
  • Michael Marsh, of Vero Beach – who has spoken several times on his friend Corey Jones as well as use of body cameras, thanked the City for how fast it implemented the cameras and changed Policy and Procedures.
  • Troy McDonald, on the Council of Stuart, came to congratulate Mr. Woods and to offer advice on attaining public office.
  • Barbara Grossman read parts of a letter she had sent to the Council detailing safety issues with All Aboard Florida.

During Items for Council Action/Discussion – Mayor Tinsley asked that there be a Proclamation drafted to honor and thank former Mayor and Councilman David Levy at the next Council meeting in September. All were in agreement.

**PBGWatch has a different issue with the Settlement between Mr. Alexander, Avenir and the City. Mr. Alexander is NOT a resident of Palm Beach Gardens. He lives in IBIS. So should a Charter Review Committee be assembled, our position is that it should consist of Residents of the City. We will raise the issue when the subject arises before the Council in the future.

 

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