Martino: Erosion of Council-Manager Form of Government

From my perspective, the August 4th Palm Beach Gardens City Council meeting further emphasized my concerns about the deterioration of the Council-Manager form of government in Palm Beach Gardens. On exhibit was the City Council members’ usual lack of questioning, discussion, and thought sharing among themselves and with the public concerning the agenda items.

On display, once again, at the August 4th meeting was the shabby treatment of the rightful concerns raised by the Shady Lakes residents concerning their perception of the damage being done to their quality of life. This modes’ operandi has become a staple of the Palm Beach Gardens City Council. The Council all too often has chosen to stiffen its neck to concerns rightfully raised by its constituents. It avoids conversation about resident concerns and allows the administration to often debase them. The City Council has become tone deaf and devoid of compassion and understanding. It is one thing to defend a policy position but when the defense becomes contemptuous a hostile environment is often the result.

The lack of serious conversation and discussion among the City Council members concerning August 4th agenda items is a matter of grave concern. The absence of serious discussion, conversation and thought sharing among the City Council members has become business as usual for them. It deprives the public of its right to information and it has been going on for too long. The advertised August meeting had 16 items for approval on the consent agenda, many of which could and should have had had a word or two of conversation by the Council so the Public could better understand the City Council’s willing consent. The Public Hearing portion of the agenda contained 3 items. Yes, there was little in the way of comment by the Public, but there was even less to none in the way of comments and or questions from the Council members. All that the public attendees heard were the developers’ explanations which were blessed by the staff, and followed by the comment “Staff recommends approval”. Then the compliant City Council approved favorable motions with its usual tag along 5 to 0 votes.

To describe the current practice of governing by the City Council of Palm Beach Gardens as a Council-Manager form of government is dubious at best. In my opinion, the current practice of governing has become and is Administrative driven, led by non-elected bureaucrats. The City of Palm Beach Gardens government is no longer led by the City Council, the persons elected and entrusted to do so. This erosion of the public’s right to control its government is not incipient but has been maturing for a decade or more. This subjugation of the representative rights of the public to bureaucrats, whether accidental or calculated, is shameful and needs correction.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...