Alert: December 21st City Council Special Mtg and Workshop at 7 PM on Charter

There will be a City Council Special Workshop, concurrent with a City Council Special Meeting on Thursday, December 21 at 7pm in City Hall.  The special meeting was called at the December 7th City Council meeting when City Attorney Max Lohman pointed out that there were issues with the implications of the ballot language wording for Ordinance 28, 2017.  Council was to discuss revised language for either an outright ban of term limited council members running again or to allow for a 3-year sit-out. 

There is now an additional agenda for a City Council Special Workshop to discuss all of the proposed ballot ordinances:

Public Comment will only be permitted for agenda items Ordinance 28, 2017 and Ordinance 32, 2017.

The Ballot summaries and ballot language have changed from the December 7th City Council Meeting.  There is a lot being modified in quite a chaotic rush in order to meet the need for 2nd reading and adoption on January 4th and the January 19th noon deadline for getting on the ballot March 13, 2018.  (This will get scant attention from even involved citizens as all head into the holiday period.  Thus our Council will attempt to meet the ‘letter of the law’ while not meeting the ‘intent’ of transparency and full disclosure.)

Please read our summary of the December 7th  meeting entitled Council Forges Ahead to Change Term Limits and Elections 4:1 and the latest Martino Minute entitled Charter Changes – No need, No reason, No urgency.

Martino: Charter Changes – No need, No reason, No urgency

At the tail-end of the December 7th Palm Beach Gardens City Council agenda scheduled for 1st reading considerations and Council votes were Ordinances 26, 27, 28, and 29. Each of these ordinances concerned ballot language for the City Charter changes that were recommended by the Council appointed Charter Review Committee. It is the City Council’s intent to offer these major Charter revisions as ballot questions to the registered voters of Palm Beach Gardens in a March 13, 2018 election in total.

Ordinance 26 basically decimates the existing Charter as it is currently written except for City boundaries. Ordinances 27, 28, and 29 foment radical changes to the 2014 Term Limit Law that was voted into the Charter by 16,000 yes votes. These ordinances drastically alter the City’s election process. The City Council agenda spent 173 minutes on these ordinances as delineated below, 135 under public comment, and 38 minutes to approve the ordinances. The Council members contributed little discernible justification for their decisions…

  • The City Attorney occupied 53 minutes of the Public Comment time giving an excellent presentation but one that should have been given at an earlier Council workshop that was never held.
  • The Public commented for 51 minutes both pro and con on the 4 ordinances.
  • The Charter Review Committee Chairman spoke for 9 minutes and the City Attorney for 3 minutes defending points of contention.
  • Finally, the City Council members entered the Public Comment discussion for a whole 19 minutes. One Council member voiced his objections to the whole mess for 7 minutes while another Council member berated his fellow member’s comments of objection with anger and annoyance for another 7 minutes. That left about 5 minutes for the other 3 members to show their stuff and approve Ordinance 26.
  • Ordinance 27 which changes the Council term limits from two-three year terms to three-three year terms took all of 12 minutes to discuss and approve.
  • Ordinance 29 changes the mandate that a majority of votes are necessary to win City Council election to a simple plurality wins was discussed and approved in a 4-minute blink of the eye.
  • Ordinance 28 which establishes a sit-out provision before an incumbent Councilperson can run again for a new set of three-three year terms was so perplexing that no one understood whose ox was being cored. So after 22 minutes of confused discussion the City Attorney was directed to bring back new language to be discussed at a Special Meeting called for December 21st.

Okay, so where are we? The Charter Committee has met as required and submitted its recommendations. The City Attorney has provided his best efforts to legally support the City Council’s directions. The City Council approved on 1st reading the ballot language to ask the City electors to consider these drastic Charter changes. All that remains is the final Council approvals scheduled for the January 4, 2018, Council meeting.

Okay, so what is missing, wrong, or inappropriate? Quite a bit I would say! Missing is the demonstrable need, reasoning, and urgency for these City Charter changes. Wrong is the less than transparent approval process that the City Council has foisted on the Public for these Charter changes. Inappropriate is the self-serving perception of current City Council members who understood the Term Limit Law existed and applied to them when they very recently stood for election to the City Council and have yet to complete a single term but now recommend changing the Term Limit Law to their benefit using their appointed Charter Review Committee recommendations as a shield and an excuse for these Charter changes.

Okay, so what are my observations? Recommendations from appointed committees are not mandates to the City Council or its constituents; translation:  it is not a requirement, legal or otherwise, to present a ballot question on any or all of the Charter Committee recommendations. A requirement of transparency is communication of thought and reasoning among Council members themselves with the Public in attendance; translation:   workshop meetings should be held to explain positions of each Council member within the body and to the public so clear and concise policy direction can be developed. Perceptions can be altered by changing direction before finality prevents the opportunity for course corrections; translation:  stop now and start over to correct a flawed process and course of action.

My message to the City Council is a simple one…

Don’t touch our elections! Don’t touch our term limits! Leave them alone!

Council Forges Ahead to Change Term Limits and Elections 4:1

In their zeal to put proposed Charter changes on an expected very low-turnout, no-candidate electon in March, the Council spent more time debating whether or not an issue City Attorney Lohman found with ballot wording and the existing Charter for allowing term-limited council members to run again than they did the significant changes that reside not just in term limits, but in the base charter. Only Council Member Lane, voting against all four proposed ballot questions, raised significant issues with ballot language, the failure of the Council to conduct workshops or actively debate the changes, and need for such a rush to make these changes with so little debate and so early in the new council’s incumbency. His comments were met with derision and offense taken by the remainder of the Council and the City Attorney. Shame on them!

December 7th

We make no attempt to be objective on this issue – Matthew Lane was taking the correct position and raising precisely the issues that should have been raised at this meeting. He should be commended for taking a stand. While Mayor Marino proclaimed that the Council was to there to make policy and not legal arguments, the Council once again hid behind their appointed Charter Review Committee and avoided discussing the issues inherent in the ‘cleaned-up’ charter. It’s the often quoted “Let the People decide” which the weak use when unwilling to debate the issues and make difficult decisions. It is possible that some on the Council don’t even recognize that there ARE issues.

PBGWatch – as a blog, was formed in 2012 directly as a result of the actions that the (different) Council then attempted to take in introducing significant policy modifications in the guise of modernization. Sadly, history is repeating itself – although with a little more transparency but not much more deliberation by the current Council.

As in 2012, the proposed charter is a total replacement. As such, it is totally reorganized and renumbered. Whether originating in the work of the Charter Review Committee and/or the City Attorney, the voter will not know about the details within. Nor will those details have been discussed at any length or at all by the Council. There are changes that affect how elections are handled and how votes are tallied – but the voter will NOT know that.

While there were many members of the public speaking for and against extending term limits, allowing term-limited to run again and for/against majority vs plurality wins – not much new ground was broken on either side. Nor did it matter as the Council was already firm in their positions.

NOTE – THERE WILL BE A SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MEETING TO DISCUSS AND CONDUCT FIRST READING ON ORDINANCE 28, 2017 REGARDING TERM-LIMITED COUNCIL MEMBERS RUNNING AGAIN ON DECEMBER 21 AT 7PM. COMMENTS WILL ONLY BE ACCEPTED SPECIFIC TO THIS ISSUE AND NOT ANY OTHER TOPIC OR NON-AGENDA ITEMS.

Expect Council votes to be pro-forma on these ordinances in the January 4th, 2017 City Council meeting since this council feels it has adequately addressed the issues.

The December 7th Council meeting was a long one – starting at 6pm. The first two hours were spent on the presentations, items of resident interest and board/committee reports, and other agenda items, all passing 5:0.

A more detailed list of items within the proposed replacement charter – Exhibit A in Ordinance 26, 2017, will appear as a separate future blog post.

Here is a link to the Charter discussions during the meeting. And here is the Palm Beach Post article on the topic.

“You don’t have to game the system to win”

Quoting Eric Jablin  in the Nov 2, 2017 PBG council chambers.

Sorry Eric, the evidence suggests that you do!

I respectfully suggest that all of the Charter Review Committee’s recommendations be opposed. It now seems obvious that the current council is doing the bidding of a very small group of people who are seeking to extract their revenge on those that dared challenge their power with Term Limits.   That said I will attempt to explain that all these proposals represent a move to consolidating power even more within the western gated communities, making it almost impossible if approved, to recover influence for those in the unrepresented older communities. How many residents really understand that?

  • 100% of the current council lives west of Military Trail.
  • 80% live within the walking yardage of the PGA Champion course
  • 60% live in the PGA National

In no particular order this is what we may be asked to vote on.

Plurality Wins – I call this the; the voter can’t buy a lottery ticket with the savings proposal. If you take 3 of the sitting council member + plus Levy they collectively raised at least a $150K in campaign contributions in the last election; but they want us to fret about saving the taxpayers 70K. I ask what else do you got. Investors are always warned that past performance doesn’t equal future outcomes; voters should heed the same advice before surrendering their current rights against future unknowns and reject this tactical move outright.  Be warned going forward; as you hear Charter Proponents using terms like common or uncommon because in this case 70% of Florida cities with Term Limits in their charters that are equal or greater in population to PBG use majority wins. Why are we changing?

Before we get into my thoughts on the two term limit proposals I want to pause and alert you to another trick. For those that had an opportunity to hear Eric Jablins’ rant on the evening of November 2nd, you would know he supports using the Charter process to reopen the subject of Term Limits because as currently constituted it is “ambiguous, poorly crafted and open to misinterpretation.” I would argue that may be true if you don’t like what it says but as the 4th District ruled “it’s two terms and you’re done.”

Now read that paragraph again and then consider, before I get back to term limits, that the council proposal ordering the Charter be rewritten to conform to Florida State Statute and that is being marketed under the banner of house cleaning will close the Jablin Loophole to future citizens because current Charter provision Article XXII Sec. 22-1 (that requires the Charter to be reviewed every Five years) will be eliminated in its entirety.  That’s a big deal folks! : If the only people that can call for a Charter Review in the future is the sitting council and you’re not in the club any challenge to their power will have to go through the petition process every time. Only privileged citizens get the taxpayer funded short cut.

Returning to the Term Limit questions that are:

Extra 3 year Term  and Sit out a term and rerun – My first reaction is if the current council feels deeply about the need for these two provisions while at the same time they will be telling you don’t worry about eliminating the Charter review provision because we can call for a review any time; then why shouldn’t we make them demonstrate their support for these changes by rejecting these proposals now and force them to make it part of their future re-election platforms?

As far as letting a sitting council person run again after sitting out a term; I’ve now seen enough to know that a couple more term limit flushes are in order before we revisit the topic.  But in case you’re not convinced follow this link from the Clerks web page and examine who is funding the current council’s campaigns and ask yourself what has changed?  My observation is that we already have a process that all but guarantees that those pushing this Charter agenda already have their proxies in place why do we want to certify it?

The hypocrisy of this current charter exercise needs to be highlighted.  Many of the issues could and should have been resolved by recommending that we elect Council members that live in their Districts with a mayor elected at large. 64% of Florida Cites equal in population to PBG or larger who have Term Limits elect their representatives this way.  Look at the opportunity missed to take a lot of the political issues off the table; by having considered this very popular governance model.  We wouldn’t need any of the Term Limit languages because in these cities Term Limited Council members can run for Mayor and vice versa. Would we want or need Plurality when the race is confined to people in your immediate neighborhood who would be accountable by name?

Disappointedly this whole process has been rigged from day one. Creative thinking was contained by Charter  Review Committee  member selection that was manipulated to include those already predisposed to execute the will of privileged insiders; as evidenced by the clever Resolution 49 2017 language that ignores the conflicts of the two lobbyists selected for the committee.

Having listened to all the Charter sessions I can report that the discussion never ventured from City Attorney R. Max Lohmans “Proposed Charter Changes for 2017” Play book. Yes including that Oldie ‘City Manager Residency’ requirement that vanishes with the Charter review language. If anyone tries to tell you that it is not common; I respectfully suggest they might fib to you about something else. My data sample says residency is a requirement in 50% of cities by charter.

Let me close with the observation made several times during the Charter Review meetings by Robert Lee, the paid moderator of our Charter review process, whom by all estimations was eminently qualified. He said that in his 40 years of working with hundreds of cities on charters; he has “never seen a charter process that was scheduled to move as fast as this one.” We should all ask ourselves why before we surrender to these proposals.

Neighbors we can do better. Ask yourself if you can’t name your council person today; just who are you going to work with when the topic someday is about eminent domain?

David L. Parks

Some…Are More Equal Than Others!

And our Mayor and Council apparently agree!

The November 2nd City Council meeting didn’t start with a bang, nor end with one – but the 8 minute ‘rant’ by former Mayor and Council member Eric Jablin (as covered by the Palm Beach Post here) provided for fireworks. It also demonstrated that our Council has one set of rules for some, and another set for others. It would have been interesting to see if Mayor Marino would have allowed some other former Mayors/Council members with whom she didn’t just happen to agree, the same courtesy of speaking longer than the allowed 3 minutes. Perhaps, but more likely, not.

November 2nd

Last month, several opponents of changes to the City’s term limits or allowing those term-limited, to run again spoke at the meeting. So this month, proponents of the proposed Charter changes came out in force to support 3 3-year consecutive terms (all but acknowledging that incumbents are always re-elected) – which is their right – including Steve Mathison (a member of the Charter Review Committee), Meg Shannon (also a member of the Charter Review Committee), David Markarian, Patrick Connors, Anita Carbone, Stan Klett, Bill Champlin (President of Ballenisles Community Association) – speaking for the Community on hurricane relief and personally on term limits, Jane Feinstein and finally Eric Jablin who was conveniently speaking last.  Iris Scheibl asked the Council to make City Manager Residence a separate ballot item, that the Council need not put anything on the ballot, and that they ponder who of the public are clamoring for longer terms in office.  Apparently, to hear the proponents of 3 3 year terms speak – no other City has ever had 2 consecutive Term Limits  (see:  Two Consecutive Terms is Good Enough for PBC Cities)

It was hoped that the Council would use the relatively light agenda to explore the proposed Charter Changes in more depth – however it was not to be. At the end of the council meeting, Council Member Marciano lamented the tone of some of the emails he has been receiving with implied threats of ‘we’re watching you’ – that the Charter Committee consisted of well-respected members of the community and that he welcomed input from anyone who wanted to discuss things whether or not in agreement with him. He insisted that no one is trying to eliminate term limits. Mayor Marino echoed Marciano’s comments and also said the Committee consisted of an ‘independent’ group of volunteers….. But other than that, none of the Council spoke to the Charter. Council Member Lane nominated former Mayor/Council Member Levy to a council position usually filled by one of the Council Members.  City Attorney Lohman saw no issue nor business conflict and Mr. Levy’s membership was voted 5:0.

Speaking on unrelated topics during Public Comment were Katie Gettinger on a Solar Cooperative in Palm Beach County , Andrew Heim on PBG Soccer and the Predators, and Kevin Easton on traffic issues and Sunset Drive.

Also on the agenda –

  • The CEO of Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center Dianne Goldenberg on the economic impact of the center
  • students at the Weiss School speaking on their Cube Sat project ( for background see Here’s Why NASA is Sending a Gardens’ School Satellite into Space)
  • presentation on the City’s participation in the FPL Solarnow Program – brought to the City’s attention by Council Member Litt.

City Manager Ferris also thanked two Police Dispatch Supervisors – Kirsten Tucker and Sharlotte Theriault for the grueling 6 days they spent in Marathon working night shifts after Hurricane Irma providing huricane relief.

Passing 5:0 on First reading were Ordinance 20, 2017 to provide for the collocation of small wireless facilities or micro wireless facilities on existing utility poles or the installation of new utility poles to support the collocation of small wireless facilities or micro wireless facilities in City-owned rights-of-way and amending the definitions to be consistent with Florida Statutes, and Ordinance 21, 2017 allowing land development section 78-159 to permit Electric Automobile Showrooms. Tesla will be bringing their proposed showroom before the Council in December.

Next month is already planned to have a heavy agenda – so be assured – the proposed Charter Review ballot items will probably get short shrift on discussion – because it appears that the Council has already made up their minds and not scheduled any kind of workshop on the topic. We hope they prove us wrong.

 

Martino: Bush League City

Attention, Palm Beach Gardens’ residents, did you know that you live in a “Bush League” city? That’s right; according to our City Attorney’s comment at the October 5, 2017 City Council meeting we have a “Bush League” city charter. The charter is the bible for our City.

By extrapolation then, is the City Attorney with his “Bush League” utterance inferring that Palm Beach Gardens is a second tier, minor league, City? Probably not is my hope, but his other comments also smacked of insolence for the City Charter. Our City Charter has evolved and guided our City over time since 1959, long before our current City Attorney was around to completely understand its history to present day.

Does the City Attorney’s hostility for the City Charter stem from his advice to change it in 2012 which was defeated at the ballot box by Gardens’ voters? Does his antagonism mushroom from his ill-advised advice that a City Councilperson term limited by the Charter still be allowed to stand for election? Does his aggression toward the Charter result from his advice for the City to file lawsuits against its own City Charter to overturn election, vote casting, and term limit charter language, and then, losing the lawsuits in both the Circuit Court and the District Court of Appeals? How about legal advice to not advise the public of a $100,000,000 baseball stadium in the middle of prime residential homes? Does any of this legalese qualify as “Bush League”?

What is further troubling is the City Council did not take umbrage with the City Attorney’s “Bush League” comment. Perhaps that is because their attentions and intentions were fixated on the Council appointed Charter Committee recommendations to change the City Charter by increasing term limits from two three-year terms to three three-year terms, by adding a sit-out/comeback provision of three-years to term limits, by curtailing majority rules in elections, and by eliminating charter provisions to count every vote that is cast. Why the changes, who do they benefit, and what’s the hurry? The Council seemed enamored with their fast-forwarding inspirations to place these charter changes for voter balloting in March of 2018 yet no legal Ordinance has been written specific to ballot language.

There is nothing “Bush League” about the City of Palm Beach Gardens. Not its residents, not its employees, not its services, not its programs, not its elections, not its present term-limit provisions, and certainly not its City Charter.

If anything is “Bush League” it’s the City Attorneys ill conceived metaphor and the City Council’s self-serving push to change the present Term Limit Law.

Two Consecutive Terms are Good Enough for PBC Cities

Not all of the municipalities in Palm Beach County have Term Limits – but most of the larger ones do.  See the chart below.  Note that none of these allow for more than TWO consecutive terms, except for WPB where the Mayor is limited to 2 consecutive 4 year terms, and the Council to 4 consecutive 2 year terms.  All have more meetings and workshops per month than does our Council – and their council and/or commissions have comparable or more complex  jobs (due to the population of their cities)  than does our council, and are all part-time positions.  Most are silent but some specify whether a term-limited member can run again.

Click on the image for link to PDF version with links to city charters, and League of Cities pages.

Click on the image for link to PDF version with links to city charters, and League of Cities pages.

Other cities that are similar or larger without term limits, but have term  and election descriptions:

  • Jupiter – 3 year terms, Majority Wins, Run-off required
  • Riviera Beach – 3 year terms, Majority Wins Run-off required

Martino: Don’t touch our elections! Don’t touch our term limits! Leave them alone!

On Election Day, November 4, 2014 the registered voters of the City of Palm Beach Gardens were asked to vote YES or NO on the following ballot question…

SHALL THE PALM BEACH GARDENS CHARTER BE AMENDED TO ESTABLISH TERM LIMITS PROVIDING THAT CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS SERVE NO MORE THAN TWO CONSECUTIVE THREE YEAR TERMS

An overwhelming majority of approximately 80%, or 16,000 registered voters, answered YES. With that kind of majority vote there is no question or ambiguity about the registered voters’ intent. The resounding message to the City Council then and now is that CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS SERVE NO MORE THAN TWO CONSECUTIVE THREE YEAR TERMS.

At the October 8th City Council meeting the duly appointed but less than representative of all of Palm Beach Gardens residents, City Charter Committee, submitted its report with its recommendations to the City Council. Three of their most controversial recommendations are…

  1. Change the Term Limit Law to allow City Council members to serve three consecutive three year terms instead of two consecutive three year terms.  Comment: Ballot language must exclude present City Council members.
  2. Allow City Council members to run again for three consecutive three year terms after they have sat out one three year term.  Comment: Ballot language must exclude present City Council members. When does this end?
  3. Allow for plurality of votes cast to elect City Council members rather than a majority vote as presently required.  Comment: Majority must rule. It’s American and the democratic way.
  4. Change current election language from “a majority of votes cast” to language that would eliminate the intent that every vote cast must count in every contested race or issue without question, as the charter now states and Courts affirmed.  Comment: Every vote that is cast must count per current charter language and as the Courts ruled in the Woods – Levy Council race, in 2016. No circumstance can undo a legally cast vote from being counted. A cast ballot is a sacred vote that is untouchable.

The City Council authorized the City Attorney to take the above along with other committee recommendations and legalize them for ballot consideration in March of 2018. I urge the City Council to reconsider their affinities toward these recommendations. I urge the City Council to vote NO to moving forward with a ballot question whose perception is that of self-serving political machinations.

In my opinion, the three recommendations above undermine and thwart the will of the 16,000 registered voters who voted for the Term Limits Law. In essence these recommendations disenfranchise the ballots of 16,000 registered voters. It also conflicts with the results of several candidate lawsuits and the City’s own lawsuit in which two levels of County courts validated the Term Limits Law as is.

Still further, as history suggests, a March 2018 election with no contested Council races in Palm Beach Gardens would generate a voter turnout of approximately 10% of the registered voters, considerably less than a November election. Thus, a small minority vote of, perhaps, 1,500 votes could obviate the votes of 16,000 registered voters.

The ink is hardly dry on the codification of the Term Limits Law. None of the current City Council members have served a single term yet. Their seats are barely warm! Yet they are changing a Law that they clearly understood existed and applied to them when they very recently, March 8, 2017, stood for election to the City Council. In fact, if not for the Term Limits Law, perhaps, none of them would be serving as City Council members. Their opportunity to serve is in many respects because of the Term Limits Law.

My message to the City Council is a simple one…

Don’t touch our elections! Don’t touch our term limits! Leave them alone!

Proposed Term Limits Weakening Dominates Meeting

The October City Council meeting had a fairly light agenda, with the exception of the Charter Review Committee Final Report – which was expected to generate a lot of discussion. Mayor Marino reordered the agenda to leave the report until Council Member Lane, who was delayed, could be there to hear it. So the Consent Agenda (4:0), City Manager Report, and Items of Resident Interest preceded the presentation.

October 12, 2017

Prior to the Council meeting, several supporters of the Palm Beach Gardens Needs Term Limits Committee, demonstrated outside City Hall carrying signs. During the meetings, opponents of the Charter Review Committee recommendations regarding Term Limits and elections sported stickers stating “Don’t Touch My Term Limits – Leave it alone!!”

Charter Review Committee Final Report agenda item:

The Charter Review Committee met several times in August and September.  The Committee, selected by the Council , consisted of Craig Allgood, Ian Helsby, Steve Mathison, Meg Shannon – Vice Chair and Brian Seymour – Chair – all City residents.  They developed a set of recommended modifications including simplification and removing conflicts with Florida State Statute.  They also made recommendations with respect to Council terms and elections.  Present from the committee were Brian Seymour and Meg Shannon.

Mr. Seymour presented the Committee recommendations, focusing on those known to be controversial. Copying directly from the report those are:

We recommend that term limits remain and that they be provided as three full three (3) year terms and that it be clarified that after being elected to three consecutive three (3) year terms and serving at least one-half of the final term, a person may run again only after sitting out a full three (3) year term. We should also clarify that service of one-half or less than one-half of a full three (3) year term shall not count toward the subject term limit.

We further recommend that some of the language relative to “a majority of the votes cast” be clarified to provide that only votes cast for a qualified candidate whose name appears on the ballot and is eligible to take office at the time of the election shall be counted. No vote for a deceased, withdrawn, or removed candidate should count or contribute toward the total number of votes, number of under votes, or number or over votes

We recommend that elections be determined by plurality and not majority of votes cast for a candidate qualified to be on the ballot at the time of the election.

City Manager residency was also one of the issues during the 2012 charter review however not discussed at length:

We recommend removing the residency requirement for the city manager as follows: “The city manager need not be a resident of the city at the time of appointment, however, must be a resident within one year following the appointment, though residency as soon as practical after appointment is encouraged.”

See the report and rationale for each point here: 2017 Charter Review Committee Final Report.

There were numerous residents who made comment on the report.  The following summary doesn’t do justice to their comments:

  • Tom Cairnes – representing himself,  not speaking for the PGA Corridor Association – praised Irma cleanup  then spoke on the charter: projects take 30 years to happen, need continuity to carry through on original concepts and make sure what was in original plans are followed up on over time. Tri-rail is an example – in support of  Review Committee’s recommend changes.
  • Roma Josephs – member of the Board of Ballenisles – takes a long time to get anything done – need the experience and will to see it through. supports the charter committee. Ballenisles will vote for it.
  • Kevin Easton – against any changes to Term Limits  – proposed changes disenfranchise voters by changing term limits
  • Sid Dinerstein –  proposed changes reflect utter contempt for the PBG electorate by putting on a March ballot when no candidates are on the ballot. More voted for term limits than voted for any of the Council. Plurality instead of majority is a scheme to tilt election odds in favor by adding straw candidates. Already can’t trust you, the new council
  • Philip Blumel –  Lake Worth, President of US Term Limits – commended those who got it on the ballot and got 80% of the citizens to get it approved. nothing about the current term limits allows those to run again. Simple and just like the ones everywhere else. It’s typical for electeds to try and circumvent – first went to court, next resort is always a new and improved version – always includes letting them sit for additional terms, and not count their existing term and put on a low ballot election – typical.
  • Vito DeFrancesco – very impassioned remarks – With small turnouts it can be tilted. For 30 years elections have been tilted by powerful, well organized high-end communities that will turn out their voters despite what the majority wants. You’re going to try and sneak in, back-dooring everyone who voted and that our opinion means nothing. Not right. Government at its worst. Voices of people don’t mean anything – government can’t be trusted, gets what it wants, government sticks together and the people are puppets meaning absolutely nothing in your opinion. If you change it, we’ll put it back, get it back on the ballot and make it so you can’t touch it again – what you’re doing may be legal but surely isn’t ethical.
  • Iris Scheibl – who had attended most of the charter review meetings, read the text of the 2014 ballot question, pointed out that none of the Council would be there had it not been for term limits, that just because the committee made a recommendation doesn’t mean the council has to accept it, and asked that any election or term limits change be on a November ballot.
  • Fred Scheibl – recounted Council’s history of losing trust – and is trust is rarely regained. Term limits was a grassroots petition effort and city fought it at every step. courts validated the law despite the city’s objections. you were elected by these rules and should abide by them. not enough time to evaluate. Make no changes regarding the conduct of elections; changes to basic principles means of gaming the system. if you go forward – the campaign organized to opposed it – you will be on that ballot.
  • Marilyn Parmet – agree with previous statements – she was one of those who got term limits petitions signed – no one turned her down in signing the petitions – this is the will of the people, please respect and do the right thing
  • Nick Tomboulides –  Melbourne – Executive Director of US Term Limits – if term limits are too short – that means it’s working. on one side is 80% of the voters; on the other side – those who are affected by that term limits law. It’s a conflict of interest – you shouldn’t be discussing let alone placing on the ballot – should recuse yourself.  Hands off term limits
  • Barbara Grossman – another person who collected petitions and no one turned her down.  All were losing faith in the council due to the stadium.

The Council, after some debate on two 4-year terms, which Council Member Lane favored, discussed their views on the proposals and directed City Attorney Lohman to present 4 ballot questions to them next month – a base question updating the Charter, and the 3 questions related to term limits and elections. The Council will then vote in December and January (first and second readings), in time to place the questions on the March 2018 Uniform Municipal Election. Watch the Charter Review part of the City Council Meeting here, for complete discussion and read a summary of the subject from the Palm Beach Post here.

After the extended Charter Review discussion, passed 5:0 were:

  • Ordinance 22. 2017 – Ban of Medical Marijuana Treatment Center and Dispensing Facilities. While one person made pubic comment saying that it was silly to wait for allowing such centers in the City, Council Member Litt had Police Chief Stepp address some of the safety issues due to the fact that all transactions have to be done in cash. He also pointed out that patients can have the medical marijuana directly delivered to their homes. Rachelle Litt then gave an outstanding in-depth explanation for her ‘No’ vote – articulating how the current legislation is an attack on Home Rule, covering medical concerns as a pharmacist, and that this was an ‘all or nothing’ proposition. Watch the discussion by Council here and the Palm Beach Post summary here.
  • Ordinance 23, 2017 – Moratorium on Micro wireless Facilities until December 31, 2017 – this is another attack on Home Rule. Staff will come back in the November Council meeting to cover recommended policies.
  • Resolution 71, 2017 – allowing for 3 Entry Signs to the Burwick Residential Community within PGA National

Additionally – Appointments and Reappointments for AIPP, Parks and Rec, and PZAB Advisory Boards were discussed and voted on. Council Member Lane spoke at length about the candidate process. He pointed out that candidates apply for many boards, don’t have to outline their qualifications for each (any) of those boards, nor make the case why they should be considered. Not all votes were unanimous – see the  City’s Board and Committees page at a later time – the website has not yet been updated with the new names as of this posting. Staff was asked for a future recommendation on enhancing the application process for Boards and Committees.

Next City Council Meeting on October 12th, 2017 at 7pm

The next City Council Meeting will be on Thursday Oct. 12th at 7pm in City Hall.  

Agenda Highlights:

  • Charter Review Committee Final Report
Announcements/Presentations:
  • Charter Review Committee Final Report  – The Charter Review Committee met several times and has submitted recommended modifications to the City’s Charter including:
    • elimination of duplicative, ‘unneccesary’, or sections covered by State Statute
    • removing residence requirement for City Manager
    • increasing number of allowed consecutive Council Member terms
    • allowing for term-limited Council Members to run again
    • changes to Council Member Elections – allowing for plurality instead of majority, and not counting certain votes when tallying total number of votes in election results.
  • The report can be read here.  The Council will decide which if any of the proposed changes will be placed on the March 2018 Uniform Municipal Elections ballot in ordinance(s) to appear on the November and December agendas.
Consent Agenda includes:
  • Purchase Award for Rental of Motor Vehicles (Police) – 5 year contract to rent unmarked vehicles on an as-needed basis.  $40K/year for 5 years for total contract of $200K.  Not publicly solicited.
  • Purchase Award for Management of Food and Beverage Operations at Sandhill Crane Golf Club – bid waiver since sole bid responder was not recommended by the Selection Committee. Contract value of $1 million over 5 years;  One Million Dollars (expected revenue to City over First Term). Option to renew for two additional 5-year periods.
  • Purchase Award – Piggyback/Access contract to construct a public safety training complex for the Police and Fire Rescue Departments, value $250K.

City Manager Report  – no details listed

Public Hearings and Resolutions:
  • Ordinance 22, 2017 – 2nd Reading and Adoption of the Ban of Medical Marijuana Treatment Facilities which passed on First Reading 5:0 on September 7th
  • Ordinance 23, 2017 – 2nd Reading and Adoption of a Moratorium on Micro Wireless Facilities through December 31, 2017, which passed on First Reading 5:0 on September 7th
  • Resolution 71, 2017 – to approve a miscellaneous amendment allowing for 3 Residential Community Entry Signs for Burwick Residential Community in PGA National
  • Resolution 68, 2017 – Appointments and Re-appointments to the Art in Public Places Advisory Board (AIPP)
  • Resolution 69, 2017 – Appointments and Re-appointments to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board
  • Resolution 70, 2017 – Appointments and Re-appointments to the Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board (PZAB)

Check the agenda to see if any additional items have been added before the meeting here.

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