Wednesday, September 30, 2009

City Managers - A dance of the lemons?

City managers, as all top government managers, often become a lightning rod, taking hits when things go wrong, when citizens become upset and when commission members want to place blame.

Mahaney was hired in part because he was calmer, nicer, more open, and less autocratic than Larry Deetjen. He was also seen as someone to right the ship, slow things down and give everyone time to catch their breath.

Past commission decisions had handed Mahaney a city with spending that had to be reined in and with a stranglehold of employee contracts that give the word generous a bad name. He was so frugal that he almost worked himself into exhaustion before finally hiring an assistant.

While Googling the problems city managers have I found the basics of why they have problems said by a city manager in Hurst Texas:

"The downside of being a city manager is, you're at the whim of your political bosses," Hurst, Texas City Manager Allan Weegar said."When things are going great, things are good with you and your relationship with that city council. When there are issues, you can always be brought in as a reason why things are going bad. That's why the city management profession is a fairly short-lived tenure."

So what’s up with Mahaney and our current commission? He has kept our finances under control and our bond ratings way up there. He has faults, who doesn’t? Trying to please 5 bosses is a “pleasure” which, thank goodness, I have never had to endure, and I don’t envy him that role.

Let’s even say he has a lot of faults, I have heard lack of communication, lack of managing by “walking around”, carelessness and a few other things. Maybe so, but we are on good footing compared to most other Florida cities, we have not laid any employees off, when requested he trimmed the budget so we don’t have to raise the fire fee (which is one of the things that affects all of us, even if we pay very low property taxes), and the millage rate is livable, especially considering surrounding cities.

So how bad is he? Maybe the commissioners need to give a little and stop micromanaging and talking to staff, and maybe Mahaney needs to communicate better.

We should avoid throwing the baby out with the bath water. What is out there by way of unemployed city managers, from the makeup of the group we interviewed the last time, is no great shakes. This commission needs to calm down and try some counseling before getting a divorce.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pier Restaurant Bid Opening

Pier restaurant bid request for proposal forms (RFP) were opened in a staff meeting Thursday, the staff reviewed the 9 proposals and will present a synopsis of each to the commission.

This is a temporary rental so I would think that the income to the city (given equitable RFPs) would be the most important thing here. In that case Weinstein’s Pier Grille” wins hands down. We know they have good food at fair prices. When the new buildings, restaurant, bathrooms, bait shop etc. are done, there will be another go around for someone to run that restaurant. At that time, price and ambiance will enter into the mix.

The following are my notes about the bid opening (no accuracy guaranteed as I was scribbling and listening and at times distracted by remarks by staff and the observers).

1. First opened was Stephen Clark’s Tavern Group, LLC’s bid for the “Soggy Dollar Café”
Their rent proposal was a flat $4,500 per month
The RFP requested “statement of key elements” said they would have a Key West style nautical and beach theme.
They would stay open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. 7 days/week, and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The typical breakfast would cost $8.00
Lunch, $6.95
In discussion while checking the paperwork it was evident that Jerry Ferguson was not a fan of this proposal. He grudgingly admitted that the RFP elements were all there.

2. Jimmy Tsiakanikos “Greek Express II”
The rent proposed was $4,700 per month.
The theme would be a Greek restaurant similar to his existing Greek Express.
They would stay open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. 7 days/week, and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The staff did not say how much meals would be, there was an included menu from the other restaurant, the lunch menu had no hamburgers, and there was mention that the prices were high.
There was some missing material in the RFP

3. David Weinstein and Gerry Alter’s “Pier Grille”. (The ones who were temporarily running the restaurant just before it was closed for new bids.}
Rent proposed was $2,000 per month plus 10% of the gross sales. (2008 gross sales were $612,000) if no change (it should go way up with the interesting marketing attractions they are planning) if I understood the proposal correctly, that would work out over the year to an average of $7,100 per month.
Their theme was a family friendly beach restaurant.
They would open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and longer in the evening during the season.
Breakfast $6.07
This is another group which Jerry seemed to dislike, as the positives piled up he kept saying things like, the rent would not be that high every month, but Sally and George assured him that it WOULD average out.

4. Sven Jutz’s “Deer’s Pier Grill”
Rent proposed was $5,000 per month or 8% of sales (adjusted at the end of the year) whichever is greater.
The theme is an affordable American Restaurant with a “green” emphasis, stressing recycling etc.
Open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or Sunup to Sundown.
Breakfast $7.06
Mr. Jutz is an experienced restaurateur. The proposal was similar to the one submitted for the first go-around so they didn’t take much time with it.

5. Sean Lillis’ “Gracie’s at the Pier”
Rent proposed was $3,932.50 (What’s up with the fifty cents?)
The theme was great choices at a fair price.
Open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the season, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. off season.
Breakfast $7.20
Staff remarked that his RFP was excellent with insurance noted, a financial plan and marketing suggestions. The proposal was in a tabbed folder and followed the RFP perfectly, staff was happy to be able to read it so easily (Smaller things have been deciders). This is the company which built the Kinsale Condo on the beach. IMHO, In spite of the excellent proposal, they bid much too low.

6. Richard Gallagher’s “Mr. Krabbs”
Rent proposed was $3,700 per month. That combined with their incomplete RFP will have them out of the running I am sure. Lots of discussion on what was lacking, especially experience in food service, and no prices on the sample menu, and no disclosure form.

7. Howard Johnson’s “Beach Shack”
Rent proposed was $4,700 per month
There was no statement of key elements
Open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. 7 days a week
Breakfast $7.75
No references

8. J.B.s on the Beach’s “Fishtails”
Rent proposed was $5,100 per month if 6% of annual sales is higher they will add in the difference at the end of the year. (As with Weinstein’s proposal, a percent of sales seems like a good idea to me.)
The theme is fake fish décor and they said they would upgrade the facility (it will be torn down, why upgrade it now?)
Open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and until 9 p.m. if traffic warrants.
Breakfast (no beverages were listed on the sample menu) $4.75, add 2 bucks for coffee and they are comparable at $6.75
Staff said there were no references listed only letters from 3 vendors saying they paid on time. Jerry enthused over the complete employee manual and safety practices they provided. Marketing as per J.B.s and they will cross staff with J.B.s

9. Brian Handleman’s “The Pier Grill” (without the “e”)
Rent proposed was $5,000 per month plus 2% over $500,000.
Focus to appeal to locals and beachgoers.
Open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. 7 days, longer in season.
Breakfast $6.25
Handleman has 15 years of experience as a race course caterer, many letters of recommendation. They included a good employee handbook. They have a website already up, but only a hopeful statement on the home page.
They are proposing many come-ons. Senior citizen’s Mondays, Beach Box Lunches, etc. During the discussion about finances their listed $30,000 letter of credit had Jerry commenting “…how far will that get them?” I guess he is not a fan.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pier Restaurant

The RFPs were opened at city hall today for the temporary running of the restaurant by the pier. Formerly Kelly's. The following are the names of the contractors who entered an RFP and the names they proposed for the restaurant:

Brian Handleman
The Pier Grill
David Weinstein/Gerry Alter
Pier Grille
Richard Gallagher
Mr. Krabbs
Stephen Clark/Tavern Group, LLC
Soggy Dollar Beach Cafe
Sean Lillis
Gracie’s at the Pier
Sven Jutz
Deer’s Pier Grill
HoJo Plaza Resort
Beach Shack
Dimitri “Jimmy” Tsiakanikos
Greek Express II

Thursday, September 17, 2009

To the Victor go the Spoils

"To the victor go the spoils". I heard that phrase a few times after the Deerfield Beach Commission meeting last Tuesday. Every commissioner has the right to appoint whomever they want to the various advisory boards. The members with allegiance to former commissioners get removed and the commissioner appoints a newbie.

Alternates who, when appointed, assumed that they would move up to a permanent position are disappointed when someone who has served far less time than they are bumped up. They fail to realize that there is no rhyme or reason to the appointments and no one should expect it; not even merit.

It is nice if an appointee has some expertise in the area, but the main criteria are loyalty to the commissioner who appoints them and, I would surmise, the willingness to take orders on issues, or more hopefully, an agreement with the philosophy of the appointing commissioner.

Alternates are only appointed to the full time position when they are the sitting commissioner’s cronies and it looks good to say “they have been an alternate for years and deserve to be promoted”; never mind that they had only 5 years as an alternate and others have been alternates for 7 or more. It sounds good to say.

Mayor Noland followed this practice when she got rid of Marty McGeary from the Planning and Zoning board and appointed Bobby Brown. Marty is a member of the OSOBs and a friend of former commissioner Pam Militello who appointed her, and Peggy has been heard to say she “Hates the OSOBs”. So, no big surprise here, I was only surprised that Peggy waited until Marti’s term ran out before giving her the ax, and pretended it was not planned all along.

While musing on this topic, I wondered where the phrase “To the victor go the spoils” originated. So, as I am wont to do when an idle question takes up residence in my head, I Googled it.

And I found that:

During a Congressional debate in 1831 a New York senator, William L. Marcy, used the phrase "to the victor belong the spoils." This saying accurately described the spoils system of appointing government workers. Each time a new administration came into power thousands of public servants were discharged and members of the victorious political party took over their jobs.

Senator Marcy's remark was largely in defense of Andrew Jackson, whose campaign against President John Quincy Adams, in 1828, was seen partly as a vendetta against Adams, and whose conduct and remarks when taking office seemed to justify the association of Jackson with the spoils system which has so sullied the reputation of most politicians in the U.S.

Adams was the last of the non-partisan or bipartisan breed of politicians that characterized U.S. politics during the "Founding Fathers" era.

One story is that the day of the inauguration or shortly after the White House was so besieged by office-seekers that they were climbing in the windows.

The system reached a peak under the presidency of Ulysses S Grant (1869–77).

In the 20th century, civil-service posts in large cities were often filled on the recommendation of newly elected political leaders. The system was epitomized by the Democratic Party ‘machine’ of Richard Daley (1902–76), mayor of Chicago.

After the assassination of
James A. Garfield by a rejected office-seeker in 1881, the calls for civil service reform intensified. The end of the spoils system at the federal level came with the passage of the Pendleton Act in 1883, which created a bipartisan Civil Service Commission to evaluate job candidates on a nonpartisan merit basis.

While few jobs were covered under the law initially, the law allowed the President to transfer jobs and their current holders into the system, thus giving the holder a permanent job. The Pendleton Act's reach was expanded as the two main political parties alternated control of the White House in every election between 1884 and 1896.

After each election the outgoing President applied the Pendleton Act to jobs held by his political supporters. By 1900, most federal jobs were handled through civil service and the spoils system was limited only to very senior positions.

The separation between political activity and the civil service was made stronger with the
Hatch Act of 1939 which prohibited federal employees from engaging in political activities.
The spoils system survived much longer in many states, counties and municipalities, such as the Tammany Hall ring, which survived well into the 1930s when New York City reformed its own civil service. Illinois modernized its bureaucracy in 1917 under Frank Lowden, but Chicago held on to patronage in city government until the city agreed to end the practice in the Shakman Decrees of 1972 and 1983.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Compare and Decide

Compare Deerfield Beach to Pembrook Pines (whose city manager plus one deputy pulls down $755,000, but is laying off 84 employees and raising taxes) and our city manager starts to look pretty good. We have no layoffs, no fire fee increase, tax dollars the same as last year, money in our contingency fund giving some hope for next year and no cuts in services.

From Lisa Rab’s article in the New Times:

Many people who packed the Pembroke Pines City Commission chambers for a budget hearing last night were angry at political leaders they believed had failed them. Despite laying off 84 employees and outsourcing major city services, the city still faces a $27 million budget shortfall, and commissioners are considering raising property taxes to fill it.

The proposed hike, coming at a time when home values have plummeted, was not exactly welcome.But as residents stepped to the podium to plead for lower taxes, one audience member directed his wrath at a different target: City Manager Charles Dodge.

It's Dodge's job to prevent such financial catastrophes, Jay Schwartz reasoned, and he's handled the latest one terribly. "The city manager has failed to meet the expectations of the residents and employees," said Schwartz, who has lived in the city for 20 years. "I strongly encourage you to renegotiate the contract with the city manager."

… earns $755,000 a year from the city. That sum is divided between Dodge and his deputy, Martin Gayeski. Both men also receive free health insurance from the city, plus office space and staff at City Hall.

Read the entire article here:

Coconut Creek Lawsuit

Comment after reading the press release (Please see below) from Jim Freeman, a member of the Concerned Citizens of Coconut Creek:

Even if the economy was good, it is disgusting that $60,000 is wasted on such a magazine. It also shows how the civil/political environment is so similar in other places -- in some places better and others worse. There are combinations of circumstances that lead to good or bad government. Deerfield has been fortunate to have the dedication and selflessness of OSOB to help the government be better. Just think that if it had not been for the 1998 Referendum that added to the Charter requiring 4 votes concerning the pier restaurant lease and the efforts of OSOB in fighting the Boinis lease, the beach area would be a mess now with the massive Boinis lease. Also, OSOB has contributed to the Charter amendments protecting the main beach parking lot and Charter Amendment that will not let there be significant changes to the existing development regulations in the beach area. We have gotten wacked around a lot and lost a lot of battles with variances. But we have contributed to good government. Lastly, Pam's Ethics Code has put into place a good Code to try to make government better for citizens. - Tom Connick

COCONUT CREEK, FL – Once a month residents and businesses in Coconut Creek receive Coconut Creek Life, a glossy full-color magazine featuring local stories and ads, whether they want it or not. Published by Ryplin Industries, Inc. of Coconut Creek, Coconut Creek Life is the little sister of Parkland Life, a version tailored for Parkland residents. It seems that after seeing Parkland Life, Coconut Creek City Hall liked the idea of having its own magazine. According to Ryplin’s website, publisher Mindi F. Rudan was approached by the City to publish a Creek magazine and now receives a $60,000.00 annual grant from the City of Coconut Creek to do so. That works out to $5,000.00 per issue. The magazine also lists the City of Coconut Creek under “contributing photographers”. Coincidentally, Rudan is one of the original incorporators of the Coconut Creek Chamber of Commerce, along with Mary Blasi who is the current Coconut Creek Deputy City Manager.

Each month, in a section entitled A View from the Top, The current mayor gets some space to deliver a personal message to the community. Coconut Creek has a system where there are five city commissioners, and once a year they decide which one of them gets to be the mayor for that year. Long-time Commissioner Marilyn Gerber who represents District C is the current mayor.

In the September 2009 issue of Coconut Creek Life, Mayor Gerber took on the highly controversial Amendment 4 slated for Florida’s November 2010 ballot. In her view from the top, Gerber expressed some standard arguments against A4 and suggested that if voters couldn’t see that it was a wolf dressed up in Hometown Democracy and apple pie clothes, then perhaps they should not vote at all. She closes her remarks stating that things like comprehensive plan changes should be her call until she is voted out of office.

It’s no surprise that Gerber is against Amendment 4. Her major campaign contributors are her former City Manager Dennis Mele’s current employer, law/lobby firm Ruden-McClosky, alleged to be a conduit for developer and construction industry political donations. Gerber has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. In September of 2008, Gerber and all four other commissioners voted to grant a zoning change to a big box development represented by Mele, in spite of strong protests from area residents. An appeal filed by residents blocked the development and the developer, Jacksonville-based Regency Centers, pulled out of the deal. The appeal is still pending and the outcome will determine the fate of the parcel in question for future development.

What is kind of a surprise is that the Mayor would engage in what appears to be a clear violation of Florida State law, specifically SB 216 that prohibits elected officials from utilizing public funds for campaigning or electioneering purposes. Gerber’s platform, in this instance, is subsidized by the City of Coconut Creek.

Creek resident James Freeman feels something needs to be done. Freeman is a member of the Concerned Citizens of Coconut Creek, a non-profit community group that fought and appealed the Sept. 2008 re-zoning. He has filed the following complaint with the State Attorney General’s office:

“As a resident of Coconut Creek, Florida, I wish to file a formal complaint against Coconut Creek Commissioner and Mayor Marilyn Gerber and Ryplin Industries, Inc. of Coconut Creek, Florida.
In the September 2009 issue of Coconut Creek Life magazine, published by Ryplin Industries, in a monthly column entitled "A View From the Top", Mayor Gerber engages in what I consider to be electioneering against the proposed Amendment 4 on the 2010 Florida ballot.
According to the "About Us" section on Coconut Creek Life's website:, the magazine receives an annual taxpayer-based grant of $60,000.
This would appear to be a direct violation of Florida SB 216, which specifically prohibits the use of taxpayer money for electioneering purposes. It is my contention that both Mayor Gerber and Ryplin Industries have violated state law in this instance.
I also feel that with all of the media exposure for Amendment 4, this has the potential to be a highly publicized issue, and wonder if similar violations have incurred in any of Ryplin's other publications.
I urge your office to investigate this matter and take appropriate action. I find this misuse of public funds both highly disturbing and threatening to our democratic process.”

To the press, Freeman adds: “Why is the City cutting budgets but pays $60,000 to help support this magazine? There are lots of ads, can’t the magazine make it on its own? And I strongly disagree when my tax dollars are helping to promote an election-issue agenda my neighbors and I feel is not in our best interest.”

Freeman’s complaint was filed on 9/14/09. As he awaits the Attorney General’s response, he is encouraging his fellow residents to voice their concerns as well.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Commission Cacophony

The city manager is getting raked over the coals for not doing what, according to him, he didn’t know he was supposed to do.

I barely know the guy, but it seems that the current commission is trying to micro manage him, the city, and the budget.

No, guys, that is not your job.

You set policy, you give direction - you do not run the city directly. Voice your disapprovals, sure, voice your opinions, give direction generally, then let the professionals carry out your policies, the nuts and bolts are to be done by the guys who get the big bucks.

If the commission had said to City Manager Mahaney in the beginning, 7 meetings ago: We do not want the roll back rate, and we do not want the fire assessment raised, bring us a budget that reflects that, but no layoffs. He would have had direction, and a goal.

Late in the game, after the commission tried to play the part of City Manager and Department Heads combined, during a succession of meetings where, from an observer’s point of view, nothing happened at all except a lot of frustrated anger at each other, the department heads, and the city manager, and a lot of finger pointing, for the first time, they called for a drastic reduction to save the tax rate. Mahaney had already cut $3,200,000 plus to save the fire fee increase.

With time short, Mahaney brought back a total savings of $4,700,000 and explained that was the best the city could do without layoffs. (O.K. I skipped the next meeting, I really couldn’t stomach more invective, attacks and self serving monologues.)

Now, at this (9/8) meeting, I hear nothing about the $4,700,000 and we are back to the original fire fee cut alone, and the roll back tax rate of 5.9801.

What happened? I assume the commission put back the $1,500,000 cuts. What’s up with that? After all the yelling and haranguing to cut, cut, cut. The cuts are gone. Next episode 9/15.

What a mess. My guess is that Mahaney won’t last the year out. Having 5 bosses, most of whom want to play manager, is going to do him in.

Festivals or Jobs

Some thoughts on last night’s (9/8) special budget commission meeting, more to come.

I asked a question about the funding for festivals in Deerfield Beach - Founder’s Day, Mango Festival, Brazilian Festival, Arts Festival et al.

I wanted to know, simply, if the taxpayers foot the bills or does the city get money back from sponsors and vendors which cover the expenses. If that is true as Vice Mayor Poitier said over and over again, I asked, why is the money in the budget?

The discussion devolved into a Poitier soliloquy on the Mango Festival, with the same theme – it pays for itself. Again I said, I am not asking about a specific festival, but in general, we are not in good times as in the past so how can anyone justify spending money on a festival when employees are not getting raises and jobs are going unfilled. I re-asked, if they pay for themselves, why is the money in the budget?

I found out that the city money does indeed go to festivals, last year the Founder’s Day received about $115,000; and then went on to award grants to different charities. (It would be a lot cheaper for the city to give the charities the money and skip the parade.) Mayor Noland explained that after the parade ran through the 115K they had to pay the rest of the expenses from their income.

I think Founder’s Day is a blast, fun and a great tradition, but I don’t think it is worth spending taxpayer’s money on when we are raising the tax rate. It should pull its own weight, and always did until the recent past when the city started to fund it, no one knew why.

This year, I think we should get whatever city money is used for the parade back before giving it away to charities. The city needs to get out of the business of running festivals and let the festival committees handle it. Most people do not pay their taxes to have them given away. I prefer to choose my own charities.

When I asked about getting sponsors, I was told that last year none were asked to donate.

Founder’s Day and all the other Festivals earn money, and should be able to cover their own expenses, and award what’s left over to their charities, if not, in these lean times, they need to skip a year or cut down the size of the affair; let’s make sure they really raise money before they give it away.

Last year the Brazillian Festival, for the first time, got $50,000, and this year we are funding them again. WHY?

Bill Ganz, held up the accounting sheet for the 2005 Mango Festival, as an example, and said that in 2005, the Mango Festival gave the city back $30,000 and two sponsors donated around $12,000. But, the city wrote checks for north of $400,000 dollars.

Terry Scott, a Mango Festival representative said he “didn’t want to call the Commissioners liars” but then went on to question the figures. He said there weren’t 25,000 at the festival as the BSO estimated but only 17,000 on Saturday night. 17,000 times what I heard as a $15 entry fee on one day is still $225,000, not to mention the income from the vendors. If that is true, where did all that go if the city paid for the BSO and other expenses? With that kind of income how does the festival justify asking the city for money?

Again Ganz pointed to the accounting sheet and said facts don’t lie.

This year’s allocation to the festivals is around $60,000, not even a dollar per resident, but is it one job for a city employee that could be saved.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Where Will Candidates Come From?

Jeff Sayles in his piece about the ethics code and the Moye affair NEW: Did Voters Really Want This? (09/05/09) says, “The longer range effect is that the truth of this matter, along with the truth of other matters, could make voters think twice about re-electing Noland as mayor, if they have better options.

“If they have better options.”

This is key, this city needs more of its residents involved in keeping track of what is going on at city hall, more people to overcome their apathy and pay attention to the kind of people who are running our city.

I think in many ways the citizens of this city are complacent, counting on a few activists to do everything for them. This city has been lucky in that activists prevented developers building on golf courses and filling in Crystal Lake (which I understand is about to happen again).

Activists prevented a cell tower from being installed in a little neighborhood park. And activists made sure the zoning codes that were eliminated by a former commission were reinstated, and the main beach parking lot was saved from commercial buildings.

Oh yes, recently, activists prevented the city ethics code from being rescinded by a 3-2 vote of the commission.

But the economy and two indicted commissioners cry loudly for citizen oversight of our city hall. Especially when we have a mayor who thinks ethics interfere with getting city business done.

We had some residents step up to run for office in the last election, but we don’t need office holders who are not interested enough in the city before elections to attend commission meetings (watching them on TV is not the same) or serve on city boards and committees.

District 1 elected Joe Miller who knew nothing about the running of the city, never attended commission meetings and was on no boards. He is doing on the job training and needs a lot of catch up work. He has not had one district meeting since taking office, even after being urged by his constituents over and over. They want to know about the budget process and how it affects them, but they have to go to District 4 meetings to find out. I assume Joe doesn’t feel confident enough or knowledgeable enough to answer their questions.

This kind of office holder is not doing our city any good. Residents must get involved and involved residents should run for office. Attending commission meetings can be very entertaining, also frustrating and maddening, but, always worthwhile as you will know what is going on, and become a more informed voter.

Oh, yes, Deerfield Beach does need an Ethics Code, Florida leads the country in the number of officials convicted in federal public conviction cases. Top five by this count were: Florida, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania and California. And most likely some of our current or former commissioners will add to the number in the next census.

Sadly, many good people will not consider running for office because Deerfield Beach office holders have such bad reputations, and campaigns are so dirty.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ethics Code Not Repealed

The pressure from the media e.g.: and residents worked, the Deerfield Beach Commission did not vote to rescind the Code of Ethics. Instead, following Bill Ganz’s lead they voted to appoint a committee of residents to look over the code and report back their findings to the commission.

They pretty much had to do that after the outrage from the public and media. . Yes, Noland and Poitier wanted to get rid of the code. But they were not up front about that in tonight’s meeting.
I would have respected Peggy a little if she had told the public that, yes she wanted to get rid of the code, but because three other commissioners didn’t she would go along with them. Instead she said that the reason she asked to put the item asking to repeal the Ethics Code on the agenda was so they could discuss it. That does not pass the smell test, if you want to discuss an item you say you want to DISCUSS it on the agenda, not REPEAL it.

Early arrivals at the commission meeting with signs supporting the Ethics Code.