Saturday, October 4, 2014

News headline: “Deerfield Beach Mayor Engaged in "Ethical Misconduct," OIG Report Says”

For another article about the report go to: www.deerfieldbeachusa.com

After reading the Office of the Inspector General’s report on Mayor Robb’s conduct my first reaction is sadness, first and foremost sadness, not for the mayor, but for Deerfield Beach residents and city workers.
 
This should not have happened! 

The actions which resulted in the findings from the OIG were disgraceful examples of hubris; the actions of a person who feels she is above the rules that govern the rest of us, even after being warned her conduct was illegal. 

This was not one event, it was over and over again, and the evidence shows that when she was mayor back in the 80s it was a problem even then.  A persistent pattern, I understand, which even when sued, and censured, and having a special resolution passed to halt her behavior, did not stop then and is continuing even now.

We have an excellent group of administrative employees, award winning, and responsive to residents.  But their moral is being battered by the mayor’s behavior to them.  Many employees will not talk to the mayor unless another person is also present.  This is sad. 

I was told that at least three employees retired early or left for other jobs in a large part because of Mayor Robb’s conduct. This is sad.

Mayor Jean Robb is not new to politics, she cannot use the excuse of not knowing the City of Deerfield Beach Charter provisions, she was the head of the charter review committee which took each element and scrutinized it to decide if it should be retained as is, changed or deleted.

She knows what she does is prohibited.  She recently had 8 hours of training on ethics laws; 4 hours a year are mandated by state law. She knows better, and, she was warned by the City Manager and the City Attorney.

The OIG report points out the many times that Robb has violated laws since she became mayor in March of 2013.  

As an example the report states that she, without going through the City Manager, directed the duties of employees. 

In the report,  

“The City Manager stated that, pursuant to the Charter, the Mayor and any Commissioner may make inquiries of City staff, but they may not direct or interfere in staff members' job duties or assignments.

 “He also stated that he knew of no instances when any other members of the City Commission attempted to direct the work of City employees.

“He stated he can and has cautioned Mayor Robb about her conduct, and he has directed his staff to let him know if she attempted to affect their job duties.

“He further stated that he believed that the City Attorney has also advised her about the prohibition against her directing the activities of City staff.”

The report also says she obstructed the city’s code enforcement efforts in favor of a car dealership who donated to two of her favorite charities; tried to block the city from awarding a contract to a vendor she didn’t like; on her own committed the city to pay for transportation of a Little League baseball team; had the city clean St. Ambrose’s parking lot and insisted that Fr. Dalton be issued an employee parking sticker.

All this adds up to simply a maverick who, cannot or will not control her behavior.  I lean to the cannot control side because as many times as she promises not to interrupt or disrupt meetings, she continues to do it, as many times as she was warned that she must not interfere with employees duties, she continues to do it, even in public meetings, on camera.  This is sad.

This cannot go on, her word is not to be trusted, in my opinion she will not change.   

Jean Robb should resign, if not, citing the charter provision that she approved, the other commissioners should vote her off the dais.
 
 
The complete OIG Report:

5 comments:

  1. Bett;

    Consider what's *not* in the report. I'm referring, of course, to issues of a criminal nature.

    There is an ongoing SAO investigation, headed up by prosecutor Ryan Kelly. I can count at least four of them ... some are well-documented (aka my Dad's, Jim Stevens, issue) ... others aren't widely known.

    Rightly concerned for her freedom and possible days of incarceration, Robb secured the services of David Bogenschutz ... yes, the same fellow that helped Capellini skate, at a cost of a couple hundred thousand dollars (or a million) to us. The same lawyer that Robb seems to pressing to get paid at the full dollar amount.

    She's in lots of hot water ... and her ways of conducting business, as highlighted in this report, don't just stop at ethical transgressions.

    She destroyed public records, conducted business outside of the sunshine, and well, there are "other things" that someday we'll all be able to discuss.

    I said all that to say this.

    She is 800 years old, do you expect her to change her ways? Do you really think she's going to step down? Leave the office in disgrace to do what exactly? It's her town right? She's the mayor damnit.

    At best (for her) she's a lame duck, having lost any resemblence of respect (outside of a handful of ardent supporters).

    At best (for me), she joins Capellini, Gonot, and her best buddy Sylvia Poitier on a perp walk.

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  2. Bogenschutz is saying the charges are not supportable, I wonder if he means the ethics charges or other charges pending with the SAO? I wonder if Jean will stop interfering with staff now? I wouldn’t bet any money on it.

    There is a Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.” It has been “interesting” in Deerfield Beach since I moved here. I am ready for some boring times.

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  3. Let me try it this way...

    If Robb was concerned about an ethics violation, she'd have hired Stuart Michelson. He's the goto guy for those sorts of things.

    Instead of a civil lawyer, Robb *knew* her problems were of the criminal nature, hence the hiring of David Bogenschutz.

    Robb was never really worried about the OIG report, they're a paper tiger ... yeah sure, this is the first time in the OIG's existence they banged on an elected official, but they have no arrest powers.

    The SAO? They have handcuffs in all sizes.

    I'm also curious to see how her crew, you know the "old white guys" who helped get her elected -- aka that block of votes down in D2 -- I'm wondering how the Beastie Boys will react to this.

    Will they sink with Robb or jump ship?

    Was it worth it fellas? What did she promise to you that made you sell your soul (or whatever tattered remains existed up to that point).

    I'm thinking of another Chinese proverb -- chī shǐ (吃屎) .. which roughly translated means eat shit!

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  4. In regard to an unprincipled mindset--- At the City Commission of 7 October 2014, Madame Mayor Jean Bonnaino Robb’s rants were confusing but not amusing and most certainly grossly hypocritical. Sad to say, this did not set a precedent. This has been a long standing pattern. This time, I was troubled by the mayor’s inventive departure from reality and particularly by the ready acceptance of this by some citizens.
    At the outset of discussion about the ordinance regarding health insurance, City Attorney Andrew Maurodis, at the request of Commissioner Miller, gave a brief but clear summary of the proposed alteration of the 2002 ordinance. For clarity, here it is.
    MAURODIS: This is an ordinance to amend the existing ordinance to limit insurance benefits to future commissioners (those who are not vested, having served in consecutive years.). They will still have the right to that health insurance benefit but they will have to pay for it on the same basis as other retired employees.”
    Characteristically, the Mayor interjected. “I’m not happy with that!”
    Following this, the public spoke. Despite the city attorney’s clear and careful review, virtually all of speakers addressed the original ordinance of a dozen years ago with no mention of the proposed changes by an entirely different commission. Let’s shed some light on what was in light of its bearing on the present.
    There was some discussion by the commissioners, all of whom seemed to agree with making the changes, but also took issue with the trivializing of the quality of their service and the amount of time that they spent serving the city that they had heard from some of the public. Their speaking out about that has been grossly misinterpreted.
    Mme. Mayor declared, “Now it’s my turn.” and went on to disparage the quantity and qualityof service performed by the commissioners by relating it to her comparatively superficial ceremonial duties. Then she told her experience with a health insurance issue.
    “I retired in 1993. At that time the very persons who voted for this thing were on the commission at that time. When I asked if I could stay on the city’s health insurance — my husband had died and I was no longer covered on his policy — I offered to pay the premiums myself. They said no. They refused, and pushed me over to COBRA.”
    Commissioner Ganz responded by pointing out that there was no such insurance plan available for ANY ELECTEE in 1993 and for clarification asked Robb if she meant that she applied to be included in the city’s health insurance plan nine years after having left office in 2002.
    “No. no,” she said, I said that when I was out of office in 1993.”
    Well, maybe Mme. Mayor was confused and not inventive but she persisted in a fabrication — truly unbelievable. She compounded it further with other inaccuracies (to put it kindly) You can see and hear the entire dialogue on the city’s website/ commission/ video
    In any case, the mindset of the commission who passed ordinance 2002/004 was very different from the current commission — men who truly are fulfilled by their job. They give long hours of service without complaint — until their integrity is impugned.
    NOTE: city commissioners who began serving in 1993, were Peggy Noland, District 1; Gwyndolen Clark Reed, District 2; Amadeo Trinchitella, District 3; Kathy Shaddow, district 4; Al Cappellini, Mayor
    Second reading of the health insurance ordinance 2002/004 was 5 February 2002. “MOTION to adopt Ordinance No. 2002/004 was made by Commissioner Trinchitella and seconded by Commissioner Gonot . Roll Call: YEAS: Commissioner Gonot, Commissioner Trinchitella, Vice Mayor Noland and Mayor Capellini. NAYS: None. There was no discussion”
    Note: Unlike at meetings chaired by the current mayor, there was a call for NAYS as well as YEAS.

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  5. Mr. Cohen;

    Always a pleasure reading your stuff...

    As best I understand it, there's ongoing Team Robb discussion to offer a settlement of sorts --- she'll retire and the State won't pursue any felony charges.

    And yes, they most certainly are pursuing felony charges.

    Seems some of Robb's closest (now former) confidantes didn't want to go down with her ship.

    Sorry in advance for using the phrase "go down" and Robb in the same sentence.

    Al dente is how I'd best describe her situation based on my inside-intel.

    Regards.
    C

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