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Something to Think About…

Posted in Newspapers on August 26th, 2009 by admin – Be the first to comment

All publicly traded companies must have audited financials, by law, to protect shareholders. Tax payers in the county are the shareholders. I have more rights to a third party audit if I purchase a one cent penny stock than I do as a Palm Beach County taxpayer.

Documented and Verifiable Facts

Posted in Newspapers on August 24th, 2009 by admin – Be the first to comment

From: Andy [mailto:andy@upinarms.net]
Sent: Monday, August 24, 2009 10:26 AM
To: ‘BCC-AllCommissioners@pbcgov.org’
Cc: ‘RWeisman@pbcgov.org’; ‘George Webb’
Subject: RE: The FACTS, nothing but the FACTS

Commissioner,

Here are the documented facts that are verifiable through the BCC meeting videos, Staff backup, electronic correspondence and personal meetings. All proof can be found at www.upinarms.net and on the County website www.pbcgov.com.

1. When I met you after the BCC in June of 2008 you told me my neighborhood was not in an area of your concern. You offered your own personal funds in place of working through the County. I declined that offer and told you I wanted to do things the right way. The reason you thought the price of paving Fargo was to be under $100,000 is because Fargo is a short road only 12 properties in length. The latest estimate from George Webb is nearly $500,000.

2. On July 21, 2008 during a meeting in your office with George Webb, you proposed changing the MSTU program to the 100% participation from the previous 50/50. George Webb told us that a petition to property owners was not necessary to start the paving project. I told you that you would take a lot of heat for the decision to assess “all users” as is County policy. You told me that you were use to taking heat and that the project was in the best interest of the neighborhood. “I tape all of my meetings” is what you say over and over. Please produce the tape!

3. During the July 22, 2008 BCC meeting, I presented the idea of changing the MSTU ordinance to the 100% owner participation, as we had discussed the day before, as per your guidance. George Webb responded to your direct question with a dollar amount estimation for each of approximately 100 to 200 property owners. George Webb gave his support for the change to help “this neighborhood.”

4. During the December 16, 2008 BCC meeting, the Board passed the MSTU change. Once again you, George Webb and I had a meeting in your office after the BCC meeting concluded. Mr. Webb had made no forward progress in facilitating the paving of Fargo. You became irritated with Mr. Webb’s attitude and gave him three instructions to move forward with paving Fargo. You said, “Number one. Make it legal. Number two. Make it fair. Number three. Make it quick.” Again, “I tape all of my meetings” is what you say over and over. Please produce the tape!

5. During the March 17, 2009 BCC meeting, I expressed my disappointment and dissatisfaction that no progress had been made in the three months following the MSTU change in December. Prior to the meeting I wrote a lengthy email to the Board outlining the issue again. Your words were, “Those of you who have read Mr. Schaller’s memo to all of us, [the BCC] all of his statements are in fact accurate.” My paper and video trail on this topic is second to none and available to the public via my website.

6. It was during this meeting [March 17, 2009] that the subject of funds not being available came up. You responded, “This is the first time I was informed that there’s no funds at all.” Next you said, “The only explination, I’m guessing, why it has slipped through the cracks is because there have been other bigger more important projects in the meantime. And I guess this Fargo paving has been a low priority and it has only resurfaced at his [Andy Schaller’s] persistence coming to us over and over again.” Why would you allow a project you have been involved with that included changing a county ordinance “slip through the cracks? The answer is in your own statement, I’m guessing, there have been more important projects to you than keeping an eye on this one. So much for you representing the “little guy.”

7. In a letter dated March 18, 2009, Engineering sent out petitions to nearly 100 residents to vote on the paving of Fargo Avenue. A follow up letter dated March 24, 2009, six days later, canceled the 100 or so petitions.

8. During the June 2, 2009 BCC Meeting, you made a motion to petition 13 owners on Fargo and to assess about 240 property owners. When Commissioner Aaronson objected to 13 owners having the power to vote and ultimately assess all 240 properties, you defended your motion. You even asked the attorney, Marlene Everett, to confirm your legal standing for assessing all 240 property owners. Immediately after the meeting I told you of my concerns that the 240 property owners would voice opposition. You told me several times not to be concerned and that the issue was now over and Fargo would be paved.

9. You wrote: “During the many occasions that you publicly presented your request to pave Fargo, none of your neighbors came to oppose your request. I presumed (as probably the other commissioners also presumed) that you had the support of your neighbors in your Ranchette Community to pave Fargo.” I stated more than once that I spoke only for myself and my neighbors on Fargo that asked me to speak for them. In fact it only took me a few hours to collect the necessary majority YES votes for the second paving petition. You presumed something I plainly expressed the opposite of. However, it is the County policy to assess all benefiting properties. Why did you decline my requests to personally visit the road you were so involved with. How do you just not show up and see for yourself?

10. At the July 7, 2009 BCC Meeting, there were many Ranchettes owners who voiced strong opposition. The decision to pave Fargo was placed on hold. The very next day you wrote in a memo, “… I feel that the action taken by the BCC on July 7, 2009 was a big injustice to Mr. Andy Schaller …” and you listed three reasons. Further you wrote: “We owe Mr. Andy Schaller an apology for encouraging him to proceed and costing him thousands of dollars of expense and hundreds of hours of wasted time. I intend to personally reimburse him for his monetary expenses, but who can reimburse him for his wasted time and aggravation? We all know how much effort he put into this for over one year!” A month ago everyone owed me an apology, according to you and now your claim is that I am “manipulating my “supposed” FACTS in an illogical, irrelevant sequence.” You sir are projecting.

11. In your July 10, 2009 memo to Bob Weisman you wrote, “It was about a year later that I realized that homeowners outside of the Fargo Road were also considered to be assessed a portion of the cost.” Either this is a patently false statement or you do not have a grasp of the events you were involved with. Either choice or both choices leave the citizens you represent in dire straits.

A. June 3, 2008 – You offered me 10% of the cost of road paving for a short road. The road has not grown since then.

B. July 21, 2008 – It was your suggestion to change the MSTU ordinance during the meeting with George Webb and myself.

C. July 22, 2008 – You asked George Webb during the BCC Meeting for an estimated cost. He responded and told you the assessment would affect 100 to 200 property owners.

D. December 16, 2008 – You told George Webb to proceed with assessing all properties who would benefit from the road paving of Fargo.

E. March 18, 2009 – Petition letters are sent to over 100 property owners who would be potentially assessed for Fargo road paving.

F. June 2008 – June 2009 – Meetings, discussions and correspondence about a road 12 properties long.

G. June 02, 2009 – Your motion was to assess 240 property owners.

So when exactly do you claim that you realized what you were involved with and the affects? What part of your idea to change the MSTU ordinance did you not realize? What part of George Webb’s July 2008 answer did you not understand? Who wrote the motion that you made during the June 2, 2009 BCC Meeting? Is it your practice to be involved with issues that you spend “many, many hours” and “many occasions” for a period of over a year and not realize the situation?

Commissioner, we are talking about paving a residential dirt road only 12 properties long! What if this was a major county issue?

The reason I came to you in the first place was for you to help correct the County “mistakes” that Mr. Weisman so frequently refers to them as. Engineering made decisions that created this entire situation. Proper initial oversight of this project would have kept you and I from ever being involved with trying to correct this mess. Continuing oversight would have avoided this long drawn out affair. To date, I have received no apology that you called for and the residents along Fargo are still dealing with the admitted “mistakes” made by the County. This matter is on hold indefinitely with no sign of relief in sight.

Remember a couple months ago when you and I were meeting at a restaurant and you said if you did not seek re-election you would support me for District 6 Commissioner? You told me that I should continue to be involved and that not enough good people are involved in politics. We get the people in power that we deserve because not enough of the “good guys” run for office. I have not changed my stance or my involvement in this issue. You made a statement during a BCC meeting that all of my statements are in fact accurate. You encouraged me to become more involved because I was one of the people qualified to hold your position as an elected official. I am the same person with the same set of facts and logic that you encouraged to consider public office. You say, “Right is Might.” I have been and remain right on this issue and have not wavered.

Andy Schaller
www.upinarms.net

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From: Jess Santamaria [mailto:JSantama@pbcgov.org]
Sent: Friday, August 21, 2009 12:38 PM
To: andy@upinarms.net
Cc: BCC-All Commissioners; Robert Weisman; George Webb
Subject: The FACTS, nothing but the FACTS

August 21, 2009

Subject: The FACTS, nothing but the FACTS

To: Mr. Andy Schaller

In your 8/18/09 email, you state “It is time for you to face the FACTS.”

You have quite a knack for manipulating your “supposed” FACTS in an illogical, irrelevant sequence to arrive at your desired conclusion!

Let’s see how cleverly you refute the following simple relevant FACTS:

(1) Sometime early 2008, following a BCC public meeting, you approached me in the 6th floor hallway and asked me to assist you in getting your Fargo Road paved. I agreed to assist you and also voluntarily offered to personally contribute $10,000 to the Fargo Road paving (thinking that since you said Fargo was a very short road, it would cost less than $100,000).

(2) Over the following approximately twelve (12) months you presented your case to pave Fargo Road to the entire Board of County Commissioners numerous times. In addition, you also met with me and the County Engineer on many more occasions.

(3) You often complained that the County Engineer was not very cooperative about your request to pave Fargo. I continued to be very supportive of your request to pave Fargo and I spent many, many hours assisting you in your efforts.

(4) During the many occasions that you publicly presented your request to pave Fargo, none of your neighbors came to oppose your request. I presumed (as probably the other commissioners also presumed) that you had the support of your neighbors in your Ranchette Community to pave Fargo.

(5) Sometime in early 2009, it appeared that you had succeeded in convincing all the Commissioners to support the paving of your Fargo Road.

(6) Finally, on June 2, 2009, the paving of Fargo Road was placed on the BCC Public Meeting Agenda. During the presentation and public discussion of this item no one spoke in opposition to the paving of Fargo Road. Primarily based on the FACT that, at this public meeting, as in the past, no one spoke opposing the paving of Fargo, I made the motion to approve your petition to pave Fargo, and my motion was seconded by Commissioner Aaronson, with Commissioner Aaronson adding that all Ranchette residents who were affected be notified in writing of the action taken. The motion was unanimously approved by all commissioners present.

(7) After the June 2, 2009 BCC meeting, the residents of the Ranchette community, (your neighbors) were notified by mail that they were going to be assessed and contribute to the cost of paving Fargo.

(8) Soon after the Ranchette homeowners received the mailing notifying them of their contribution to the cost of paving Fargo, many homeowners started expressing their strong united opposition to contributing to its cost.

(9) At the July 7, 2009 “Matters by the Public” BCC public meeting, the BCC chamber was filled with Ranchette homeowners who had received the mailing requested by Commissioner Aaronson when he seconded my motion to pave Fargo (6/2/09). About 98% of all Ranchette homeowners who spoke at that “Matters by the Public” BCC meeting in unison (one after the other) very strongly and vehemently expressed their united opposition to contribute any amount towards the paving of Fargo! Based on this overwhelming opposition by the Ranchette homeowners, Commissioner Abrams made the motion to delay the paving of Fargo until such time as the “Municipal Services Taxing Unit (MSTU)” program is re-established, subject to a new vote by the neighborhood. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Aaronson. All commissioners in attendance (including myself) unanimously voted in favor of this motion.

In this United States of America, this is the way Democracy is supposed to work – elected government officials, as public servants, are supposed to represent the will of the majority of its constituents (in this case, the will of the super great majority!).

Mr. Schaller, at the conclusion of your 8/18/09 email, you made a threat to “explore options of a recall.” Please do me a favor – push through your threat. I look forward to finding out how many people follow your illogical thinking.

Jess R. Santamaria

It is Time for you to Face the Facts

Posted in Newspapers on August 18th, 2009 by admin – 2 Comments

From: Andy [mailto:andy@upinarms.net]
Sent: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 5:17 PM
To: ‘Jess Santamaria’; ‘BCC-AllCommissioners@pbcgov.org’; ‘StateAttorney@sa15.state.fl.us’
Cc: ‘RWeisman@pbcgov.org’; ‘rtrca@mypalmbeachclerk.com’; ‘sbock@mypalmbeachclerk.com’; ‘jennifer_sorentrue@pbpost.com’; ‘joel_engelhardt@pbpost.com’; ‘abreid@SunSentinel.com’
Subject: RE: Fargo Paving

Commissioner,

It is time for you to face the facts. You are on the record during the BCC meeting in July of 2008 asking George Webb how much each property owner would pay for Fargo to be paved. He gave you an estimate of between $1500 and $2000 per owner and the assessment would be borne by 100 to 200 property owners.

The fact that you did not have the “slightest inkling” of your own motion says that it is time for you to step aside and let someone who understands the motions he or she makes take over. You declined numerous invitations to personally view the road in question. As a matter of fact I told you that you would take a lot of heat for this decision and you bragged that you were used to taking a lot of heat and that it was for the good of the community.

Commissioner, you were the one who suggested the 100% payment change to the MSTU program. I implore you to watch the video of the July 22, 2008 BCC meeting. You clearly had been told by Mr. Webb that somewhere between 100 and 200 property owners would be affected. Either you are choosing to disregard the facts and recreate history for your own political gain or you just don’t have control of your faculties. Respectfully, you don’t have a grasp of the events you were involved with. Undisputable proof to my claims exist and are posted at www.upinarms.net.

Maybe it is time to explore options of a recall.

—————————————————————————————–
From: Jess Santamaria [mailto:JSantama@pbcgov.org]
Sent: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 4:57 PM
To: andy@upinarms.net
Cc: BCC-All Commissioners; Robert Weisman; George Webb
Subject: Fargo Paving

To: Andy Schaller

When you first approached me while I was walking out of a BCC meeting (some 18 months ago) regarding paving Fargo, I was happy to help you and offered to personally contribute $10,000.00 toward its paving. Within the first three months, if I had had the slightest inkling that 98% of your neighbors were opposed to the paving, you would have never gotten to first base!

Jess R. Santamaria
Palm Beach County Commissioner
District 6

County clerk, administrator trade barbs over watchdog roles

Posted in BCC Meetings, Newspapers on August 18th, 2009 by admin – Be the first to comment

The sometimes-contentious relationship between County Administrator Bob Weisman and Clerk and Comptroller Sharon Bock grew frostier Tuesday.

Bock through the years has tried to assert more of a watchdog role over county departments than Weisman, and the county attorney’s office, maintain she has the authority to do.

A recent citizen complaint about a county road paving program prompted Bock to launch a review of the county’s practices in order to “ensure the public’s confidence” in county government, according to a July 31 letter from the clerk’s office.

That drew a sharp rebuke from Weisman Tuesday, who maintained that the commission’s own auditor and the county’s audit committee should decide how to handle the matter.

County commissioners agreed and directed the committee to consider the concerns about the road program.

If Bock proceeds with her review, Weisman said his office will honor any records requests she makes, but that his staff will not go beyond that.

And if Bock proceeds anyway and produces an audit of the county road program? “Frankly, I’m not going to care what she says,” Weisman said at Tuesday’s commission meeting.

Bock said she does not plan to back off her watchdog efforts, but also isn’t looking for a legal showdown with the county.

As for the concerns about the county road-paving program, Bock said the important thing is that an audit is conducted – whether it’s done by her office or the commission’s auditor.

Offering a backhanded compliment, Bock said it was “refreshing” that county officials said they would consider conducting an audit of one of their departments. “I look at this extremely positively,” Bock said.

SunSentinel.com

Proposed inquiry into Palm Beach County road program inspires debate among commissioners

Posted in BCC Meetings, Newspapers on August 18th, 2009 by admin – 1 Comment

By JENNIFER SORENTRUE

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

WEST PALM BEACH — Palm Beach County’s internal auditing committee should conduct the review of a county road-paving program, not the county’s self-appointed financial watchdog, commissioners said this morning.

Clerk and Comptroller Sharon Bock’s office initiated a review of the program this month at the request of Commissioner Shelley Vana and a resident who wants a road paved west of Lake Worth.

But commissioners agreed this morning that the duty should fall on the county’s internal auditing committee.

“If somebody thinks something illegal has been done, it doesn’t belong in the clerk’s office,” Commissioner Karen Marcus said. “I think we are getting way off track. She can audit her departments. We need to do our own homework.”

The decision was the latest debate in the ongoing rivalry between Bock and county administrators.

This month, County Administrator Bob Weisman directed his staff not to cooperate with Bock’s review of the road program. County employees will fulfill public records requests on the issue, but that is all the help they will give unless the county commission or audit committee directs them to work with Bock’s staff, Weisman said.

It is unclear whether Bock’s office will continue with the review in light of the commission’s decision. A call for comment was not immediately returned.

The county’s internal auditor and audit committee, which includes a representative from the clerk’s office, had already been planning to review the road program before Vana and the resident made their requests.

Palm Beach post Article

Weisman-Bock feud hits impasse in Palm Beach County clerk’s road-money inquiry

Posted in BCC Meetings, Newspapers on August 18th, 2009 by admin – Be the first to comment

By JENNIFER SORENTRUE
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Thursday, August 06, 2009

WEST PALM BEACH — The long-heated rivalry between Palm Beach County Administrator Bob Weisman and financial watchdog Sharon Bock reached a boiling point today.

Weisman told Bock that his staff won’t cooperate with her office’s review of a county road-paving program.
Bock’s office initiated the review at the request of Commissioner Shelley Vana and a county resident.

“I don’t think anybody needs to do it,” Weisman said today. “I think this is almost a political audit, not a technical audit.”

Bock, the county’s elected clerk of the circuit court, added the word “comptroller” to her title shortly after winning the post in 2004. Since then, she has been at odds with Weisman and other county leaders over that role.

Weisman said his staff will fulfill public records requests on the issue, but that is all the help they will give unless the county commission or audit committee calls for the review.

“The fact that you would jump to do this without a formal request from the County Commission or Audit Committee again demonstrates why your office is not an objective party to serve in a broader auditing role than is currently authorized by law,” Weisman wrote in an e-mail to Bock.

In a statement released today, Bock said her office was only doing what it was asked to do.

“As the County’s Auditor, and a member of the Audit Committee, my office has an obligation to respond to Commissioner Vana’s request,” Bock said.

She added: “Because the issue brought forth by the complainant has remained unresolved for the past 16 months, Commissioner Vana and everyone on our audit team is committed to conducting a prompt and thorough review of the (road) program. This review can go a long way toward rebuilding the public’s trust during this time of unprecedented mistrust in government.”

County resident Andy Schaller, who initially called for the review, has been at odds with county managers for more than a year. Schaller wants the private road paved in front of a home he owns in the Palm Beach Ranchettes community suburban Lake Worth.

The commission has denied his request.

Until last year, a county program let residents vote to assess themselves 50 percent of the cost to pave the road. The county covered the remaining cost. But that program is out of money.

“This is strictly a citizen who had a problem with decisions,” Weisman said. “There is nothing about law or finance that it involves.”

Vana, chairwoman of the county’s audit committee, said she would ask the entire board to sign off on the review at the next meeting.

“If someone wants to find out and the clerk is willing to do it, why would we stop it?” Vana said. “I know there is a history that goes back, but it is a new day and we can trust each other to just do good government.”

View the letter to Clerk Bock requesting the MSTU audit
View Clerk’s MSTU Audit Letter to the BCC
View the Palm Beach Post story

Town Crier Letters to the Editor

Posted in Newspapers on August 9th, 2009 by admin – 5 Comments

From: Andy Schaller
To: The Town Crier
Subject: FW: Comm. Santamaria’s Letter
Date: Sun, 9 Aug 2009 11:17:53 -0400

This letter is in response to Commissioner Santamaria’s Letter To The Editor

Existing County Watchdog Challenged

I’m glad to see that Commissioner Santamaria supports a thorough inspection of County practices and procedures. His involvement and handling of a road paving project just east of 441 is a contributing factor in the County Clerk & Comptroller’s review of the County MSTU (Municipal Taxing Service Unit) program. The Clerk’s office notified the Board of County Commissioners and County Administration that a review of the road paving program would start immediately. County Administrator Bob Weisman told Clerk Bock that his staff won’t cooperate with her office’s review of a county road-paving program. If Mr. Weisman has nothing to hide there shouldn’t be a problem.

The County was preparing to start a road project that was going to adversely impact a private road. Notice of the paving project was sent out in March of 2008. In June of 2008, I approached Commissioner Santamaria for help with the county project that was about to start in his district. His initial reaction was that his focus was on helping the “forgotten” area of the far western communities. Since my area of concern was “in town” he wasn’t interested. After about ten minutes of conversation he personally offered me $10,000 from his own pocket to help pay for the road but that was it. Respectfully I declined that offer and another same offer made days later. Instead I asked him to do this the right way and handle it through the county the way it should be.

After about 16 months of working with the BCC, County Staff and neighborhood residents, Commissioner Santamaria made a motion to petition residents of the Palm Beach Ranchettes for paving Fargo Avenue. This motion was made and unanimously approved by the BCC at the June 2, 2009 meeting. Notice was then sent out to property owners in the Ranchettes and an opposition mounted. On July 7, 2009 the BCC unanimously reversed their June decision. Commissioner Santamaria was silent during most of the meeting, never once speaking in favor of his previous motion. After the meeting I asked him why he didn’t speak up to support the project he had been involved with for over one year. He said, “I wasn’t going to be a dead hero against 200 people.”

The next day Commissioner Santamaria wrote a memorandum to County Administrator Bob Weisman stating that he felt a big injustice was done. He also stated his intention to reimburse my expenses rather than to follow through with a positive conclusion to the original problem. This is when Politician Santamaria stated “It was about a year later that I realized that homeowners outside of Fargo Road were also considered to be assessed a portion of the cost.” He then sent letters and emails to property owners in an attempt to win back favor. The facts do not support Commissioner Santamaria’s claim.

During the July 22, 2008 BCC meeting, Commissioner Santamaria asked County Engineer George Webb what the cost would be to property owners. Mr. Webb responded and told everyone that 100 to 200 property owners would be assessed. During numerous personal meetings with Commissioner Santamaria and during several BCC meetings I stated this road was only 12 properties long. After the July 7, 2009 BCC meeting, memos between Commissioner Santamaria and Mr. Weisman attempted to recreate history to do damage control for Commissioner Santamaria’s public image. Despite my requests for Commissioner Santamaria to personally visit the road that was the center of the controversy prior to his June 2, 2009 motion, he declined. The entire history can be found at www.upinarms.net.

How can a commissioner tell a citizen he represents that his concern is not for that citizen’s area?
How can a commissioner support an idea for more than a year without ever visiting the area in question?
How can a commissioner deny his participation in public BCC meetings that are recorded and televised?
How can a commissioner fabricate history? Perhaps memory and recollection of facts are an issue.
How can a commissioner call for an investigation without looking into his own house?

The County Clerk feels there is justification in the review of the County activities on this issue. Hopefully Commissioner Santamaria will support the County’s existing watchdog with the same passion he has for creating a new watchdog.

Andy Schaller
Wellington

( All supporting documents can be found here: Palm Beach Post
Up In Arms Forum and here: Up In Arms )

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Letters To The Editor of the Town Crier

Independent ‘Inspector General’ Is Needed

Your editorial in last week’s issue (“Inspector General Is Needed, But Office Must Have Teeth”) is one of the most important that you have written. I am 200 percent in agreement. From the start to finish, your message hit the target’s bull’s-eye! Please allow me to repeat some of your key statements with occasional rephrasing:

(1) The only way the Palm Beach County government will ever regain the people’s trust is by strictly following the recommendations of the grand jury initiated by the state attorney, especially the creation of the Office of the Inspector General and an ethics commission.

(2) There may be some attempts to explain the often repeated “Corruption County” nickname given to Palm Beach County as merely a “perception.” How can this moniker be merely a perception, when the unmistakable “reality” is that, to date, three Palm Beach County commissioners, two West Palm Beach commissioners, one high-profile lawyer lobbyist, one professional planner and the husband of one of the commissioners have been proven guilty of corruption by our courts and given jail sentences? One of the commissioners, Mary McCarty herself, while admitting that she was in fact guilty and a hypocrite, stated “and it ain’t over,” insinuating that there may be others yet to be found guilty!

(3) It is not enough that we merely approve an Office of the Inspector General. As you so correctly stated, “the devil is in the details.” We must be absolutely certain that this position is 100-percent “independent.” Neither the Palm Beach County Commission nor the county staff’s office should have any say in the selection of the inspector general or the actual operation of that office. We must not allow any dilution of the objectives intended by the grand jury’s recommendations. On the contrary, we must ascertain that this process be completely airtight from any special interest influence, be it from the inside or the outside.

(4) Another statement that concerns me is “the Office of the Inspector General will cost too much; we can’t afford it with the current poor economy.” The fact is that, based on the proven corruption and waste we have experienced in the recent past, we cannot afford not to have an inspector general. As a matter of fact, since the creation of the Miami-Dade Inspector General’s office, millions of dollars have been saved each year by cutting down on corruption and waste, and improving efficiency.

(5) Once again, you so correctly stated, “If they [commissioners] have nothing to hide, there shouldn’t be any problem.” Yes, we do need an inspector general with “teeth” that will “bite” any and all government officials who break the law and their oath of office. It is time for “we the people” to stand up and prove that we will no longer tolerate “business as usual.” A truly independent inspector general will be an extremely important step in making sure that “crime does not pay!”

In conclusion, I agree that the only way to win back the public’s trust and repair the county’s severely damaged reputation is for the public to demand the creation of an independent inspector general and an ethics commission as prescribed by the recent grand jury with the active participation of the state attorney’s office.

Jess Santamaria, County Commissioner, District 6

Grand Jury report released

Posted in Documents, Newspapers on May 29th, 2009 by admin – Be the first to comment

It seems that the property owners in the Ranchettes are not the only people that have a problem with the way the County Engineering Department conducts day to day business.

Read the Palm Beach Post article

Read the entire Grand Jury Report

BCC Meeting 4-7-09

Posted in BCC Meetings, Newspapers on April 8th, 2009 by admin – Be the first to comment

Rural Palm Beach County residents to get a say in road paving
By JENNIFER SORENTRUE

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

WEST PALM BEACH — Palm Beach County traffic engineers will ask all 425 homeowners in the Palm Beach Ranchettes community whether they want to pay to pave the rest of the neighborhood’s dirt roads.

Several streets in the rural neighborhood west of Florida’s Turnpike and north of Lake Worth Road have already been paved.
Some residents on the remaining dirt roads say they want the county to pave their streets, too.

The commission was to consider today whether to move forward with the paving of sections of four streets in the neighborhood, but after hearing from more than a dozen residents the board voted to ask the entire community whether people want all their streets paved.

Under the plan, the community would pay the entire expense of the paving project, which County Engineer George Webb estimated could cost as much as $5 million.

Residents living on unpaved streets would each be assessed $7,500 for the project. That money would be applied to the price tag. The remaining cost would be divided among all 425 homeowners equally.

Those living along the community’s paved streets have already been assessed $7,500 for the roadwork in front of their homes.

And all of the community’s residents have paid to bring county water and sewer lines to the neighborhood.

In order for the paving project to move forward, 51 percent of the homeowners must sign off on the assessment.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/search/content/local_news/epaper/2009/04/07/0407roads.html