Silence of The Lambs

By Guest writer, Jim Lloyd

The current town government administration, just as it’s predecessor did, maintains silence in the face of what many, after much research, believe are illegalities and questionable practices. This “silent” group includes the town manager, Maria Davis, commissioners Rumsey, Stevens, and mayor DuBois, the town lawyer Mr. Baird, and former commissioner Osterman.

Speaking of Ms. Osterman, she moved out of Lake Park near the end of last year, yet never admitted that she was serving illegally. The mayor at the time, the town manager, commissioner Rumsey, and the town lawyer never uttered a word about the situation. She collected her salary illegally for six months or so, and made some votes on key issues that otherwise might not have passed. She even seconded the questionable Inter-local agreement buying a parcel of ground valued at 735 thousand dollars for 2.4 MILLION! I feel the town needs to bill her for the salary she collected illegally and nullify all of the votes she cast as an illegal commissioner. She was finally forced to resign due to an investigation by the State Attorney’s Office. The entire situation has yet to be discussed by the commission or the town lawyer. There was even a discussion of giving her a plaque!

When the former mayor passed away suddenly at the end of April, the town code was very clear as to the procedures to be followed. Yet the law was ignored, no temporary mayor was appointed, and Mr. Rumsey served as vice-mayor-mayor completely outside of town law. The town lawyer even issued a mind-numbing memo explaining that he felt the code language was ambiguous. Again, everyone named above remained silent and went along with the farce.

When some citizens discovered last March that the town had applied for a grant to fund an up to that point very little publicized project at the Marina, many attended a commission meeting to plead that the commission table the grant application until more could be learned about the project. However, the town manager and the grant seeker had met with the potential grant organization that afternoon and learned that the town did not qualify for the grant. Yet they sat silently through the commission meeting that night and let the citizens plead their cases (to no avail.) And on.

During the recent municipal election, commissioners Osterman and Rumsey campaigned for the DuBois-Stevens ticket from the dais and Ms. Davis openly encouraged votes for that ticket. All this is expressly forbidden in the town code.

The town lawyer remained silent, apparently untroubled by it all. And recently, the town manager took it upon herself to inappropriately seize the largest boat in the marina, fearing the owners might ‘skip town” since they had won an RFP (Request For Proposal) in West Palm Beach for a dinner cruise venue. It was done without the knowledge or vote of the commission. When talk of a lawsuit resulted from her actions, she hired a law firm in West Palm Beach (even though the town has a lawyer), again on her own without consulting the commission. The cost to the town of these silent unilateral actions far exceeds what she’s permitted to do, yet they have not been discussed by any of the aforementioned group. What she has done at the marina may result in a major lawsuit, and if and when it does, the cost to the town could be money we simply do not have.

Does anyone see a pattern out there? This silence, this doing things behind the scenes… doing things regardless of what the law says, this in my opinion is Maria Davis’ M.O. She holds on to her absolute power and control by whatever means necessary. And her political cronies remain silent.