Who’s Minding the Shop?

Guest blog written by John Mede

In light of recent events at Town Hall, the question begs “who’s minding the shop”? It appears given the sentiments of most of the Commission, change is in order and yet all that remains are the details. Regardless, it appears the end result will be the same and the town will find itself drifting as if it were a rudderless ship in need of direction. Was there a continuity plan in place that could be put into motion should such a situation present itself to Lake Park, regardless of circumstance? As unfortunate and disappointing as these circumstances are related to the Town Manager, Lake Park still must conduct its day to day operations, be vigilant more than ever with respect to fiscal responsibility, and decide what direction the pending and future projects progress with either minimal or amended inputs. So who’s leading? Whether we liked it or not, we knew who the go to person was if we wanted to send a message to the person in charge. Now what? Now who? When? Are we to sit back and wait for the Commission to reach a consensus to determine termination with or without cause or accept a resignation and negotiate severance? In the meantime, the train is traveling down the tracks on autopilot. The mayor indicated in his comments the he’s like a “Chairman of the Board” that has adopted a “wait and see” approach. Will time provide clarity to Mr. DuBois that which he has not been able to grasp what the public has weighed in on with respect to sentiment toward Commissioner Hockman’s “allegations” (that’s what Commissioner Stevens called them)? Vice Mayor Rumsey publicly called for the Town Manager to resign.

Time. It ‘s been said it is the “great healer”. In most circumstances that may be true. In this particular case it is not. Commissioner Stevens and Mayor DuBois want the Ethics Commission to do their heavy lifting for them. Commissioner Longtin stated the Commission has to “man up” and do the job the public has entrusted them to do-lead our town. Agreed. Blind allegiance is commendable in certain situations. Again, this is not one of them. Parental support of a child who commits an act that embarrasses the parents is understandable. However, we’re not dealing with a childish act. There’s no joy in any of this mess because that’s exactly what this is- a mess. For anyone on any side to say this is a good thing has some serious delusions. This has and is damaging our town. And if it damages our town, it damages the people in our town. Right now, Lake Park needs definitive leadership to step up and say this is how we are going to resolve this issue. Where does Lake Park find that definitive leadership? Google? Craigslist? Palm Beach Post Classifieds? I would hope it would come from within and the Commission would do what the citizens have entrusted in them and their responsibility. Look at the Lake Park Organizational Flow Chart in which it has the Citizens at the top and then the Commission. Underneath that is the Town Manager. Effective leadership would recognize the impending void and be proactive in devising a solution so as to minimize the down time and its further negative impacts on the Town.

Think of what the desired goal is for our leaders. To have a vibrant, safe, respectable community in which we live, work and play. Now let’s ask ourselves how have we as a community helped facilitate that type of environment? Recent Town activities have been splashed across the Palm Beach Post headlines in which Lake Park has not been cast in the most favorable light. If someone was contemplating moving into a residence or opening a business in Lake Park and picked up the paper and saw those articles, what opinion would they form? Would that opinion be accurate? Those of us that live in Lake Park, remember we chose to live in Lake Park. I would hope it was voluntary and you weighed options to arrive at that choice. I did and I’m glad I did. I can’t say with 100 percent honesty I’m proud of my town. I’m not proud of how events have divided not only the Commission, staff, residents, and even onlookers. I want to be proud of how we handle adversity. Instead of resorting to street tactics why can’t calmer, more rational intellect prevail? I understand people are entitled to their opinions and have a right to express those opinions. In a recent article by Ms. Wagner, several comments were posted on the article that were offensive and disrespectful. I ask the people who posted those comments, is that the best you’ve got? Does name calling and mud slinging fill the emptiness you must have inside? If it does, you’ve got bigger issues to focus on for yourself rather than getting involved in something in which you bring nothing to offer. Sit back and let the adults handle it because you’re childish behavior serves no purpose and diminishes your credibility even if you could muster beneficial input.

This is a call to action. The Commission must step up and make the tough decision sooner than later. Head or gut? Either way we’re going to take a hit and it’s going to hurt but at least we will know that the Commission has the intestinal fortitude to do what is both difficult and necessary. If we take the hit to the gut, we know that it’ll hurt for a while and everytime we move, we may wince a bit as a reminder of the pain. If we take the hit to the head, the black eye would be a visual reminder. If we’re going to hurt, we might as well hurt for the right reason and take control of what we decide we want for our town. Time. It will be a great healer. We just need to decide when we want to start. Tick Tock… Tick Tock, Commission.