The Embarrassment Known as Town Government
~ Written by Jim Lloyd ~
The embarrassment known as the town government of Lake Park had their meetings this past Wednesday night. They continue (as former town manager Maria Davis wished) to hold the CRA meeting and the Commission meeting on the same night. This was designed (in my opinion) to limit public attendance at these meetings because what normal, healthy person can sit in those folding chairs for FIVE OR MORE HOURS ??? Not me.
Now we’re down to it. Why do these meetings drag on so long?! Because they’re allowed to. The mayor has NO idea regarding Robert’s Rules of Order. This is an outline of Parliamentary Procedure. The basic premiss of this rule book is the denial of dialogue. Dialogue tends to confuse issues and take lots and lots of time. These endless meetings are allowed to ramble on and around the point with no one person having the floor to make a precise point on which there is specific discussion followed by a vote.
These meetings have become an agony to me. I’ve run many meetings over the years, as many of us have. And we all know that they must be run…not just allowed to happen. OK, so let’s move on. One of the overall amazements in the CRA meeting continues to be that CWA just keeps getting these amazingly expensive landscaping contracts approved, (in my opinion.) People including decision making staff for the town maintain a straight face while explaining that special mowers and special training are required to cut the grass. Look, I’ve cut millions of acres of grass in my life. There are reel mowers and rotary mowers. All of the better ones are adjustable. (Up and down.) If it’s some special St. Augustine breed or a Bermuda special semi putting green, if your blade is sharp and you remain awake, the grass will be cut and look great. But we apparently have such special conditions at the Marina (costing each taxpayer in this town well over $300,000 per year just to keep it open) that we need a private mowing contractor ( at $37,000 per year) to cut just the marina’s grass. Oh, by the way, did I mention that this same contractor has enjoyed for as many years as the former town manager Maria Davis called the shots, a nearly $90,000 yearly contract just to cut the grass and trim the trees along a few blocks of the heavily traveled main retail vein of the town, Park Ave.? (Ninety grand?)
It is just too difficult to watch. So I took a break, this being a full moon night, to go out on the patio and bask in the rays of August’s first full moon. There will be two this month. That means that the second one at month’s end will be a Blue Moon.
Photo: Courtesty of Jim Lloyd and his i-phone
When I regained the TV, they at last had moved on to the commission meeting. And the frustration began anew. The meeting was allowed to happen. Dialog everywhere. No order. Confusion reigned. At one point, a motion had been made, and before a second to that motion, discussion led to the mayor asking for a motion on the current topic of conversation! And whenever a vote involved the town paying out $$$$, isn’t it a curiosity that the three ALWAYS VOTE TOGETHER to spend our money. It’s not the town’s money. The town hasn’t a single dime. Washington (wouldn’t George be ashamed?) DC hasn’t a single dime. IT’S OUR MONEY THEY’RE SPENDING!! And so the town government isn’t. It’s the much discussed and coordinated efforts of the three to spend our money that every two weeks puts my brain into a head-spin.
Let me close by making the only logical point possible at this time. Things must change. The spending of OUR MONEY must stop. Locally and nationally. Or this republic will go the way of Rome. We need more than 400 voters out of 9,000 citizens. And we need COMMON SENSE. Common sense on the STREET WHERE WE LIVE!