Monday, January 7, 2019

Eroding Transparency gains in Palmetto Bay. 3 voted yes in 2017, but new council, new rules, new goals for 2019. Where is Elvis Costello when you need him most in this dark time for transparency roll back in Palmetto Bay!

Council member David Singer has fought hard to increase transparency. It would be tragic to repeal a simply procedural device to provide full transparency. 

And shame on this council for calling transparency “burdensome and time-consuming” (agenda item 10B, page 1 of agenda item, lines 21-23). 

I want to preface this post with the disclosure that 'the memo system' was not plucked out of the air by councilman Singer.  Numerous municipalities in Miami-Dade County use the memo system very effectively. 

But here it is 2019 and this council appears to be hard at work to return to the period of 2010-2014 (or is it 1984)?

3 of the 5 current council members
voted "YES" to Resolution 2017-126
The goal? Agenda Item 10B (sponsored by Mayor Cunninghan and Councilmember Matson) seeks to repeal Palmetto Bay Resolution 2017-126 requiring that Councilmembers submit memorandum proposing certain action by the Village Council for review by the Village Council prior to such proposed action being drafted in legal form by the Village staff and other procedures .... (and note, Resolution 2017-126 passed unanimously, 5 - 0.)

Want irony? 
Irony Point 1. Agenda Item 10B is 'rushed" to this council agenda without itself having to undergo the so-called  is no written memorandum at a prior meeting, preceding this agenda item. The resolution fails to follow the very procedure that they seek to repeal!
Irony Point 2. There is no staff report, no council report. Just a resolution and the exhibit. Is this the level (or lack) of "transparency" we can expect on future agendas, future council action?
Irony Point 3.  The present council has 3 members who voted to approve resolution 2017-126. Will we see some serious flip-flopping on votes originally made between 2014 to present?

What was once old is new once again.  Elvis Costello released his hit in 1979, asking “What's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding”. Now, in 2019, Palmetto Bay residents must ask themselves, “What's so funny 'bout transparency"?  Why, why, must this council reel back from a simple process that does not impede, but to the contrary, provides notice and reason, attaches accountability and responsibility, to legislation that a member of the village council wants to pursue?

What’s the hurry???? To quote Elvis Costello:

As I walk through
This wicked world
Searchin' for light in the darkness of insanity
I ask myself
Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?
And each time I feel like this inside
There's one thing I wanna know:
What's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding? Ohhhh
What's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding?

Issue, also known as the apparent burden - here is what the offending procedure requires of a member of the Village Council: 
“A council member may make a request for the preparation of policy, legislation or action by the village manager or village attorney under this section of the agenda. A signed written memorandum or form provided for this purposes shall state the purpose of the item or action, the major points to be covered, the reasons why action is necessary, and the action desired by the council member.”

Is this too hard, or does this shine the light of transparency far too brightly on the proposed actions of the village council? Does this provide too much notice to the public and provide too much accountability? Say it ain’t so!

Will 2019 mark the beginning of transparency gains being eroded, not taken, away from our residents?

And as I walked on
Through troubled times
My spirit gets so downhearted sometimes
So where are the strong
And who are the trusted?
And where is the harmony?
Sweet harmony

The memorandums do provide great detail of the “what” and “why”. The memos provide detail, substance of what is being offered. They assist the reader, concerned residents, with real background. I looked it up substance; it is not defined as “burdensome and time-consuming”. 

Seriously fellow residents, where has this simple procedure, a mere one meeting period that provides additional notice – a single meeting - been “burdensome and time-consuming”?  This transparency encumbrance serves to provide substance visible to our fellow residents. There should be a compelling reason to pull back from this effort at increasing transparency. However, it appears that this council wants to place a curtain between their actions and the public.

So where are we going? Reeling back in on transparency? Reducing notice from 37 to a mere 7 days? Elvis – this could be a great song for you to write in 2019!:

So where are the strong?
And who are the trusted?
And where is the harmony?
Sweet harmony
'Cause each time I feel it slippin' away, just makes me wanna cry
  *  *  *
Just tweak some lyrics for Palmetto Bay 2019:

What's so funny 'bout accountability and transparency? Ohhhh
What's so funny 'bout accountability and transparency 

No comments:

Post a Comment