Why is Transparency important? An Example: Transparency prevents behind the scenes deals and protects residents from abuse - as once exposed, bad government acts are forced to be withdrawn. There would be no controversy forcing elected officials to change bad policy or bad acts if you never knew about them. See: Q: How much does it cost to leave your garbage can out in Palmetto Bay? A: $150. Palmetto Bay has gone mad (May 19, 2020). There would be no public outcry if there was no public knowledge of incidents such as the infamous $150 ticket for a garbage can left out. Picking on the little guy. Has the $150.00 ticket been withdrawn yet, can it be legally 'torn up' once issued?
Why do Palmetto Bay officials complain about transparency? Yet, we hear complaints about people making public records requests by the current elected officials and their supporters (horrors! – people wanting to know what is going on in their community, with their tax dollars - and it is the absolute right to have access). Do you want to know why? Information is being withheld as I explain below. And all is documented on the official website.
There would be far fewer public records requests if full transparency was restored to the Village website. I always made sure that the actual resolutions were posted within 30 days of passage as well as keeping the index updated. Policy and priorities change when there is a change in administrations. Your voice doesn't matter if the village fails to provide you with access to information to see how the government is, or is not, functioning. The online location of resolutions passed by the Village of Palmetto Bay remains. But it is being neglected by the current mayor and council. To review it would lead readers to believe that very little has happened over the last year, year and three months. Not that the reader would be wrong.
Serious neglect. The index has not been updated since July 29, 2019 (nearly 10 months ago). The last resolution indexed is dated July 29, 2019. (Resolution 2019-109):
A RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND VILLAGE COUNCIL OF
THE VILLAGE OF PALMETTO BAY, FLORIDA, RELATING TO
TRANSIT; URGING THE MIAMI-DADE COUNTY
TRANSPORTATION PLANNING ORGANIZATION TO STOP
EXPLORING ALL OTHER ALTERNATIVES IN SMART PLAN
CORRIDORS UNTIL ALL FUNDING OPTIONS FOR THE
CONSTRUCTION OF LIGHT RAIL AND/OR METRORAIL
(ONE-SEAT RIDE) ON THE EXISTING SOUTH DADE
TRANSITWAY ARE FULFILLED,
How did that resolution go by the way? This was yet another failed effort - a photo op resolution without follow up or success. The county (Miami-Dade TPO & Miami-Dade County government) is proceeding at full steam ahead with Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), so resolution 2019-109 had absolutely no effect. See prior related post of May 11, 2020, Update on the ‘Gold standard BRT”. A single qualified bid was received by Miami-Dade County for the BRT line along US1. The Final Bid is $326,172,000.00. What this means for Palmetto Bay. Renderings posted.
CLICK HERE to view the alleged list of resolutions passed by the village of Palmetto Bay. The resolutions were posted within 30 days under my administrations. However, the current Mayor apparently does not feel that public information or transparency is important.
Record setting procrastination – adversely affecting your rights to know. Would a teacher allow students to withhold their work for this long? I want see your work!. The answer should be that we can see it on the website, not you will see it if and when we feel it is necessary - and then take more than a year to post it.
What about the actual resolutions? After all, the index is just an index. The details are contained in the full resolution, not the heading. Are you sitting down? The last complete resolution posted dates back to February 4, 2019, resolution 2019-033. That is more than 15 months. It takes more than a year and 3 months to post the full resolutions? Well, we will see as there is no hint that any updates are actually set to be posted so the record setting official procrastination continues to run, setting new records by the day.
Why would the mayor not want the resolutions posted? The details are important. Headings fail to tell the full story. Fellow residents would see the long string of wasted time and unfulfilled promises that many of the legislation, resolutions and ordinances would reveal. At some point this mayor probably will release all resolutions in a big dump update, relying upon people not having the time or energy to review years’ worth of wasted council action.
Hide the actions that demonstrate that the council actions are not working. That appears to be the mantra of this current mayor.
The Tool Box for this topic:
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!
April 24, 2019, Tactical Transparency in Palmetto Bay - who is managing information, the elected officials or campaign consultants?
April 25, 2019, Palmetto Bay - Transparency - on sale to those who can afford it