Is David Singer an angel or the devil, public watchdog or gadfly? It depends upon which side you are on.
Opinions differ on Singer, one of Palmetto Bay’s most outspoken residents. This is not the lawyer David Singer, but rest assured that the light is on late at night at his home as he works to raise the attention of his fellow residents as to what he thinks needs improvement in Palmetto Bay. Many people are taking notice, both those who want to know more about the inner workings of this current village administration as well as the insider elites who resent the spotlight being put on some of the more controversial, but not well known, goings on.
On substance, it is not just Singer; others, and even village department directors, have sounded the alarm that the finances of the village need to change. The statements include estimates that within five years Palmetto Bay will have no reserves and will be forced to raise taxes and cut services. The question is whether Mayor Shelley Stanczyk and the council are being realistic and will actually listen to those like Singer and the department heads, who are making the case that right now is the right time to face facts and plan for fiscally responsible change.
Singer is clear that he had raised issues with the prior mayor, Eugene Flinn, communicating with him on issues of concern. Singer has found himself getting involved now due to both the utter disarray that he now sees at current council meetings and in public process such as charter or budget issues as well as the obvious lack of respect toward opposing viewpoints and their speakers by current Mayor Stanczyk.
He longs for a return to a civilized council where reasonable people can express their disagreements without being so disagreeable. Singer is correct, no one should have to speak so loudly to be heard; all opinions should be respected.
Singer is an angel to those concerned about the direction of Palmetto Bay government, the current spend down of financial reserves that were hard fought and stored away by the first mayor and council as well as those who would like to speak but fear getting heckled by the mayor’s back of the council gang.Singer is clear that he will not be pushed aside, that he dislikes bullying and push back from those who should be listening and respectful only makes him push harder.
“I am a lifelong resident of this area. I attended Coral Reef Elementary, Palmetto Middle (Southwood was not yet built) and Palmetto High School.I am fully invested in seeing the area I grew up in remain an excellent place to raise my family,” Singer said.
He did leave briefly, having attended the Florida State University where he obtained a marketing degree and later also attended the University of Miami earning his CPA certificate. He has earned two degrees and is a licensed CPA and worked in public accounting for eight years. Singer is currently CEO and CFO of Berkowitz Development Group and is responsible for all of the accounting, financial and day-to-day operations.
He is familiar with running large corporations and budgets in the tens of millions of dollars. Loss control and preventing escalation of budgets are within Singer’s responsibilities. Responsibilities also have included a national public accounting firm which specialized in the real estate industry, providing him with five-plus years that included the engagement of real estate audits, the preparation of tax returns and real estate feasibility studies.
This is a critical budget. Staff is increasing as are costs and there seems to be little if any attention to cost controls. It disturbs many that this current budget was not given the focus it deserved at first reading on Sept. 10, and instead it was lumped into a huge meeting that included a very controversial discussion on the Palmer Trinity School settlement. It was almost as if the mayor and council as trying to distract attention away from the budget.
Singer’s peers have taken notice of his work and in February of 2010, he was nominated by the South Florida Business Journal as a finalist for the CFO of the year. He also has served on the Florida State University Real Estate School Board of Directors as well as on numerous condo association boards.
Peers have recognized Singer’s expertise and contributions to the business community. Perhaps it is time for Mayor Stanczyk and company to begin to recognize that there other qualified opinions out in the public such as Singer’s, who should be listened to and carefully considered in reaching village decisions, rather than summarily dismissed and vilified.