Who’s packing at City Hall

By Michael Miller….

Don’t flip out or start chanting, “It’s my constitutional right to bear arms!” This is about the right for each of us to know who at city hall, if anyone, is carrying a gun. (Besides, law enforcement, of course.)

I started thinking about this after being told that at least one elected official has recently obtained a gun permit and is toting the weapon around “like a lollipop.” Quite frankly, I started wondering how many elected officials just might have permits.

There are different types of weapon permits, including those that allow you to carry a weapon around with you while you’re shopping or dining or jogging or while you’re at city hall. Oops, Did I say that? Now, I’m not implying that there just might be some gun totin’ folks there, because that’s just a no-no. Maybe it’s a good idea, though, if the staff, elected officials and visitors were reminded about the laws surrounding carrying guns into city hall.

Just for grins, I’d just love to hear each of the elected officials and others up on the dais tell us if any of them are gun totin’ Americans.

Pull up a chair and stay awhile…

I hear that acting city manager, Randy Witt, has managed to rise the ‘ire of a couple of commissioners and he may soon go the way of the last couple of managers. And just for fun, let’s review how many managers ‘have gone that way’ since 2004 or so: Charles Scurr, Marie Davis, Yvonne McKinley, Ajibola Balogun, Roger Carlton, and now…Randy Witt?

P.S. The last city manager, Roger Carlton, lasted around seven months or so, so I just wonder how long this manager, Randy Witt, will be there. One of the things that is getting abundantly clear is that the all too often departures, firings and terminations of the city managers in South Miami has less to do with the quality of the managers, and more to do with their bosses. So, folks, should we start singing so long, good bye, Hasta La Vista, Khodaa haafez, Bis dann, Ciao, Yasou and ‘see you later alligator’ to acting city manager, Randy Witt? Or, will “The General,” as he is so often called, be able to wade through the constant milieu of minutia, back stabbing and other political nonsense and keep his job for a while?

I often wonder if one of the reasons that this city goes through city managers, like BP goes through oil from the Gulf, is that the powers to be don’t want a manager to know too much or have too much power… Hmmmm.

I can’t help but wonder if this commission is going to point out how many managers it goes through and then use that as a platform to change the form of government from a city manager type to a strong mayor type. Golly, I can’t believe I said that! And as of late this commission wants to have control over department heads. Who would have ever guessed that the power grab is now on… So, can ya’ see it now? A gun toting, egoless, shoot out on Sunset Drive and a “strong” mayor making well over $100,000 a year running our little tiny town. Now, if I was a betting man, I would bet on the w Wacko Jackos reducing the power of the city manager’s position and increasing the power of the commission. .And maybe they’ll even vote in a pay raise for themselves, you know for all the hard work they will be doing keeping the city in tip top shape.

Back to the business at hand… I count around SIX managers since around 2004 or so, and four of them, so far, went on to be successful city managers in other communities: Scurr in Palmetto Bay, Davis in a city in Palm Beach County, McKinley in Doral, Balogun in a town in Broward County. Roger Carlton has only been gone two months and what is he doing? Well, he is on the cusp of suing the city and as most know Balogun has already sued the city and with a $300,000 plus settlement figure floating around it is bound to be the just another way, that this commission and past ones as well have shown their disregard for taxpayers money.

Oh, and let’s see, the city paid one city manager, Yvonne McKinley well over $100,000 to leave some 90 days or so, before the end of her agreement. Ya’ know, if the city had waited, it wouldn’t have had to pay out the bucks. But what the heck, it ain’t their money.

And speaking of big bucks…

This commission has been going after Mark Richman. You know Mark. He’s the guy who transformed South Miami by building the City Parking Garage along with some great restaurants that created a great nightlife right here in the City of Pleasant Living.

So, how are they going after him? I’ve been told that the powers that be are trying to undo his long term contract with the city by claiming the bonds and subsequent financing were improper and should not have been done. Therefore, their deal with Mark would be invalid and the city just might get the parking Garage.

That’s the essence of this,” take no prisoners” attitude in South Miami… “Even if the city screwed up, we don’t care, we’re going to take you down.”

The city also went after South Miami Hospital years after it issued permits to build an “engineer room” in the hospital’s parking garage. It turns out that the city screwed up and should have not let them make it the size that they asked for.But the Hospital did everything right, ya know permits, plans, inspections and got the final Ok from the city. Years later, the city tried to do to the hospital what BP is going to do to some of those poor fisherman and tried to make the hospital pay big bucks for the city’s own mistake.

Two sources have told me that the city wanted in excess of $150,000 a year! What? Yup, and interesting enough, that figure is conveniently close to the $150,000+ that the hospital already gives to the city each year as a donation. Golly, some squeeze play by the city.

I’ll just betcha’ if the city attorney looks back into the history books, he’ll find that the donation that the hospital has been the giving to the city has not been properly allocated for years and years. And might even be grounds for the hospital to renege on their donation.

Two sources have told me that someone recently went dumpster diving at city hall and retrieved what she thought were original public documents. Apparently not knowing that the papers were copies, she went to city officials with her BIG CATCH, claiming that “public documents were being thrown out” and then was saddened to found out that they were just copies. So, Mr. City Manager and Police Chief, are there any rules, policies, ordinances or laws concerning dumpster diving and the removal of trash from City Hall?

Thought of the week: Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action. — George Washington

Got any tips? Contact me at 305-669- 7355, ext. 249, or send emails to michael@communitynewspapers.com.

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About the Author

Michael Miller
Michael co-owns Community Newspapers with his brother Grant and serves as Executive Editor of the group of newspapers. He enjoys writing about local politics and area businesses. Michael can be reached at michael@communitynewspapers.com

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