An opinion piece written by Michael Miller, Publisher, Community Newspapers
After holding office as Mayor of Palmetto Bay for the past two years, Mayor Karyn Cunningham’s Administration continues to reap the results of poor leadership.
She’s facing a projected $2.6 million deficit, chased out the Village Attorney, the Village Manager and the Village’s beloved Public Information Officer (PIO) – Kelly Craig. Cunningham has entertained reducing the Village’s police force and park security while supporting a highly unpopular 10-foot Mega-Sidewalk on 136th Street. She is staying silent on the Village declaring the 22-acre forest, adjacent to the Palmetto Bay Village Center, as a worthless piece of land, leaving it open to possible development and increased density.
After a tumultuous search for a new Village Manager, she’s led the way in hiring Nick Marano, from Nevada, where he did a stint as City Manager for Carson City between 2014-2018. He then left to become market president for a marijuana retailer called GTI. More on this soon.
If that weren’t enough, Mayor Cunningham is now working overtime to gain absolute power on the Council, which may very well be one of her most dangerous and counterproductive efforts to date.
She doesn’t want balance, nor counter views, nor her position on policies to be questioned, challenged, or opposed. That may be good for her, but is terrible for Palmetto Bay. But if that doesn’t send you “running for the hills”, we learned that she had to be taken to court this past week for failing to comply with the State’s public records laws by refusing a public records request made by a Village Councilmember, no less! What does that say about the rights of us “little people”? I mean, seriously, what is going on in Palmetto Bay?!
Mayor Cunningham is working vigorously to elect her friends, Leanne Tellam and Steve Cody, both of who lack any local governmental experience. But this “Inconvenient Truth” is of no consequence to Karyn.
This is not the real reason she recruited these candidates. She’s enlisted them so that she may have total and complete control over the Village Council. Quite frankly, all her actions or lack of them beg the question: Are we still living in the 21st Century, or have we gone back in time to the 16th Century’s “Age of Absolutism”?
Seriously, though, Palmetto Bay needs leaders who will put all residents’ interests before their own. Every resident needs the benefit of a diversity of opinions on the Council, independent thinkers that are not on the dais to serve the whims of one person, but instead serve the entire community. Karyn Cunningham may be a nice person, but her actions since she took over as Mayor has the feel of an authoritarian. She is unwilling to listen to her colleagues and worse – she is ignoring the will of the people.
Can Palmetto Bay afford to continue with an “off with their heads” mentality? Fortunately, you have a choice to decide to move forward or go back in time.
I say let’s move forward and don’t give in to her power grab. And, elect leaders that will keep her in check.
Michael may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 786-543-3872