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The Hallandale Beach Papers


E-mail to Hallandale Beach City Commission

Had I been told in advance that four commissioners would not even consider my proposal, I would have been greatly disappointed. However, dragging me through your miry sham altered my mood to somewhat contentious. The rationale provided by four commissioners was devoid of any comments relative to the proposal content. In that regard, the proposal and presentation had no significance as you had preconceived opinions. You asked no substantive questions or comments. Three of you stated it was due to my perceived inability to be impartial and one noted it was because of the potential comments within the blogs. Ironically, I was always considered impartial during my tenure and performance as city manager. Now that I am more distant from the organization, a climate of partiality suddenly permeates the air.

You in effect, completely wasted six days of my valuable time. Four days were expended to prepare the proposal and two for travel. I deferred a four-day project and therefore lost income for those days. Your “Joy Cooper rush rush without proper due diligence modus operandi,” to solicit proposals did not permit staff time to vet the consultants. Normally, request for proposals are fifteen to twenty days or longer and actual presentations may occur up to six weeks later, permitting the staff an opportunity to seek references and investigate. That is most likely the rationale the third consultant did not appearing for the presentation.

I checked with six cities and found two worthy of contact regarding the consultant who selected. These include, South Miami and Pompano Beach Florida.


City auditors don’t enhance transparency. The legislative body and city manager create an air of transparency within the organization and to the public. Both are essential for openness. While the City of Pembroke Pines is contemplating the installation of an internal auditor that would report to the city commission, other cities such as Fort Lauderdale have very successful audit programs that report to the city manager. Joy Cooper thinks she is a strong mayor and wants to continue her controlling methodology and the resulting revelation; was the invention of a referendum under the guise of transparency and protecting the public interest. Do you sincerely think an auditor who reports to the commission will be permitted to actually present information detrimental to the city’s image?

Additionally, the cost of $150,000 to fund the office is unrealistic. First, the auditor will need an additional employee to type reports and answer the phone. Although simply a guess, this figure could easily be approximately $80,000. Throw in an additional $20,000 for office supplies, computers and other equipment and the program could easily reach and cost the taxpayers a quarter of million dollars each year.

While city manager, I conducted numerous audits which were typically led by Mark Antonio. We frequently audited cell phone bills, certain types of expenditures, travel, and conducted numerous types of analyses of various categories of expenditures. This may be possibly an assumption on my part, but I would gather that Mark Antonio or another manager will also conduct his own audits. Therefore, a question arises with the Joy Cooper concept of the auditor reporting to the commission; will this preclude the city manager from conducting their own audits even if they compete with the commission auditor or if the manager believes the commission is spinning the wheels in the wrong direction?

Furthermore, positions that are employed under sunset provisions are effected by numerous adverse conditions. I will only allude to one herein which is the most serious. Creating a sunset provision will reduce the number and quality of applicants. Professional applicants are typically not seeking short-term employment that has a definitive ending date. Should an applicant accept the position under a sunset provision, they would undoubtedly seek other employment before the sun sets. For the sake of discussion, let’s say an applicant remains employed for a year and seven months, and then leaves the organization. Can you imagine the applicant pool for a position that will essentially lose funding in less than a year and a half? If the commission is desirous of extending the sunset provision, then a second referendum will be required. Logistically, the path you are currently traveling, will end in a nightmare.

Lastly, auditors that investigate financial operating matters are typically specialists. A city employed auditor will not be capable of conducting an operations audit of the department of public works, unless the individual has experience within the functions and operations of the department. In other words, one has to understand the operations and functions before they can logically conduct an audit. You cannot send anyone in to conduct an analysis of sanitation routes without prior routing experience.

Instead, the more diligent approach would be to hire an external auditor who specializes and has prior experience for the projects of commission interest. These fees may range, as I’m sure you are aware, from $40,000-$200,000 per audit, but the commission can spread the projects over a multi-year program. Utilizing this methodology- will not require a quarter million dollar annual expenditure and the program can be aborted, reduced or intensified based on time related need. Consider long-range flexibility instead of solving what may be a short range (term) problem.

The commission may first determine a list of audit projects for an external auditor. You should next prioritize the list then seek proposals. The auditors should submit a comprehensive proposal and the cost for all projects and for each one separately. This way, the commission can pick and choose based on costs and need. Each auditor must be required to provide a list of references where they have performed similar categorical audits in the past. Make sure you have a commitment for specific individuals that will perform the audit and that the proposals include resumes. They often include resumes of certain staff that meliorates the quality of the proposal with no real intention of actually providing the noted staff.

The not so final other suggestions and comments:

1. Consolidate the department of public works and utilities under the leadership of one director. There is a potential saving herein of over $150,000.

2. Change the city code of ordinances so, as in the past, the purchase or sale of real property must be approved by the city commission. No city manager should have this authority. Expediency to make deals is not a rationale to avoid commission approval and public notification. I would have never accepted this authority. Public notification protects not only the city and commission, but also the manager.

3. Consider not opening a public facility on North Beach and instead seeking proposals to establish a restaurant wherein the city can gain revenues. We are in a recession and new facilities require additional staffing, supplies and equipment and the cost of utilities. At one time, the current owners of the Diplomat inquired about constructing a tiki bar on Hallandale Beach. Possibly they would still be interested and, if I recall correctly, the projected revenues to the city were substantial. The current owners of the Hallandale concession facilities may also be interested. Whatever route you undertake, first understand the cost when entering into a new project or program. In other words, has anyone determined the cost of opening and maintaining the North Beach facility? After all, the building has been sitting there for over three years.

If you intend on not staffing the facility but simply earning rental income, I would still conduct a cost analysis to determine cost-benefit.

4. Eliminate, or at the least, reduce the weekly mayoral propaganda report in the Sun Times. This cost the taxpayers approximately $50,000 a year and is unnecessary. Additionally, why does the city not receive reduced rates for multiple submissions? Check the rates of any newspaper or magazine and you will determine substantial savings for multiple submissions. As a matter of information, the Hallandale Digest permitted the city to include articles at no cost. Lastly, why are other commission members not taking turns writing city updates in the paper? In the past, all commissioners took a turn but now it appears we have turned into a strong mayor form of government. If you are going to continue, then I suggest all commissioners be permitted to participate. The council-manager form of government is predicated upon the “unity of powers theory”. The power is vested within the entire commission, and not a single member. When commissioners act independently, they create “checks and balances”.

As a matter of record, funds budgeted for the weekly mayoral propaganda report are funded within three separate account categories, including–advertising, miscellaneous services, and contingencies. Budgeting funds in three separate categories for a single purpose–creates the illusion of deception. I suggest you choose “advertising” and budget all of the funds into that account code.

And remember; don’t let Joy Cooper bully the commission. The mayor has no more power than any other Commissioner.

Thanks to City Manager Mark Antonio for giving the city a major boost in transparency, by producing the monthly invoice report. In October, 2002, Joy Cooper made a motion to eliminate this and other monthly reports.  “An open government is a more respected government.” R.J. Intindola

Respectfully Submitted: RJ Intindola

I can be contacted at: http://cmrji.com/

Or email:OnePublicManagement@cmrji.com

August 6, 2010

Another Joy Cooper lie: this time as it relates to red light cameras.   Lies-Lies-Lies