The tacit motives of Hallandale Beach, Commissioners, London and Lewy

The tacit motives of Hallandale Beach, Commissioners, Keith London and Alexander Lewy to erode the Council-Manager form of government in the city of Hallandale Beach Florida. They are also strong arming the Charter Review Committee in an effort to have them propose policies regressive to the council-manager form of government.

This page will be updated every few days

Hallandale Beach, Florida, Commissioners Keith London and Alexander Lewy are attempting to hijack the charter review committee. London is a power hungry elected official intent on dwindling down the Council-Manager form of government.
Currently, he is seeking through his charter review representative to alter the existing appointment structure of the City Clerk. Currently, the city clerk is appointed by and reports to the City Manager. Keith London believes the City Commission has more expertise at selection, recruitment and managing the position and therefore the elected officials should appoint and supervise the city clerk. He makes this comment without a single day of management, administrative and recruitment experience. This is not unusual for elected officials whose ego has blown out of control to believe they are an expert on every subject. Facts are, London has no idea how to manage an organization.
His past actions are emblematic of his strategic regressive behavioral strategy to erode the council-manager form of government.

The Truth

On July 18, 2011, newly elected Commissioner, Alexander Lewy, made a motion requesting staff be given authority to directly approach commissioners on issues when they believe their opinions were not adequately addressed by their director or the city manager.  The motion and action was taken without any supporting documentation and backup material provided by Commissioner Lewy. And of course Commissioner Keith London, made a motion to cut off debate, to support the motion. The motion passed with the help of Vice Mayor Sanders. Commissioner Dotty Ross and Mayor Joy Cooper voted against the measure to cut off debate in an effort to preserve the Council-Manager form of government. This is part of a continuing tacit effort by Commissioners London and Lewy to erode the form of government.

Even though the motion passed, there are two interesting issues pertaining to this item.

1- First, there was no item listed on the special meeting agenda in regards to altering the “Protocol Manual” which among other issues, illustrates the relationship between the legislative body and the staff. Robert’s Rules of Order generally dictate that action should not be taken without the matter appearing on a formal agenda. Appearance on the agenda prior to the special meeting would have provided commission members the ability to research the matter in order participate in an informed debate. Why Mayor Cooper would permit such an item to be addressed without forethought and during a special meeting dealing with the budget, is perplexing. There appears to be little rhyme or reason to the structure of meetings and a lack of orderly process.

2- The second issue, begs the question; was the action in violation of section 3.07 of the city code of ordinances? Paragraph three of section 3.07 of the code clearly addresses whom the Commission and how they communicate with the officers and employees of the city that are under the direction of the city manager. The section is quoted below.

(3)     Interference with administration. “Except for the purpose of inquiries and      investigations, the commission or its members shall deal with city officers and employees who are subject to the direction and supervision of the manager solely through the manager, and neither the commission nor its members shall give orders to any such officer or employee, either  publicly or privately. Nothing in the foregoing is to be construed to prohibit individual members of the commission from closely scrutinizing by questions and personal observations all aspects of the city government operations so as to obtain independent information to assist the members in the formulation of policies to be considered by the commission  and assure the implementation of such policies as have been adopted. It is the express intent of this provision, however, that such inquiry show not interfered directly with the ordinary municipal operations of the city and that recommendations for change or improvement in city government operations be made to and through the city manager.”

The provision of section 3.07 of the city code is commonplace within most council – manager forms of government, and this exact provision or a paraphrase thereof specially exists in most council – manager forms within the State of Florida.  When checking with a long term city Atty. within Broward County Florida, the individual desires to remain anonymous, stated the action by Commissioner Lewy, violates the code provision.

Prior to analyzing the motion made by commissioner Lewy, to the erode the council-manager form of government within Hallandale Beach, a brief history of the council-manager form and the logic for establishing a protocol manual.

In 1974, I was employed by the city of little rock Arkansas as a management analyst.  One of my first assignments was that of a the city protocol manual on commission-staff relations.  In brief manual provided guidelines and interpretations on the various issues regarding the legislative body and staff relationships.  The manual reduced conflicts and provided valuable information to newly elected officials.  Whenever a dilemma existed between the elected officials and the staff, the resolution was always added to the manual in order to prevent a future recurrence.
Under the council-manager form, typically all employees, save for the city attorney and his staff, theoretically work for the city manager.  In order to have proper information to make informed decisions, commissioners are generally permitted to ask staff questions but may not consume more than 15 minutes of an employee’s time.


The intent of section 3.07 has been interpreted on numerous occasions throughout the United States.  Let’s take a closer look at the provision and elaborate specifically as to why commissioner Lewy’s motion violates the provision. First, the provision notes, “the commission or its members shall deal with city officers and employees who are subject to the direction and supervision of the manager solely through the manager.” The section of the provision cited in the previous sentence, clearly prohibits the commission from dealing with employees, except through the city manager.  Therefore, Commissioner Lewy’s motion violates the city charter.







More to come.

R.J. Intindola