I usually take weekends off from blogging, but there’s so much weird stuff going on today. Is there something in the water?
First I saw this strange note from the Office of Open Government.
Then this crazy story in the Citizen.
And now this in the KeyNoter about Roman Gastesi’s contract extension. Roman Gastesi, of course, is the county administrator.
Here are a few choice quotes from the article.
“I don’t think there is any other [Florida] county run as professionally as we are today,” Mayor Heather Carruthers said. “A tremendous amount of that goes to our administrator.”
Ha. I think most counties would disagree with that. A few short years ago Gastesi was censured by the International City/County Management Association for his role in the iPhone scandal. The vast majority of county administrators have not paid cash for heavily discounted iPhones stolen from their own governments. Carruthers’s statement is an affront to honest public servants every where.
It is also an affront to the many citizens in the Cudjoe Regional area who are unhappy with the way their sewer system was handled. It is most definitely an affront to Key Largo taxpayers who still unjustifiably pay more than anyone else in the unincorporated area because of the county’s grossly unfair funding policies.
“It comes down to: Do we trust our own judgment or three brand-new people who are brand new to office?” Commissioner David Rice said. Gastesi’s extension is “earned and deserved,” he said.
With all due respect to Comm. Rice, the BOCC should not trust their own judgement. They’ve made some disastrously negligent and unfair decisions over the years and they’ve done little to repair the damage caused by those decisions. They are clearly out of touch with reality, which means that problems will never be recognized or fixed. Bad is good. Down is up. Wrong is right.
At the very least, some new BOCC members might be able to break up the self-congratulatory circle jerk. A few honest rookie mistakes is a small price to pay if it means bringing responsible government to the Keys.
Comm. Kolhage was the only one to vote against the extension of the contract. He preferred to see a one year extension in case three new board members are elected next year. A one year extension would give the new board the opportunity to replace the county administrator without a large payout.
From Kolhage’s lips to God’s ears! That’s the dream scenario. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much chance of that happening at this point. We’re stuck with what we’ve got for the foreseeable future.
Here’s a quote from stubbornly truth-averse Comm. Murphy.
“If three new people were elected next August or September,” Commissioner Sylvia Murphy said, “they would be absolute fools to get rid of him.”
That, of course, depends on the BOCC’s objectives. We know by their track record that this BOCC supports unfair, irresponsible spending. Gastesi is really just a reflection of the BOCC. If the BOCC, by some miracle, was transformed into a responsible entity that takes its obligations to all taxpayers seriously, Gastesi would obediently follow along. If he didn’t, I’m sure he’d be shown the door regardless of the payout amount.
Robby Majeska, who is challenging Sylvia Murphy in the upcoming election, offered this very carefully-worded quote.
Key Largo resident Robby Majeska, so far the only declared challenger in the 2016 commission elections (Murphy’s seat), endorsed Gastesi in public comment. “Sometimes he’s a little bit irritating but he’s a great fit for the county,” Majeska said.
Yes, Gastesi really is a great fit for the county. In it’s current form anyway. That’s the problem!