What Happened to the Strategic Planning Department?


How did we lose a whole dang department?

Update 3:  George Neugent isn’t the only county commissioner to have a run-in with the ethics commission.  Since this post was written, all five commissioners, including the “ever-so-proper” Danny Kolhage have been fined for ethics violations related to their financial disclosure forms.  While I certainly enjoy seeing Kolhage knocked off his high horse, I’d really love to see him knocked out of office.

Also updated to correct an embarrassing typo/math boo-boo.  Madok’s do-nothing job netted him $10,000 per page, not $40,000 per page.  Still a whole lot of money for nothing.

Update 2:  There’s a Strategic Planning survey at the county’s website.  Maybe the Strategic Planning Department will be revived?  I hope people take the survey and let the county know what they really think.  

Update:  Well, the Clerk’s office responded to my information request.  Here’s the latest go-round.  I also got a copy of the famous strategic plan.  It’s 40 pages long.  This is what Madok was working on for four years at $100k per year.  Ten pages per year, $10,000 per page.  If I made $10k per page, I’d be a billionaire by now.

End of updates.

Hey, remember when Kevin Madok was running against Ron Saunders for Monroe County Clerk?  Remember this exchange from Hometown Key West’s candidate forum?

Bill Becker asked Madok something I’ve been dying to know and added another  great question on top of that.  Not only did he ask Madok what he’s been doing for the last four years as the “Strategic Planning Director”, he also asked how Madok found time to campaign for the last year and a half.  Madok responded that he has spent the past four years drafting a strategic plan.  No, it’s not done.  It’s still in draft form.  But here’s the really “important” part.  Employee evaluations are now tied to this “strategic plan” (which is still in draft form).  Mmmmkay.  Madok says he manages to work his “busy”full-time job and campaign at the same time by “always working” and “burning the candle at both ends”.

Apparently the county commissioners required a performance-based pay plan and so they added the $104,000 “Strategic Planning Director” position.  Ron Saunders pointed out the obvious.  There is nothing at the “Strategic Planning Department” website.  After four years, Madok has nothing to share with the public.  There’s supposedly a draft “strategic plan” but there’s no link to it.  Madok took pot shots at Saunders because the Clerk’s office had not implemented online access to court documents.  Yet Madok has been unable, in four years, to add content to a single web page.

Well four years and $400,000 later, the Strategic Planning Department has now disappeared altogether.  How very strange.

Remember when Ron Saunders touted his independence from the BOCC as an asset to the taxpayers?

“Madok has worked for the county, and it’s a conflict of interest,” Saunders alleged, since one of the clerk’s responsibilities is to audit the county. “I’m an independent watchdog.”

Well, that comment put a gigantic boo-boo on Madok’s feelings.

“That was an attack on my integrity,” Madok responded. He explained that he is loyal to the county in his current role, but if elected, he’d be loyal to the taxpayers.

I think Saunders politely understated the severity of Madok’s conflict of interest.  You see, Madok’s $104,000 “job” at the county was created when he lost the Clerk’s race to Heavilin in 2012.  The BOCC suddenly decided they needed a “strategic plan” to peg employee performance to county goals.  So how did that work out?

  1.  The county administrator is known on this blog as the iPhone Bandit.  He’s the Key West Citizen’s idea of a “sewer expert“.  Anyhow, the iPhone Bandit presided over the county’s failed wastewater projects.  And now he’s pushing a $700 million canal restoration project.  Yet, the BOCC thought his performance was worthy of a contract extension.
  2. The county’s stated land development and planning goals include providing for affordable workforce housing and preserving public access to the water.  And yet a 175-room hotel located at a former marina, sailed through the planning process without a word from the BOCC.  That is, until the matter was exposed by the Blue Paper.  The BOCC has refused to investigate how this happened.  They pretended they were “hoodwinked” and closed a “loophole” that never actually existed.
  3. The worst offenders on the county commission like to pretend that financial responsibility is an important objective of theirs.  And yet, capital projects consistently exceed budgeted amounts.  Often by a lot!  I think Bernstein Park takes the cake percentage-wise.  That project started out at $3 million.  It now costs $8 million.  Almost 270% over budget.

There’s a huge disconnect between the county’s stated goals and what they actually manage to achieve.  One has to ask, what are the real objectives here?  Based on the outcomes here’s what it looks like the BOCC really wants to achieve…

  1.  Squander as much money as possible on capital projects with little to show for it.
  2. Allow certain development projects to slide through the planning process despite the fact that they don’t meet stated county standards.

So let’s circle back to the topic at hand:  the now defunct Strategic Planning Department.  Madok denies that the department and the salary that went with it was manufactured exclusively for his benefit.  And yet…

  1.  It poofed into existence right after he lost the 2012 Clerk’s race, and poofed out of existence right after he won the 2016 Clerk’s race.
  2. It was created for one purpose which was never achieved – that was to peg the performance of county personnel with county objectives.  Yet, the county routinely fails to meet its stated objectives and employees are rewarded anyway.  By the way, there’s no sign of this strategic plan on the county’s website – never has been.

Bottom line – citizens need to keep a close eye on the Clerk’s office.  I submitted a public records request for that “strategic plan” and resolution 158-2015, which has to do with the Ocean’s Edge project.  I can’t share that request with you because it’s one of those contact forms and I hit “submit” before taking a screen shot.  But I did also notify the county attorney of my request.  Here’s a link to that email.

I’m sure I will receive a swift, efficient and professional respo…HAHAHA…sorry, I could not complete that sentence without laughing.

This entry was posted in Bubba System, Clerk of Court, Conflict of Interest, Elections, Monroe County, Public Records. Bookmark the permalink.

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