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Money Wasted

Lake Worth Utilities
Waste Meter
$50,000
... for an arc flash study that Mr. Reyes was qualified to do in house and at no cost to taxpayers.
$200,000
... the estimated engineering cost of the express feeder which could also be done in house at no cost to taxpayers.
$591,898
... wasted when insurance requirements were circumvented by the city manager and utility director.
$123,098
... wasted when plant manager Dave Mulvay’s first attempt at writing a scope of work contained a defect that cost taxpayers an extra $123,098 for tainting the bidding process and giving unfair advantage to one bidder over another. - April 2009
$64,000
... wasted when the Matrix organizational study to save taxpayers money was scrapped in favor of higher cost outsourcing by city manager Stanton.
$450,000
... wasted engineering design cost of water piping and tanks (original county water deal) that will never be built.
$59,975
... wasted when additional costs were incurred for not following insurance procedure on transformer repair.
$82,620
... wasted when the commission unanimously voted to order transformers when we had equivalent replacements already in stock since the upgrade. - 15 Sep. 2009
Total Taxpayer Dollars Wasted:
$1,621,591
 
 

 
 
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  Lake Worth Local Government >> Lake Worth: HOW TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM - by William Coakley

A = pro development (if you will) and B = anti development or put another way A = Pave and B = Cave. "C" in this case = chaos so that, A + B = C; unless we add in the "P" factor (P=public) as a stability constant we will always have chaos. Adding "P" yields:

A + B + P = PEACE, Stability, Community...

So it doesn't make any difference whether you are part of A or B; you're part of the problem and for candidates it's nearly impossible to remain independent from either of those influences. Both groups have their agendas and have evolved to fill the representation gap left by the public. The only solution is to bring the public back into government by using Public Engagement Technology.

For government, this is all about being able to make a decision that doesn't immediately become opposed by A or B... hence creating what we have now, "Reactive government." We have no public relations other than a constant stream of putting out fires... nothing proactive.

It comes as no surprise to some, that neither A or B wants a system that they can't control. An equal playing field means their ability to influence just got nixed. So we shouldn't be surprised to find strong opposition to the PET system from most candidates since all the candidates except a few, are products of A or B which means "influenced by" A or B. That makes navigating the so called "debates" a little tricky no matter if you are A, B or P since the turn out is about 90% those who are just checking to see how their dog is doing in the fight. They are mostly insiders and fairly well connected even though they might tell you they aren't.

This election is for the heart of the city and yet neither A or B has any idea of what to do with it once they have control except to carry out the prime directive given to them by A or B. And of course, regardless of whether A or B takes over you still have the same chaotic dysfunctional equation... the system itself. As they say "garbage in; garbage out" and in Lake Worth that means:
Regardless of the candidate you choose, nothing much will change unless the stabilizing factor "P" is added. Candidates can have the best intentions, good vision, all the experience in the world and good problem solving ability, but if they don't know what the problem is... they are surely not going to able to fix it.

You're still putting them into the same equation with the same result. There might be some temporary improvement here and there but it would likely be followed by "more of the same" intrigue because putting good people into a lousy system that they don't know how to fix means you will be getting "more of the same" results.

Every candidate promises to listen, but they all have ended up not listening any differently than their predecessors and that's because YOU THE PUBLIC are not there. But then again, you can't be because if just 1% of you voters showed up, the room would be at double capacity. It tells you this has been a long term problem and its not just a problem for LW.

So when we hear all the great platitudes like, "I will listen to you," or "we need to work together," or "we need to come together to work for the good of the city..." know this: They have no way of listening to you any differently than their predecessors did.

So it's time to move ahead and bring government up to speed with some basic thirty year old technology to level the playing field between special interests and you. Who do you want your government listening to... you or special interest groups? It's you choice.

 
 
  (comments? | Score: 0)
Posted by admin on Monday, April 16, 2007 @ 22:34:35 EST
 
 

 
  Lake Worth Local Government >> Lake Worth: TIME FOR A CHANGE - by William Coakley

PROBLEM #1 = no rational process for arriving at a public consensus on anything.
PROBLEMS #2 thru infinity are the result of PROBLEM #1.
The impact of PROBLEM #1 = public distrust of government, a fragmented community, reactive government, and special interests controlling the city.

TIME FOR A CHANGE
________________________________________
For whatever reasons, and there are many, the greater public has long since disengaged from participating in local government. It’s not even certain that they ever were involved. Among the many contributing factors are: Not enough time, information not conveniently available, information often not easily understandable, meetings during dinner hours, small dingy commission meeting room, hours of time waiting for an agenda item to come up, last minute agenda items, railroaded decisions… the list is endless.

The near absence of public participation has left a ‘representation vacuum’ which has encouraged the growth of small factions who compete for influence and exert considerable effect on decisions and election outcomes. Without the stability and legitimacy added by a greater public participation, government is left to its own political devices. Any decision can be challenged on the basis that ‘it wasn’t what the public wanted…’ and that allegation could be right but we never know for sure. Either way, the possibility of a greater public consensus is not planned for or accommodated in any way. The argument is always the same “…they [the public] just aren’t interested or they’d be here.” With that, the problem is dismissed and power ends up concentrated in five people elected by a very small percentage of voters …a recipe for corruption.

In effect, the greater public is never engaged in an open and transparent decision process that either encourages participation in Lake Worth government or inspires confidence in its operation. And the negative reactions from opposing factions are the consequence of poorly thought out procedure and process …and less as an objection to the issue. With all of this, government becomes more reactive and less stable as decisions made with little public consensus are met with heavy opposition. The entire city atmosphere is poisoned with contention and continues to fragment and polarize the community…causing Lake Worth to have a less than favorable standing in the greater Palm Beach area.

When flawed process and procedure prevail and factions compete for influence; negative reactions cause government to become more reactive, more divisive, less proactive, creating more disunity, because each faction can always claim that the greater majority didn’t agree with a decision; which then gives justification to oppose a decision. And to complete the vicious cycle… this whole dysfunctional process further discourages public participation in government which leaves government without the necessary check of a vigilant public.

And by failing to have a rational and more democratic procedure in place for decision making… one that involves a greater public consensus – there is no trust of government and an infinite series of problems is generated which fragments and divides the city. Relationships are lost, friendships irrevocably broken, marriages strained, courtesy and hospitality are replaced by suspicion and rudeness, and everywhere intrigue and betrayal flourishes. And the net effect is what we see and experience when trying to make a difference. It has gotten so dysfunctional that anyone, good intentions or not, trying to help make things better, is subject to an array of vicious personal attacks on their character.

So by defaulting on the primary responsibility of making good government that listens to the people; commissioners end up creating more problems for themselves… more division, more fragmentation and the problems continue dividing the city. Instead of representing a large constituency the commission ends up representing the networks, insiders, club members that put them in power.

The real casualties of this procedure and process problem are the people of this city who deserve better government and deserve a rest from this dysfunctional and harmful approach to running the city.

Political leaders faced with this scenario seldom do anything because not solving the problem has distinct advantages. It’s convenient, doesn’t require any work, and limited public participation allows them to railroad decisions while minimizing opposition.

 
 
  (comments? | Score: 0)
Posted by admin on Monday, April 16, 2007 @ 20:40:14 EST
 
 

 
  Lake Worth Local Government >> Lake Worth: X Commissioners not attending meetings

I think the original poster makes a very powerful point. And its not just ex-commissioners and mayors that don't attend... it's typically greater than 99% of the public that doesn't attend! Everyone has a theory as to why that is but one thing is clear with a seating capacity that accomodates less than a half percent of the voting public... the commission room tells the real story... this has been going on a long long time and no one has done anything about it.

This phenonmenon is common throughout the country and has created an obvious incentive for special interests to fill in the representation gap. Then when an angry resident complains about the high riser going up next to his house; he can be effectively humiliated by a commissioner saying "...where were you when we voted on this?"

For me, it's not that meetings are boring; it's always a question of priorities. Anyone with a life doesn't have time for meetings at 6 PM. I have a business, a profession, 96 year old mom, a life... so trying to make a difference comes at a big price. Chairing the EUTF was an 18 hour a day job to do it right and going to meetings on top of that just wasn't in my preference list.

I don't think anyone really likes going unless they haven't got anything else better to do; are addicted to boring meetings; are there for a specific issue; or are part of the power structure looking for power or a member of the power structure that put a commissioner or mayor in place.

The city hasn't made it easy for residents to be informed either. Although there has been some progress over the past few years in using the internet for displaying documents, agendas, purchase orders etc; the plain cold truth is, cultural inertia/tradition has made it impossible for at least a great majority to attend meetings and stay informed. In otherwords, the information isn't easily accessible and understanding it is well beyond the reach of most residents... timewise. So the whole public has been turned off to government and doesn't trust it when something smells fishy.

Further, ex commissioners and mayors realize that commission meetings are not the place to accomplish anything unless you have mob along with you. So the whole system badly needs a facelift and streamlining. That is why I designed the PET System. It solves the problem of residents being informed by making information conveniently available through the internet and cable TV. Combined with Mode 3, government becomes efficient and responsive rather than reactive and hard of hearing.

So I wouldn't worry too much about the commissioners attending or not. Frankly, I think they feel they were very sincere putting their time in government, but probably felt very unappreciated... which I believe was more than well deserved since they merely plodded on with business as usual... thinking inside the box they grew up in and continued inept government at its best without a single thought about how to change it. They just kept living inside it and were astounded that they weren't appreciated for doing what they were told to do. They seemed unaware of any sense of perspective on what good government really is and how to achieve it. And perhaps to their credit, if they actually ever thought a new thought or expressed a new idea; it probably would've been met with the same wave of skepticism which met the PET System now under construction.

 
 
  (comments? | Score: 0)
Posted by admin on Saturday, March 31, 2007 @ 23:58:13 EST
 
 


 
 
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