Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why I'm Resigning From The North Miami Board Of Adjustment


I've given a lot of thought to my resignation and drank a lot of coffee mulling it over in my mind. Here's my reasoning:

When Councilman Scott Galvin got elected to the North Miami City Council a few years ago he called me up. He wanted to appoint me to the Board of Adjustment. I told him that I'd put in enough years on city advisory boards, how several years before I had to use the excuse that my mom had just passed away and I needed some time, and I resigned from the North Miami Planning Commission. At that time I'd also stepped down from serving on the boards of directors of The Greater North Miami Chamber of Commerce, The Mayor's Economic Task Force (I was one of the founding members)and The North Dade YMCA. Life was a constant whirl of membership meetings, board meetings, breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings. At some point you want your life back.

Anyway, Scott and I had been good friends for years and here he was begging me to please serve on the Board of Adjustment. It seemed like he wasn't going to take "NO" for an answer.

I agreed, but no tie and jacket, scruffy didn't-shave-for-five-days (Did I start that style?)and the shoulda-got-a-haircut-last-month look. I started going to Board of Adjustment meetings, getting into discussions with the head of the Planning Department, chatting with the city attorney, and riding all over town checking on the properties that were seeking variances. Now this is a PAID position! For each monthly meeting I get $10, a rate set back about 1960. It didn't cover my gas expense! It took me over a year for the city council to finally "double the salary" to $20 because "there's no money in the budget!"

For many decades the Board of Adjustment was an "advisory" board and the council would still hear the petition and make the final decision. A recent change in state law changed all that. We no longer "advise", we "decide"! I thought that the added responsibility was worth more money. The council thought otherwise. "There's NO MONEY in the budget" I was told.

Of course not! In the past couple of years the council awarded themselves a gold plated health insurance plan FOR LIFE, a generous expense account, and a fantastic pension plan. All this with no money in the budget? And the board members be damned!

And then a few months ago you selfish greedy bastards gave YOURSELVES a ten fold increase in salary with no money in the budget. The water plant is falling apart, the mains are leaking more water than they're delivering, the sewers are in pretty much the same shape, the parks are in deplorable condition, and there is a freeze on hiring and salaries but you self centered ass-holes found the money to increase lining your own pockets by a factor of TEN!

Last night's agenda was full, yet I was really hoping that we'd barely have a quorum. I'd planned on reading this, then perhaps getting up and leaving, all of those variance seekers left standing there with their expensive attorneys. It's enough to make you cry, isn't it?

Put a decent offer on the table and we'll have a starting point for a discussion. Sounds fair to me. It should also be retroactive to the date of your salary increase. Scott, now it seems like I'm the one who is refusing to take "NO" as an answer. Give me a "YES".

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al, Do what the rest of them do, sell your vote.
Parks

11:21 PM  
Blogger Al Kaplan said...

Thanks for the idea, Parks! Is that the reason that they can all afford Mercedes SUV's? And here I am tooling around town in a dented and faded Toyota Tacoma. I guess I'm just perceived as being too honest and upstanding, because I never ever get offered a dime for my vote! Is that the reason why at Wednesday night's meeting I was the only one to vote "Nay" on a couple of items?

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read "Animal Farm" again!

5:31 PM  
Blogger kshapero said...

Al,
Shitty Government is the negation of liberty.

7:52 PM  

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