In this post, we talked about the actions of Mayor Tumulty in not following Roberts Rules of Order as well as discussing the deafening silence from the Assistant City Attorney Marsha Segal-George, and other Commissioners (including one who is running for the Mayoral seat.)
We went back and listened to the end of the meeting again.
It’s shameful. That is the only way it can be described.
Listen to how many times Tumulty interrupts and cuts off Williams and then the sarcastic “appreciate your concern” near the end.
We submit that if Tumulty’s students, kids, or kids he coaches had displayed that attitude, he would have addressed it and rightfully so. Yet Tumulty feels safe and empowered to treat people in the unprofessional manner that he would not accept from others.
No matter whether you agree or disagree on Tumulty’s positions, the residents deserve a better, more professional, less petulant and more knowledgeable person in the Mayor’s seat.
We want to take this time to offer our congratulations to Cocoa Beach Mayor Tim Tumulty on his new book “Roberts Rules for Tumulty.”
You see, while the rest of us use and expect boards within the City and especially the City Commission to use “Roberts Rule of Order” for how they conduct a meeting as per their own Commission regulations, those rules don’t apply to when ol’ Tim is running the meeting.
Only his rules apply.
Frankly, we are tired of this. We are tired of elected officials and others (as you will see) who think they can make up stuff as they go along or that they are above it all.
The “fun” begins when Assistant City Attorney Marsha Segal-George is asked to read item E-1 from the agenda. This happens at approximately 33:00 into the video on the City’s site or you can download the video and watch on your own media player.
Adopt Resolution No. 2016-16 – A Resolution of the City Commission of the City of Cocoa Beach, Brevard County Florida, adopting the final budget for the Fiscal Year 2017 of the City of Cocoa Beach, Florida; providing for an effective date. Approve the FY2017 Tentative Budget (as shown in Resolution No. 2016-16 to be adopted on September 28, 2016)
After the resolution is read, Tumulty asks for comments from the Commissioners. Commissioner Skip Williams lifts up a document and says:
WILLIAMS: Charles, are you prepared to discuss this (document) that you handed out to all of the commissioners?
HOLLAND: I would say not as a part ….this is about the budget. I would have to say that the Mayor, of course, would be the, uh, but I would recommend that we not discuss that because I want to have some one on ones with the Commissioners next week so I would recommend that we not discuss that tonight because it does not have anything to do with this budget.
TUMULTY: Okay, thank you very much.
Ah yes, the transparency that we always hear about is not evident because no one in the audience or watching knows what in the heck the document is all about.
WILLIAMS: Looking at what you provided and looking at the budget and looking at the numbers that are in the budget for the new Police Department and City Hall, and reading this, it looks like those numbers are in flux and the current budget and the long term budget horizon doesn’t close for the costs associated with the reality of the Police Department and City Hall. So I can’t support a budget that doesn’t close on the long term. And that’s all I have to say.
It appears that the document the public is not allowed to see has something to do with the costs of something within the budget. Why anyone would feel that the costs of paying for something is not applicable to the budget is beyond our understanding.
TUMULTY: Interesting Skip, so you don’t know what the budget is going to be for 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 so we can’t close on this budget?
WILLIAMS: This budget has a number in it….
TUMULTY: Sure it does.
WILLIAMS: … that is based on $15,300 projected….
TUMULTY: Fifteen, fifteen.
WILLIAMS: Fifteen million five hundred thousand…
WILLIAMS: That is right there in the line item and its kind of like that same number throughout the [INAUDIBLE]….
WILLIAMS: We know, based on this information that that is not a good number. We are going to pass a budget that doesn’t have a good number in it.
TUMULTY: I don’t know if we know if that’s a good or bad number, but I do know that debt service, we won’t start paying on that debt service this fiscal year. In the upcoming fiscal year.
WILLIAMS: I’ll refrain any further comments until we get to Item F-2.
(You should remember Williams last statement because it’s important as we shall see.)
Notice how many times Tumulty interrupts interrupts Williams.
As usual, Tumulty seems to think he is in a classroom where he is the big dog.
When we heard the vote, we were perplexed. Commissioner Williams seemed like a sure vote to be against the budget with the increase. Williams had spoken out at the last meeting against the millage rate increase. Yet the website for the candidate seen above shows there should have been another vote against the tax increase. After all, not only is the candidate promising not raise taxes, they say they “have kept their promises.”
At the very least, the vote should have been 3-2 to pass the budget as this “stalwart of promise keeping” would have kept his word and also not be saying that he did keep his promises.
So who is this person that voted for the tax increase despite his website saying he would not?
EDITORS’S NOTE: Taking notes at a forum is not easy. We did not record the forum so what we have tried to do is give the “flavor” and “focus” of the answers given by the candidates. If a candidate or their campaign feels we have accidentally misrepresented their answers, please contact us. We want voters to get more information, not false information.
In addition, two candidates were not at the forum. Both happen to be sitting Commissioners. Commissioner Ed Martinez who is running for Seat 2 on the Commission said he would not be able to be at the forum due to his being out of town.
Commissioner Ben Malik, who is running for Mayor committed to being at the forum but did not show up.
As some of their positions on the questions are known, we are providing them in italics so you can compare the candidates. We believe that there is a difference in saying something at a Commission meeting after reading and studying the issue on the agenda and being able to answer questions on your feet and on the fly at a forum. Answering on the fly is much more difficult.
Last Saturday, the Citizen’s Action Committee hosted a political forum with six of the candidates who are running for city commission in November. The “standing room only” event was held at the Cocoa Beach Library. Commissioner Ben Malik did not participate in the forum after accepting the invitation. He apparently offered no notice to the CAC organizers that he would not attend. Commissioner Ed Martinez also did not participate
This brief summary is a compilation of answers given by the candidates according to topic and the questions varied somewhat by seat. Malik’s and Martinez’s positions have been included where the topic has been part of the public record through votes and discussion at city commission meetings and workshops. Those positions are in italics to show that Malik and Martinez were absent.
In addition to the height and density issue, there was a large, fired-up contingent of condo owners from the Fischer Park vicinity and they are adamant about not building the new police station at that location.
HEIGHT AND DENSITY- 45 ft. Building Height Limit/Ocean Dunes Height Variance
SEAT #1- Mayor
Will uphold City Charter building limits of 45 feet unless electorate decides to change it. Some regulations have changed and it may need to be revisited. Every aspect should be examined and then there should be a community discussion.
Ocean Dunes variance: NO. It’s a good project if it could be built at 45ft. Would not vote for the variance as Mayor.
BEN MALIK: (not present)
Ocean Dunes variance: YES- has voted twice to support the 60 ft. project.
This weeks edition of the Hometown News has a letter to the editor from Cocoa Beach resident Danny Nail:
Violating the City Charter
The Cocoa Beach mayor and three commissioners are violating the City Charter requirements for five commission votes to increase the building height above 45 feet to 60 feet for a new condominium.
They are illegally using hte variance process to do this. Mayor Tumulty and Commissioners Malik, Miller and Martinez are responsible for ignoring the City Constitution, other wise know (sic) as the City Charter.
Two different procedures are spelled out in the Charter. One is a variance process ending in a four vote commission requirement for approval. The other is a Comprehensive Plan amendment process ending in a five- vote commission for approval of any amendment that addressed increasing height / density. By Florida statute, the Comp Plan is the controlling document for land usse.
The Charter states: “Any city comprehensive plan adoption or amendment that addresses increasing building and structure height or allowable density and / or intensity shall require an affirmative vote by (5) city commissioners. This is very broad and does not exclude variances. Likewise, the variance language does not address having any affect (sic) on the Comp Plan amendment requirement.for five votes. Both requirements stand on their own merit and must be met in order for a project that increases h/d to be legally implemented.
The mayor is giving precedence to the variance process over the Comp Plan amendment process. Both are spelled out in the City Charter so one does not take precedence over the other. Without approval of both the four-vote variance and the five-vote Comp Plan amendment, the 45-foot height cannot be exceeded.
However, the mayor says that the four-vote approval of the variance grants a permissible height increase; and, therefore, only four votes, instead of five, are needed to approve the amendment.
That view ignores the fact that until the amendment is passed, the variance is not in effect. That means that the variance does not make the height of the building permissible until the amendment is passed by five votes. Without the amendment, the height over 45 feet is not permissible because the variance does not legally exist until the Comp Plan amendment is passed. And that requires five votes.
Unfortunately, it will now take a judge to decide what is already clear to the residents who overwhelmingly voted for the five-vote requirement.
The City of Cocoa Beach responded to the letter: (more…)