Posted Under: Important Issues for Fort Lauderdale,Issues pertaining to the City Manager
It’s time to remove the “Cancer” in Fort Lauderdale!
This Tuesday November 3rd marks the day that our City Commission will have to make a decision on retaining City Manager George Gretsas. Most of you who have read my articles on our web site (www.abetterftlauderdale.com) and have heard me speak about the issue over the last year know that I feel that George Gretsas has become a significant and costly liability to our City and must be replaced.
Let me re-state the reasons why Gretsas must go. The points I make below are facts. There’s no debating these points, unfortunately.
1. Of all the final City Manager applicants that were originally reviewed and rated in 2004, Gretsas placed last.
2. Gretsas has been able to manipulate the Commission over the years into paying him a salary (over $230,000/year) that is higher than the Vice President of the United States and any other elected official in Washington, DC, except the President.
3. He receives a salary that is higher than any full time Mayor of major cities, such as New York, Chicago, Boston, or San Francisco. (Most of these Mayors receive a salary between $150,000 to $200,000/year.)
4. With all his benefits added on top of his salary, (including a hefty retirement pension, car allowance, paid for health care and vacation time), his total compensation swells to over $330,000 per year, almost ten times what the average Fort Lauderdale resident earns!
5. Once hired, he brought in unqualified friends from White Plains NY to serve as “Assistant City Managers”. These individuals each receive over $200K per year.
6. He has increased the City’s budget by more than 10% each year since 2005 (versus controlled annual municipal budget increases of 1-3%). The City’s budget has been artificially inflated for years, wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.
7. This year, (when asked to provide a zero-based budget), he brought to the Commission the same budget as last year ($602M vs. $605) and had the gall to call it “zero-based”. It was not.
8. He has alienated the Police and Fire Unions, making it more difficult for the City to reach future fair salary and pension negotiations.
9. He has mismanaged the Fire Bond, wasting millions of dollars and causing several critical new Fire Stations to be incomplete.
10. He has lost control over the huge Waterworks project, causing the project to be millions of dollars over budget.
11. He could not account for the expenditure of over a million dollars in Federal HUD monies, which caused the City to have to return those monies back to HUD.
12. He ignores numerous neighborhood groups.
13. He refuses to work with the City’s CERT volunteers.
14. He refuses to communicate with many of the City’s various Advisory Committees, most recently the Utility Advisory Committee. This lack of communication caused the Commission to feel rushed into renewing a Florida Power & Light utility agreement (which now will lock us into a bad agreement with FPL for the next 30 years).
15. He hides information from the Commission, most recently involving a secret meeting he held with City employees and not asking for, or even informing the Commission.
16. He has fired dozens of experienced Department Managers and replaced them with unqualified people. They are there not to manage the Department but to simply do Gretsas’ bidding.
17. He focuses on manipulating Commission meetings and brings in City employees or neighbors to speak on issues to insure that the Commission votes the way he wants.
18. He manages not by consensus, but by yelling and screaming at people (both city volunteers and city employees) whenever he feels he is not getting his way.
Our City deserves much better than what this person provides us…..
WHAT WILL HAPPEN?
Here’s what’s going to happen at the Commission meeting on Tuesday night:
1. George Gretsas is right now working on packing the Commission meeting with people who will speak on his behalf. These people will be a combination of City employees and people from Point of Americas (where he lives) and from the Galt area. (I question the ethics of this. His time should be spent working on behalf of the residents of Fort Lauderdale, not manipulating others so he can try to keep his job).
2. Commissioners Charlotte Rodstrom and Bruce Roberts, knowledgeable about the manipulations of Gretsas, will see through this tactic and will be voting to not renew his contract.
3. Commissioners Romney Rogers and Bobby DuBose are the newer Commissioners and have been “spoon-fed” by Gretsas since they were sworn in on March 17. They enjoy having him cater to their needs. You can expect both of them to vote to keep Gretsas.
4. That leaves Mayor Jack Seiler. He will have to be the deciding vote and he hates that. Jack, (as an experienced politician), likes to make decisions that maintain the status quo. He doesn’t like to chart new directions or make a decision that requires future work on his part. He prefers to “sidestep” any issue until the last possible moment.
So the vote will end up being 3-2. To see how Seiler will vote, you will have to watch this 4-minute video to the end. It shows another politician sidestepping an issue very effectively, and indicates (at the end of the video) how politicians like to handle difficult decisions. Go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mNDHTfdn1A and see for yourself!