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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are the five Broward County Commissioners. They are Lois Wexler, Ilene Lieberman, Diana Wasserman-Rubin, Ben Graber and Josephus Eggelletion. They get today's award for their bungling of a $45 Million office complex that among other things has landed the county with a useless run down warehouse they must lease for the next 30 years.

Below is just the beginning of a lengthy Sun-Sentinel article. How much this stupidity will cost Broward County taxpayers in the end is unknown. If Commissioners Wexler, Lieberman, Wasserman-Rubin, Graber and Eggelltion were honorable, they would all resign. It will never happen, no matter. They are all deserving knucklehead winners.

Open Post- Political Teen,

Broward County commissioners trying to explain how a plan for a $45 million office complex got so far off track blame themselves and their staff for an embarrassing lack of leadership that allowed decisions to be made without their approval or taxpayer input.

"I don't want to be too brutal or too cruel about accountability around here, but this is a rudderless ship," Commissioner Lois Wexler said on Friday. "Things are being moved forward behind the scenes rather than at public meetings."

Commissioner Jim Scott was equally chagrined. "This was a harum-scarum operation," he said.

At issue is an effort started three years ago to find a warehouse, estimated to cost less than $10 million, for Broward County's new voting machinery. It ballooned into a $45 million proposal to build offices and warehouses for the elections supervisor, the property appraiser and county revenue collection division.

The project collapsed when Property Appraiser Lori Parrish opted out of the deal after reports in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Oct. 8 that lobbyists and developers were pushing to have the complex built on land outside of downtown owned by the chairman of the Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Agency, Charles Ladd.

Commissioners last week ordered an examination of what happened and plan to discuss what to do next at their meeting on Tuesday.

The county will have to pay $110,000 a year for the next 30 years for a dilapidated warehouse at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport it doesn't want. Parrish and Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes need more room quickly, but most solutions will take more than two years to accomplish.

A central issue on how the deal went astray is the actions of a committee appointed by commissioners to shepherd the warehouse project. That negotiating committee, along with staff, skirted protocol by making major decisions without commission approval or public input.

Records and interviews also reveal that plans to renovate the warehouse chosen for the elections office went on for more than a year even though Snipes disliked them. And work repeatedly stalled amid second-guessing about what to do. That was because of problems with another county office renovation project.


The commissioners who sat on the negotiating committee for the warehouse project were Wexler, Ilene Lieberman, Diana Wasserman-Rubin, Ben Graber and Josephus Eggelletion. Snipes and three high-ranking county employees were also on the committee.

Although they were tasked with choosing a company to renovate the warehouse leased for Snipes, the group rejected all bids in a committee meeting on June 30.

The final say on such a move should rest with the County Commission. But rather than submitting its recommendation and allowing the full commission to decide what to do next, the committee ordered county staff to research sites where Parrish and Snipes' offices could be housed together.

Minutes of the meeting show the motion came from Eggelletion. He could not be reached for comment despite calls to his office.

Subsequently and without the full commission's agreement, staff narrowed the field to sites owned by Ladd and Tarragon South Development. That's the recommendation that landed on the commissioners' agenda last week and was rejected.

"These were policy decisions and they belonged with the board," Commissioner John Rodstrom said. "This had not been fully cooked, and it's disturbing how it got this far."

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