The Coastal Star

South Palm Beach: Manager’s evaluation, chamber refurbishing occupy council

By Tim O’Meilia

Rex Taylor’s seventh anniversary as South Palm Beach town manager is this month and to mark the occasion his employers will review his performance for the first time. 

But not before he does it first. Then next year, the council will come up with a permanent evaluation form and process. 

“The charter requires an evaluation,” said Councilwoman Stella Jordan, who first brought up the topic in May. “I’m more interested in getting it done than the actual form.”

Taylor and Jordan have discussed an evaluation format but nothing had been determined. 

This year, Taylor will fill out a self-evaluation by the middle of August and each council member will do a similar critique.

The reviews could be discussed at the July 24 council meeting. No one has expressed any displeasure with Taylor’s performance. 

“We really need to get this done. Then, if we need to, we can revise it for next year,” Jordan said, referring to the evaluation format.

Aside from the town attorney, the manager is the only employee who reports directly to the council. 

This isn’t the first time the council has revamped its procedures because it wasn’t following the town charter. Last year, the council revamped how advisory board appointments were made to meet charter requirements.

Resident Isabella Ralston-Charnley repeated her opinion that recommendations made by previous advisory boards should be discarded because the boards were improperly constituted.

In other business at the June 26 meeting, the council voted unanimously to spend about $10,000 to refurbish the council chambers. The room will be repainted, the carpet cleaned, accent wallpaper will be added behind the council dais, the peeling popcorn ceiling will be replaced with a textured finish, the shredded carpet near the entrance will be replaced with entry tile and the speakers improved.

The council appointed Councilman Robert Gottlieb in May to make recommendations on refreshing the chambers.

“The carpet is worn out; painting has not been done in years and years. We just need some rejuvenation,” Mayor Donald Clayman said then. 

The council will consider during budget hearings this summer whether to install a video screen and a new audio system.

The chamber also is used for lectures, other meetings and art shows.                                        

Council members also postponed indefinitely a discussion on letting Manalapan take over police and dispatch services. Councilwoman Stella Jordan, who proposed considering the year-old offer from Manalapan Mayor Basil Diamond, said she needed more time to investigate the legal ramifications.

Diamond had suggested that South Palm Beach could save $500,000 or more, depending on how the merger was structured. Ú

 

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Comment by Isabella Ralston-Charnley on July 5, 2012 at 6:15pm

FYI: I have tried everything that I could to get this statement in the same font - is perfect on my computer and ends up in different fonts a soon as I add it to the comments section

 

Now  that I have celebrated July 4 I will try and give you more information regarding the almost six years of violations of Town South Palm Beaches Town Charter and the illegal change of Government perpetrated by the present Town Council and Mayor Donald Clayman, and the previous violations by the ex-Mayor Maurice Jacobson. Or as he likes to be known “Mr. South Palm Beach”.

I have researched how our Governments in Town acted since 2000 and what I found was that this Town was run legally and strictly according to the Town Charter until March 28, 2006.

What I find interesting is that Mayor Maurice Jacobson was a council member since year 2000, which means that he sat for 6 years knowing exactly how this Town was and should be run, but from March 28, 2006 he chose to run the Town knowing that what he was doing was a violation of State Law and the ultimate law in this town – The Town Charter.

Also on the Town Council when our Town was run legally was Council Members Zimmerman, Gotlieb, and Millar, but they all voted yes on Ordinance 235 dated March 28, 2006. This ordinance changed our Town from a Weak Council/ Strong Manager to Strong Council/Weak Manager.  The huge problem with this is of course is that our Charter cannot be changed by an ordinance only by a residents Referendum!

Also we cannot forget our Chief of Police Roger Crane who has been an employee of this Town for over 25 years who appears to have adhered to the Town Charter until March 28, 2006 and from this date started taking orders from the Town Mayor and requesting orders from the Town Mayor.  This is strictly prohibited by our Charter from article 2 in our Charter:  the Town Council and its members shall deal with town employees solely through the Town Manager. Neither the Town Council nor any member thereof shall give orders to any subordinate of the Town Manager, either publicly or privately.  Police chief Crane is a subordinate of the Town Manager

First how can a manager who broke his contract with this Town be given an evaluation – he should be fired immediately!

Also regarding the Town Managers Evaluation, the article and the whole Town Council and Town Attorneys from Corbett & White are incorrect in saying that this will be his first evaluation.

Rex Taylor was hired in June 28, 2005 at a salary of $85,000. Six months after on February 28, 2006 his salary was raised to $93,500 – in this six month Performance Review for Town Manager Rex Taylor was given a glowing review. See Town Hall Minutes February 28, 2006

On September 25, 2007 he received another raise to $102, 808. Now although this Employment Agreement was signed by then Mayor Maurice Jacobson I can find nothing in the Town Hall Minutes that proves that this raise was ever approved by the rest of the Town Council.

So, in February 2006, the Council and Mayor knew that they had to give the Town Manager a yearly evaluation- but as you can see chose not to follow the Town Charter Provisions after the illegal Ordinance 235 dated March 28, 2006 was approved. This ordinance was suggested by and written by attorneys Corbett & White.

The Citizens Advisory Council is a Mandatory Council. My research shows that this Council is obviously a vetting Council to insure that the wrong people would not be allowed to get to vote on a board or committee etc. where their vote on an issue could be to their advantage.

This Council has not sat in the Town since 2003. In the Town Hall Meeting January 25, 2011 Town Attorney Brad Biggs actually stated on record that he had no idea that this Council was in our Charter. Our Town Charter is only 21 pages long and yet the Town Attorneys since 2005 did not know that THIS Council existed!!

On July 12, 2010 (not June as I stated previously) I sent an e-mail to town Manager Rex Taylor informing him that this MANDATORY Council was not sitting in this Town.

What should have our unbelievably overpaid Manager have done at this point – he should have immediately disbanded all of the Towns Boards, Committees etc. because they were illegally appointed.

What did Manager Rex Taylor do? He allowed the illegally appointed Planning Board( I am not interest in the rest of the boards because they can do no serious damage to this Town) to sit and vote down a redevelopment of our only Commercial Site which could have brought it $10,000’s maybe $100,000’s of thousands of taxes to this Town.

FYI:    Illegally appointed Chairman of the Planning Board Michael Nevard lives in a 9 story penthouse directly opposite the Palm Beach Ocean Front Inn which affords him 125-130ft uninterrupted view of the ocean over its two story building. Had the Inn been the okayed for redevelopment Chairman Mike Nevard would have lost 90% of is view. His conflict of interest is obvious.

Illegally appointed Planning Board Member Dee Robinson lived in the Tuscany which is directly next door  to the Palm Beach Oceanfront Inn and certainly would have lost a great deal of her views if the redevelopment of the Inn had gone ahead. She also had her condominium on sale for almost all of the time this issue was before her. Why would she want to have redevelopment next door and have to disclose that to a buyer? Her conflict of interest is obvious.

Illegally appointed Planning Board Member Pat Festino’s mother owned and lived in the Tuscany directly next door to the Inn. She almost certainly would have lost her views. Ms. Pat Festino became owner of this same condo by Quit Deed in 2010. Her conflict of interest is obvious.  – Are any of you smelling a foul odor yet with the composition of this Planning Board?

Multiple requests to remove these three Planning Board members were made to the Council and our Town Attorney’s Corbett & White – every single one of them was ignored.  

Councilors Stella Jordan and Susan Lillybeck who lead the fight to deny  this development live in Horizon East which is directly next to the Inn and certainly would have lost views. Their conflict of interest is obvious.

The residents of South Palm Beach were shafted by their government and these three Planning Board Members for their own personal gains.  

A Citizens Advisory Board was eventually appointed on January 25, 2011 exactly 7 days after Nevard, Robinson and Festino had again voted to deny the redevelopment.

The Citizens Advisory Council that was appointed that evening had all signed the three petitions put around Town by now Council Member Stella Jordan supporting the denial of the redevelopment of our only commercial site- getting the picture yet?

Of course the biggest problem is that these appointees are all illegal because they were recommended by individual Council Members including Mayor Clayman- this is strictly prohibited by our Town Charter.

Boards and committees:

(1)   Appointment—Every member of every board and committee of the Town, whether advisory or quasi-judicial, shall be recommended by the Town Manager, and shall be appointed by the Town Council.

 

The Mayor shall have no power of appointment, or of veto.

The above is just the tip of the iceberg of what has happened in this Town since March 28, 2006. These scoundrels should be run out of Town!!

And of course don’t let’s forget Town Attorneys Trela White and Brad Biggs of Corbett & White who sat there for 6 years and allowed all of this to happen. They have proven themselves to be totally incompetent and the Town should sue to get back the money that they were paid for the services!

The only reason that the Councils is changing now is because I have forced them into it – certainly not because they wanted too.

 

Comment by Isabella Ralston-Charnley on July 4, 2012 at 5:34pm

Oh my God you got them to admit that this town has not been run according to the ultinate state law & the ultimate law of this Town  - The Town Charter!!   They have abused and lied to the residents of this Town for years - shame on them!

I have tried to get an answer from them since June 2010 when I first informed them that  were not running the Town according to the law - I have told them multiple times that they were governing illegally - from June 2010 to this day - they have never replied to any e-mail and shut me down in the most obnoxious ways (all on video) when I stand up in the Public Comments section of our Town Hall Meetings - but they did it to the wrong one - because it just made me so much stronger and determined to get this abuse of our Town out into the open!

We will have to wait and see what the Attorney Generals Office has to say about these complaints of mine.

Also this Town will probably have serious problens in the Civil Courts regarding the serious damage done to the people they trod all over - don't blame me becuase I inforned them of the problems for years - they prefered to run the Town off South Palm Beach as their own little fiefdom.

I also sent the informtion to our Town Attorney Corbett & White - they also chose to ignore me.

 

 

It does not matter that suddenly they are adhereing to the Town Charter - they will have to answer for the years that they didn't!!

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