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Friday, June 01, 2012

Marco Island Contractors get Bamboozled


A hastily called meeting by the City Manager took place at City Hall on May 29, 2012 at 4PM purportedly to address "rumors" that the City's inspection function was to be "outsourced" to Collier County. The standing-room only crowd was comprised mostly of contractors.



A question: If the City of Marco Island operated in the sunshine, as required by law, why would there be any rumors that would drive dozens of hard-working people away from their jobs in order to "get the facts"?

Minutes before the meeting started, Sir Monte Lazarus rose from his seat, stood for half a minute or so, inspected the crowd, made sure that he was noticed, then sat down. With this act, those of us that are either cogent, or have lived on Marco Island for more than a minute, can stop reading since this performance foretold what we already know what was going to get accomplished by the officialdom that infests city management bureaucracy and "leadership": nothing.


The City Manager spoke first. He noted that there have been discussions over the last 1½ years to outsource the City's Building Inspection services to Collier County.


A question: If the City of Marco Island operated in the sunshine, as required by law, why would the revelation that there have been discussions with Collier County to transfer the City's Building Inspection services be news to everyone (that's everyone outside of the few that were allegedly doing the discussion)?

The City Manager displayed numbers showing the revenue generated by the City's Building Inspection services from 2003 to the present. The amounts scaled from approximately $700K to $2.5M per year. For this fiscal year, the revenue is approximately $700K. He also noted that the cost to run the City's Building Inspection services is approximately $700K/year. He stated that the purpose of the discussions with Collier County was to reduce costs to the City by eliminating the City's Building Inspection services.


A question: If for every year the City's Building Inspection function has been generating a SURPLUS, why do you want to eliminate an operation that generates a SURPLUS every year?

A question: Where is the surplus money that the City's Building Inspection function has generated every year for the past nine years?

So then on to taking comments and questions. The City Attorney read the names of who was on the list to speak, and he and/or a City Councilperson ran the microphone to the speaker.


Every contractor decried the elimination of the City's Building Inspection services for one reason or another. Then a few poignant questions were asked. The City Manager answered a couple, obfuscated on a couple, ignored a couple. He adamantly denied that the elimination of the City's Building Inspection services was fait accompli.


A question: If moving the City's Building Inspection services was not a done deal as decried by the City Manager, why did a Collier County official say that it was just days before?

The City Manager summarized the meeting by not addressing any of the concerns but did go on to say quite equivocally that "any budget issue has to be approved by the City Council." To the trained ear, "any budget" is not the same thing as "a function being outsourced" … especially where the syndicate rules.


Of interest. There were three City Councilpersons in the room. One, Gibson, spent the time texting and looking into his mobile phone device. Another, Magel, sat silently, and snoozed a couple of times. The third, and most entertaining by far, Walduck, also said nothing but did joust with the City Manager as to who was going to run the microphone to the speakers.


A Final Question: Outsourcing of the City's Building Inspection services to Collier County would not have anything to do with the four inspectors being charged and adjudicated guilty by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations, and that the four inspectors have run up over $40,000 in legal fees for the City, and that the four inspectors are appealing the State's finding that will cost at least another $40,000 in legal fees to the City – now would it?"

No one asked this question – the Contractors just did not know. The City was not to reveal it (ergo why the meeting was being run by the City Attorney). The Contractors got bamboozled.


-o-o-
Some pics and videos for entertainment purposes …

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