Letter: County Still Fighting IG

It is probably a good thing that County Commissioner Karen Marcus is retiring. She obviously has not been listening to her constituents for two years. I am referring to the commissioner’s statement that the inspector general’s office creates a duplicative tax on Palm Beach County residents because the county’s auditors already perform the same task.

Has Commissioner Marcus forgotten that approximately three-fourths of us voted for the IG office’s funding to come from the contractors, not the taxpayers? Furthermore, this plan was intended to make the inspector general’s position totally independent of those she might be investigating. County auditors monitoring county employees/officials could, in some cases, result in “the fox guarding the hen house.” It didn’t work so well in the case of three county commissioners and two city commissioners.

Come on, my fellow voters, make our representatives accountable for implementing and supporting what we voted for! We need an independent inspector general.

Arlene Olinsky
Royal Palm Beach


  1. In the case of the Inspector General of Palm Beach (IG) the County Commissioners did not do their due diligence when they promised that the IG would not be funded by taxpayers. The fact is that County Commissioner Karen Marcus should be applauded for opposing more taxes to fund the IG.

    The ordinance reads that the IG would be funded by a “minimum” of one-quarter percent surcharge payable by contractors doing business with the local and county governments. It is obvious to a person who knows how the bidding process works that the contractors will include the one-quarter percent in their cost estimates, and the taxpayers will eventually be paying the fee indirectly.

    The local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are independent, and they did an outstanding job of identifying, charging, and convicting three Commissioners. It remains to be seen if Sheryl G. Steckler will do half as good a job. She is much less “independent” than local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, and she has no power to arrest, indict or punish wrongdoers; and she can be removed at the discretion of county officials.

    Those who want the IG to remain have one weak argument. 72% of voters wanted to create an IG. Unfortunately the Initiative in Florida is simply a tool used by politicians to do what they lack the power to do, or to avoid the risk of the political fallout of passing similar legislation. The Initiative gives voters the impression that they are making the decision. Often Initiatives are confusing and people simply vote based upon emotion, e.g.“Corruption County”, or are influenced by politicians and the press, “We must rid our county of corruption.”

    When the votes were cast for the Initiative I am quite sure that many did not understand that they would be paying to fund a $9 million dollar IG. Now it is a fact. The County Commissioners want to create a new taxing district to fund the IG. I would like to know how many people would have voted for a new taxing district and a tax increase to fund a $9 million dollar IG. I suspect the initiative would not pass.

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