Fifteen municipalities filed a lawsuit to prohibit the county from increasing the taxes on their constituents. Inspector General Sheryl Steckler for the last ten months has been responsible for delaying the case, and creating thousands of billable hours for the 30 attorneys who are forced to challenge her motion to intervene. All these fees are payable by taxpayers of this county.
Palm Beach County Administrator Robert Weisman had the guts to suggest that Steckler should be “terminated for bad judgment” for pursuing her futile case to intervene in the case, adding that her conduct constituted an “outrageous legal power play.”
Bad judgment is not grounds for termination and unfortunately, considering that the commissioners have approved a 600 percent increase in funding of the inspector general in one year, it is unlikely that they will take any meaningful action regarding wasteful spending.
Steckler should have known that her motion to intervene had no hope of success when her motion to intervene was denied on Nov. 16, 2012 in a one-word opinion “denied.” When the law is abundantly clear there is no need for an elaborate opinion; nevertheless, the inspector general persisted by filing an appeal on Dec. 5.
On March 28, the 4th District Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court. Incredibly, on April 11, Steckler filed yet another motion for Rehearing En Banc. I contend that her case was so weak that the court denied it with one word “denied,” and the appellate court ultimately agreed with one word “affirmed,” which in lawyer speak means “denied a second time.”
Here is the problem with an “independent” government official: If you put the fox in charge of watching the chickens, who is watching the fox?
Frank Morelli, Wellington