Letter: Several County Commissioners Display Rude Behavior

I have attended many of the Palm Beach County Commission’s public hearings and have witnessed some very unprofessional behavior from some of the commissioners.

At the June 26 Boca Del Mar/Mizner Trail hearing, I observed Commissioner [Steven] Abrams and Mayor Priscilla Taylor in private conversation while one of the attorneys was making a presentation. At the same hearing, Commissioner [Shelley] Vana was in private conversation with the county attorney during a presentation.

It is unethical and unprofessional for the commissioners to have private conversations during a presentation. Proper protocol is to ask for time out in order to present their questions publicly, instead of private conversations between themselves. This type of behavior has occurred at every public hearing I have attended, which are many.

Before every public hearing, an announcement is made to turn off all cell phones. At the June 26 hearing, Commissioner Vana’s cell phone rang and she answered it, started to speak into the phone and then left the room. This is unacceptable behavior. Don’t the same rules apply to the commissioners about their cell phones?

Isn’t it proper etiquette for the commissioners attending these public hearings not to give the impression of what their decision will be until a motion is presented and a vote is taken? During the many public hearings I attended, the body language and facial expressions of Commissioner Abrams were unprofessional in the way he laughs, smirks or shrugs during presentations.

If anyone doubts these facts, please review public hearing tapes.

Patricia Caputo, West Palm Beach