Problem: Loxahatchee Groves council members fail to represent the will of the people.
Solution: Execute the final year option of the town management contract.
Background: The town management contract to provide professional services stipulates that Underwood Management may be retained for another year at the will of council. Councilman Jim Rockett motioned for the town to make a request for proposals for new town management services.
Councilman Ryan Liang seconded, with Vice Mayor Ron Jarriel providing the majority vote. Mayor David Browning and Councilman Tom Goltzené were in the minority.
Rationale: Underwood Management needs to be replaced for receiving criticism of so far not doing the resurfacing of Compton, Bryan and Marcella.
Rebuttal: Single contracted scopes of work are different than furnishing professional services.
Groves residents get ready: the council will be seeking a new town attorney at the completion of the contracted time of services to be rendered. The Groves managerial and the legal representation handled in such fashion is discouraging.
Look a little deeper. The vote revealed a councilman ruling his kingdom. Past royal activities include the willingness to be an absentee accuser in the “abundance of caution” town council hearing, attempting to coerce the mayor to change the mayor’s appointment to a committee and commenting in a January 2013 article that “he gives dovetails what residents think.”
The vote revealed a councilman who believes Underwood Management is too friendly with the residents of the Groves. Town management should not answer residents questions about town business. The council vote has been cast, case closed.
The vote revealed a councilman was unaware that Underwood Management has one more year available on the contract. He knows since he voted with the majority, he can place the management contract on the council agenda for reconsideration.
The vote revealed in public comment that resident after resident were in favor of retaining Underwood Management. The only voice in support of replacing Underwood Management was a Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District supervisor.
Underwood Management provides the residents of the Groves quality and friendly service. The town manager has 30 years of municipal finance and accounting experience. Their accolades are many.
The town’s new governmental accounting software is ready to be implemented. Select members of council want it running. Underwood Management suggests letting the new management do it, since it requires training of staff and five months to become fully operational.
The chair and a member of the finance committee suggest paying a third party to implement the system to have it ready for new management.
The simple solution is to execute the one-year option and retain Underwood Management. You get what you pay for.
Keith Harris, Loxahatchee Groves