Letter: Groves Phantom Touts The RFP

Councilman Jim Rockett opened the current town management debate by stating, “Unless the council has no doubts about extending the current management contract, I think we have a year option on it, we should avail ourselves of all the information and options to make the best decision possible.”

That rationale suggests to the residents that the council is doing diligence for the best interests of the community. The reality of the council’s action is simply to do away with Underwood Management Services.

Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District Supervisor John Ryan has offered support of the town management RFP. The LGWCD will benefit with a management change. Underwood has rejected many questionable LGWCD invoices, saving the town thousands of dollars, as well as assisted in reducing the LGWCD annual gas tax subsidies by some $55,000. Of course the LGWCD wants someone else to be town manager.

With that being said, in a recent Town-Crier, Supervisor Ryan contradicted his exception to retain Underwood Management by acknowledging that Underwood has the best understanding of actual work requirements, needs and expectations of our rural town over what any other applicant could offer. The supervisor offered that Underwood has furnished boots-on-the-ground involvement with ongoing changes in the town. Supervisor Ryan complimented Bill and Perla Underwood for possessing a complete understanding of the listed town management requirements, adopted policies and procedures.

It’s no secret that any long-term contract for professional services rendered has to evolve with periodic revisions of additions and deletions due to town changes and growth. Now is such a time that the council and Underwood Management should be working together for execution of the one-year extension with clarification of contract interpretations and actual work responsibilities.

It is my view that “chancellor” Ryan always seems to be the phantom in our town’s opera. Ron Jarriel, Ryan Liang, Jim Rockett and John Ryan need to stop all this divisiveness, cease being team players of their cabal, and start representing the will of residents. The town does not benefit from unproductive letters to the editor from elected public officials when it simply is to provide confirmation as to which side you are on and nothing else.

Councilman Rockett has stated that commentary without presented fact is just opinion. Gentlemen, the facts are these: you need to establish the millage rate, approve the annual budget and have a management team in place to perform town management services commencing Oct 1.

Execute the one-year extension with Underwood Management. This will provide the council with uninterrupted focus on the town’s annual budget and millage rate before you. It will allow the Underwoods to implement the government accounting software and resolve the concerns of posting errors. It will provide the council time to prepare a well-thought-out strategy of town management considerations for next year. It will give the registered voters of Loxahatchee Groves peace of mind.

Keith Harris, Loxahatchee Groves