Letter: Gunfight At The Lox Groves Corral

The phantom of the town’s opera has filed a complaint with the Palm Beach County Office of the Inspector General. The complaint reflects a significant lack of understanding and appreciation of Underwood Management in its service to the Town of Loxahatchee Groves.

The opposition to Underwood Management for the past eight months consists of only two people who have publicly expressed their exceptions: one being Councilman Jim Rockett and the other Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District Supervisor John Ryan. The actions of these “guns for hire” have been an effort to disrupt the town’s progress, are both persons of interest in state investigations, and are up for re-election.

The phantom alleges, “Town manager formed an advisory committee of his own initiative that was intended to provide advice to the town council regarding proposed changes to the Unified Land Development Codes regarding the rental of recreational vehicle trailer space allowed on properties.” The complaint asserts that the advisory committee meetings were not publicly noticed, their agendas were not published and no minutes were taken.

Mayor Dave Browning responded to the OIG, “The allegation that an advisory committee was established is false.”

We cannot prevent questionable challenges in the form of complaint filings with the OIG. Everyone has rights to be heard and appropriate recourse for wrongs, but public and legal attacks should be fact-based and well-considered. Unproductive efforts result in unnecessary expenses — especially legal. Better approaches are participation in conversations with residents on both sides of the fence, and taking time to understand the reasons for the town manager’s actions.

Elected public officials with background issues and frustrations with their own circumstances should better consider their actions and the unintended consequences on the residents and not simply focus on the phantom’s agenda. If unsubstantiated attacks against Underwood Management are intended to get attention for political reasons, hopefully the general public will consider this in the upcoming town election in March with Mr. Rockett and the LGWCD election in June with Mr. Ryan.

The phantom’s complaint to the OIG is an example of unfortunate, disjointed anger. All of us would be better served if the phantom’s “guns for hire” stay informed, participate in town workshops and support positive developments in the Groves.

Keith Harris, Loxahatchee Groves