Letter: Response To Joyce Batcheler

This letter is in response to Joyce Batcheler’s letter titled “Concerns About Actions Taken By Lox Town Council,” published on Feb. 8.

Let’s begin with the rather large elephant that is living between the lines in the former councilwoman’s letter. The elephant being the undeniable irony that Mrs. Batcheler has recently and astonishingly regained her “voice”… a voice that was glaringly absent during her short time on the dais.

Also, it’s rather curious that in her letter, Mrs. Batcheler refers to Loxahatchee Groves as “your town” not “our town”… which raises the question, has she recently moved, or are the sentiments in the letter actually her own?

Mrs. Batcheler’s comments regarding the process by which our council fired the current town manager and subsequently hired a new town manager was found to be, after a brief but thorough investigation, totally within the town council’s purview — a completely legal maneuver which broke no Sunshine Laws. Concerning Loxahatchee Groves residents’ ability to provide input to this process, let’s not forget that the council is an elected board. Council members are voted in by residents — chosen and placed there to be our voice! That is our input, a vote!

Here is a quick summation: the above-mentioned action taken on a 4-1 vote by the council, which can be broken down like this: 473 votes of the 591 total votes (March 2018 results) were validated by this 4-1 council vote. In other words, 80 percent of the voting public was duly represented!

Mrs. Batcheler wrote in her letter about the hiring of a new town manager, “council members, with the exception of Dave DeMarois, voted to hire him without any review of any other candidates.” This comment warrants a reminder that we residents have been told repeatedly and unabashedly that “no one wants to work for Loxahatchee Groves,” as we are a “bunch of unruly rabble-rousers who cannot be managed.” So, we should be thanking our lucky stars that our council has, against all odds, actually found someone who is well-qualified, well-respected and, most importantly, willing if not eager to fill this position.

Mrs. Batcheler’s annotations concerning the “payout” on Bill Underwood’s contract are reproachable. Mrs. Batcheler has conveniently omitted the fact that she played a significant part in putting us in this regretful situation. She seems to have overlooked the fact that she was on the council at the time of the farce that was called “contract negotiations.” This was one of the most memorable moments that Mrs. Batcheler’s curious silence on the dais can be directly linked to the travesty that resulted in the notorious Underwood contract — a contract that she voted to approve and was well aware that with her “aye” vote, this contract would place a heavy financial burden on our town. Mrs. Batcheler also seems to hope that we citizens have forgotten that it was shortly after this dubious vote that she abandoned ship, effectively leaving 118 voting residents without a voice. What/who makes her think we want to hear from her now?

The remainder of Mrs. Batcheler’s letter brings up the sheriff, code enforcement and borrowing money for roads, which reads like a hodge-podge of random complaints from a disgruntled individual. This nonsensical diatribe begs the question, if these issues were of such dire importance to Mrs. Batcheler, and her constituents, why did she desert her post? She should have stayed on the council, she should have used her voice when she had the opportunity.

Former Councilwoman Joyce Batcheler should heed her own advice when asking residents to “do a little research,” instead she has admittedly used “the rumor mill” to obtain information, which has repeatedly proven itself to be unreliable, if not a slanderous source. This is a sad commentary on what Mrs. Batcheler is willing to endorse.

And finally, in her letter, Mrs. Batcheler makes comments regarding the paving of certain dead-end roads. Her comments imply that these roads take us nowhere and therefore deserve little or no attention from the town. This sentiment is exactly our opinion of her letter… its contents take us nowhere and, therefore, deserves little or no attention.

Jo Siciliano, Loxahatchee Groves