|Hope to Take advantage of Poor Voter Turnout November 7|
|by Howard Melamed
Coral Springs Fl, October 1,2006: Ted Mena , city commissioner in Coral Springs, finally figured it out. There is no money in being a city commissioner. Before he put ran for office, Mena knew exactly how much he was to receive as compensation for holding the position of commissioner: $13,000 approximately. On July 11 of this year, at a city commission meeting he made sure that everyone knew that he was unhappy with this amount of money. He wants this amount to increase 215% to $28,000 per year….and all the city commissioners except for Claudette Bruck, have agreed with him. As a result, this issue is on the ballot of the November 7th election and you can do something about it. VOTE NO! Tell them to shove it. They don’t deserve it, and in a time where taxes, fuel and economy are big issues, shame on them for even asking for such and increase.
If ever there was an issue regarding voter turnout, I think this and the 1% BS Broward Sales take addition should be the one to get you out in droves!
To put all this in perspective, the city of Coral Springs is run by a full time City Manager, Mike Levinson, who gets paid very well, ( highest in the state of Florida) for doing what he does best: Run the City. The Commissioners are there to watch over his activities but not run the city. It has been working like this since the city of Coral Springs came into being. Not even Mike’s salary has ever increased by 300%! As a matter of fact there is a city statute that no city employee can get an increase greater than 10%.
However, the city commissioner’s salary has always been at a low amount, and it has always attracted dedicated individuals that wanted to give their service to the citizens, without the need for compensation. In the past, there were always increases, but no Commissioner ever wanted nor dared push more than the increase in the cost due to inflation down the citizens throat. The reason was simple, is that they feared, as the four in office should fear, a backlash from the citizens who will remember their actions at the next election, when we hold them to task for what they promised and said to us: I am not doing this for the money, but because I want to volunteer my time to public office.
Mr. Mena, makes no bones about this. I WANT MORE MONEY, He says by his statement on July 11. And Commissioner Gold, seconds the motion, and Scott Brook and Commissioner Boccard vote YES YES YES, or shall I put it $ $ $. The only one individual with the fortitudes to stand up to the others is Claudette Bruck, who voted against any such increase. She reaffirmed her position at the following commission meeting saying that she cannot vote in good conscience for an increase. The others were silent, and Mena, with a grin on his face like the Grinch That Stole Christmas, remained silent. Bravo to Claudette who knows exactly why she became a city Commissioner.
I am quite surprised that those commissioners in office are actually not concerned about their future political ambitions. Increase in salary for those in political offices are not what I would call good ” something to remember me by” actions.
Let Them Eat Cake
City Commissioners who think they are immune from the wrath of the public are perhaps being very naive. Ted Mena’s attitude toward the few people that put him into office is disgusting to say the least. Already in the last few years we have seen that his ability to grasp issues within Coral Springs to be somewhat a joke. He is not what I would consider to be top shelf material. Yet, despite his shortcomings, he is the one person most vocal on getting the most financially out of his tenure as a city commissioner. While, Brook , Gold and Boccard will point the finger to Mena as the one leading the charge, they will take the fall with him should the issue of compensation actually pass the measly 8% turnout rate that is common in Coral Springs. If the increase fails, they will certainly hope that when they run for reelection, that the measly 8% of the eligible voters that will turn out will forgive and forget their money grab move to bilk the citizens of more money.
Claudette Bruck: A Symbol of Integrity.
The one person that has gained a lot of respect since taking office is Claudette Bruck. Coralsprings.com did not endorse her as a candidate, but it was a hard decision not to. While the other commissioners are cleaning up canals, she has been helping the people that cannot vote : The homeless and for abandoned and neglected children. As the only woman on the commission, she has her job cut out for her. Voting against the other 4 , as former city commissioner Rhonda Calhoun did, was one of guts and one that is politically the best choice for her to have done.
So far, under Mike Levinson’s leadership, our city has become strong financially that has kept for the most part our property taxes in check. Although some may disagree with him on some issues, no one can ever say he is not fiscally responsible. The city commissioners are the board of directors of the city, but make no mistake. It is Levinson who is the CEO of the city. There is no reason to increase the salaries of the part time city commissioners, but every reason to make sure that they don’t get it.
On November 7 make sure that if you are eligible to vote that you spend the 5 minutes and vote NO on the increase to their salaries and…. at the next city election, you make sure you remember why you did so.
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|Your comments:I have been waiting for this column for a while, thank you. I tend to disagree on who is leading the charge, I happen to think it is Commissioner Gold. Not a single meeting has gone on that he hasn’t brought the issue up, citing how he has done research on how much other towns pay their commissioners. He has given a litany of reasons why they deserve it. I for one would love a part-time job where I made $28,000, had an expense account, computer, phone, health insurance and I am sure a number of other perks. -B.L|