Decorum in Tamarac City Hall: The Conventions of Polite Behavior

HarryDressler-Jan2013

Tamarac Vice Mayor Harry Dressler

By:  Patti Lynn

Watching a political meeting requires a modicum of humor. Were it not so, the observer might fly into a veritable rage of anger. Three, five, seven, or even nine individuals are in control of other people’s lives, living conditions, and money. Their behavior is sometimes documented in news stories or etched in our memories.

Some of the former, elected officials in the City of Tamarac have been much more contentious in their public behavior than their present counterparts.  How many times have we heard about the former Vice-Mayor Ed Portner tearing his toupee off of his head and throwing it at Mayor, Joe Schreiber? How about the numerous times the sexual harassment complaints against two former commission members were revisited?

Does anyone today believe the “That’s how they behaved in their day,” excuse? That seems to say, it’s okay to be a lecher, as long as you’re an “elderly” lecher? We thought that disgraceful behavior was long gone. Maybe not.

In 2013, we’re being exposed to a new type of behavior. People are lining up to decry the behavior, calling it non-decorous, unbecoming, unwelcome, and worthy of censure.

Me? I call it dignified and proper.

Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines decorum as, “Propriety,” and “Appropriateness to the purpose or circumstances, suitability, rightness, or justness.”

Therefore, I’d like to offer my thanks to Vice Mayor Harry Dressler and former Mayor, now Commissioner, Pamela Bushnell. Thank you both for behaving in a manner so appropriate for the circumstances.

Imagine having to sit on a dais, with your fellow elected officials, and pretend that everything is hunky-dory. Imagine sitting there, trying to work with a fellow commissioner who looked you in the eye, and lied to you. Try to put yourself in the place of a commissioner being forced to deal pleasantly with a commissioner who, angrily, called you a bitch, in public.

Try to visualize conducting business with another elected official who has claimed that she isn’t smart enough to know that she’s being bribed, yet, was smart enough to lie to you about how she financed her car, or her victory party. How civil would you be?

Atkins-Grad takes a phone call while the Vice Mayor speaks

Atkins-Grad takes a phone call on Wednesday while the Vice Mayor speaks

Again, the residents of Tamarac should be proud of Vice Mayor Dressler and Commissioner Bushnell. They very politely at first, asked Commissioner Patricia Atkins-Grad to step down, tender her resignation, and maintain what little dignity she had remaining. The entire commission, save Atkins-Grad, examined what steps could be taken to assure that all taxpayer monies due to Atkins-Grad, would be paid to her, even if she immediately stepped down.

What a foolish, foolish bunch they were, those elected officials. They were acting politely, believing that Atkins-Grad would be embarrassed, ashamed, regretful, and repentant. Instead, they found arrogance, superiority, condescension, and haughtiness. Behavior that was not, as Webster defined it, “Conforming to established standards of good or proper behavior or manners.”

Thank you again Mr. Dressler, thank you again Ms. Bushnell. You stood up for the people of Tamarac. You were acting, and continue to act, based on the conventions of polite behavior. It must be very discomforting to know that Broward County residents may consider you as, “One of those Tamarac officials.” You have openly apologized to the employees of the city, knowing that they, too, may have been painted with that same brush of corruption that has colored Patte Atkins-Grad.

Your dignity and respect are intact. Your behavior should be applauded, not condemned.

Decorum. You epitomize proper decorum. Thank you.

About Patti Lynn

Patti Lynn has been a Broward County Resident since 1963 and a Resident of Tamarac since 2001. Retired as manager for the US Post Office, she is the mother of two children and has a grandchild. Patti is currently the President of the Broward Coalition which is a coalition of condominium associations, homeowner associations and community business organizations representing over 100,000 families in Broward County. She is also on the Board of Directors of Mainlands 8 of Tamarac Lakes 8.

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  • SaveTheMainlands

    Hi Patti,
    I have to disagree with your assessment of our Commissioners. I feel that Dressler and Bushnell are both suffering from selective indignation. The politics in Tamarac have remained very much the same. We only have to look at the recall PAG committee to see it.

    • Woodlands Sect 7

      Aren’t you the one that complains about the Kosher mafia in Tamarac? You sure complain a lot about your beloved city but you have a problem when citizens band together to get rid of one of the corrupt commissioners that sold out your beloved Mainlands? Either your lazy or your part if the problem around Tamarac. Oh let me say. I signed the petition.

    • Patti Lynn

      Thanks for the comment. I know that we have a LONG way to go, but, who was it who said, “….every long journey begins with the first step….” Stay involved!!

  • Woodmont Resident

    I just wrote a reply yesterday with a positive comment towards the vice mayor. Please see it. Coincidentally this article reiterated my same thoughts. I believe he had a right to defend himself from anonymous lies that were posted in an anonymous blog. I agree that he should call her out in the commission chambers. It is against sunshine laws to do so privately.

  • Michael

    Mrs. Akins- Grad behavior at the meetings is absolutely disgusting. I can’t believe that she is allowed to conduct herself in such a rude and unprofessional way. She interupts others when they are speaking, she is texting and allowing her phone to beep while her colleagues are speaking, what the hell is wrong with her? Anyone who thinks that not only given the facts that she took the bribes, admitted she did and said she was incompetent to know any better, but think that her behavior as commissioner is acceptable, well then they are in the same class as she is, class-less.

    • David

      Michael, Gotta agree with you. Class-less. Why didn’t they throw her out of the meeting. Why is this woman staying in office when so many people want her gone?

  • Adriane

    I look forward to moving to Tamarac, and watching the Commission more closely. Hopefully the ridiculousness will have calmed, and the new Commissioner will re-establish decorum, and begin to deal effectively with the real issues that face the District. This side bar circus cannot continue, as it detracts from the very real issues that residents face every day. Stop the sniping, wait for the recall, and get back to work.

  • clarice smith

    Polite behavior? I’ve noticed that the entire commission has displayed anything but politeness in their efforts against Atkins-Grad. As a matter of fact, viewing on TV, one entire session was devoted to burning AG with only one exception. Isn’t it time all of you got back to work and stop behaving as fifth graders? I do mean ALL of you