By: Sharon Aron Baron
I receive awards and accolades weekly, just because fans want to thank me for everything I do for this city. But out of all those awards, it’s my degree from Tamarac University I prize the most.
You’d never know that I, the creator of Tamarac Talk, attended this grueling seven-week class that delves into the secret world of City government because no one that is affiliated with the City dare mention these two forbidden words: Tamarac Talk.
Those two words alone are enough to cause eye-rolling in the commission chambers. Tamarac Talk to them doesn’t exist, we’re a persona non grata, even though Tamarac Talk gets an undeniably large amount of hits by city staff and citizens.
And they definitely never mention me, the creator of Tamarac Talk, as their most illustrious graduate. Ever.
Why Tamarac University is Important
Here’s why: when the City has those frequent commission seats available. One of the first things you’ll be asked is not about your experience, or education, but if you have ever graduated Tamarac University. That’s because enrollment seems to be a prerequisite for being a commissioner.
About the Course
I decided to apply a few years ago because I thought this would be the only way for me to get a good look inside of the Tamarac jail. The course was well-organized, but there was to be no funny stuff going on during class time due to our very uptight instructor. Former Mayor Beth Talabisco and Commissioner Patte Atkins-Grad were suspended during this time, so we got a quick hello from their fill-in’s, who I might add, were former Tamarac University students.
I took the course along with two of my friends, however, we found ourselves sitting separately in prearranged seating which ended up being a good thing because one quick glance at them would leave me cracking up.
During each class, a different department head would visit and discuss their role in City government, as well as introducing their team. We heard Jack Strain discussing Public Works; Claudio Grande talking about Building Codes and Permitting; the Former Economic Affairs Officer discussing Tamarac Village; the Community Development Director discussing – Community Development, and so many others. We even got a tour of a Fire Station with Fire Chief Mike Burton and his staff where we learned that firefighters had to exercise one hour a day which I found shocking and made me abandon my dreams of ever becoming one.
Back to that tour of the jail.
Before enrolling in the class we had to submit to a background check that would allow us to visit the secret world of BSO in Tamarac. Once cleared, we spent the evening with former Chief Marc Duguay and his staff and learned:
- How Tamarac is much more efficient now that BSO has been contracted by the city.
- Why police walk with their arms out – because they keep hitting the equipment on their waist if they don’t.
- What really is in all that equipment that Deputies wear on their belts. We got to check it out and it weighed a ton.
- How heavy and sweaty those bulletproof vests become during the day. I can’t imagine wearing one of those during the summer.
After watching a public relations movie about the wonderful world of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, we got that tour of the jail and…. Joy! There was already a man locked up for stabbing a person that day.
After that, the jail tour ended up not being very exciting, and we weren’t even allowed to take photos. It was just too clean and too comfortable….not Alcatrazy-looking at all.
After the jail tour, our class went outside to check out BSO’s cool motorcycles and play with the radar guns. We each got a chance to aim them at drivers along Pine Island Road and see how fast they were going, however, once drivers saw our class on the side of the road, they slowed down anyway.
At the end of the evening, we were rewarded in the BSO break room with delicious Dunkin’ Donuts.
On the last day of Tamarac University, after passing our final exam – yes we were tested on city knowledge, we attended the City Commission meeting where we received our diplomas.
You can be like me too
Want to become a famous Tamarac University alumni like me? Then you need to register for the next class which begins this spring. There are many interesting people and departments that make a city run efficiently. Bonus: You get a nifty TU Shirt. This isn’t some lame T-Shirt. City officials sprung for polo shirts that you can wear to all the Tamarac events.
Join the next class soon because applications are due January 29, 2016. The first class starts on Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Classes are led by Assistant Director of Information Technology, James Twigger and Special Projects Coordinator Mike Gresek, Apply online here.
Oh, and don’t mention Tamarac Talk because no one will admit that reading it is their guilty pleasure.