By Sharon Aron Baron
The City of Tamarac is presently seeking residents to serve on their advisory boards and committees voluntarily.
Apply only if you publicly agree with how your officials run your city. Failure to do so will result in the termination of your volunteer position.
Back in 2010, I wanted to make a difference and serve on a committee. The seat was for the Metropolitan Planning Committee’s (MPO) Community Involvement Roundtable (CIR).
I had been concerned with issues involving transportation. Namely, our city’s lack of bike lanes, turn lanes, and most importantly, how we needed more bus shelters. Driving through cities like Coral Springs and Weston, I couldn’t help but wonder why they had beautiful matching shelters throughout their cities. Their city streets not only looked better, but residents had a place to sit while protected from the elements on rainy days.
I spoke to Tamarac Commissioner Harry Dressler about how we could get more bus shelters for our city. He said that transportation issues such as these fell under the MPO in which he was the delegate. I then contacted the MPO and found out that Tamarac had an open seat on its Community Involvement Roundtable that had been open for some time, so I asked to be appointed. The city commission appointed me back in the fall of 2010.
The Community Involvement Roundtable is a committee comprised of public members who are interested in participating in the transportation planning process here in Broward County. The members of the CIR represent a broad cross-section of our population, including members from our cities and community organizations. For over a year, I represented Tamarac at the CIR meetings as the voice of public opinion on transportation issues. This seat had been open for some time.
I found the meetings informative and got first-hand knowledge of upcoming bikeways, road work, signal coordination, traffic studies in Tamarac and around Broward County. The Community Involvement Roundtable is also an excellent watchdog committee to see how state and county tax dollars go towards keeping our cities up.
My volunteer service as the Tamarac representative was going well; however, I believe the nail in the coffin for my service was back in October 2011 when I publicly disagreed with the city’s proposal to spend $3 million of our reserve funds to buy the Colony West Golf Course. I wrote about this on this blog, which upset a few people in the city who favored it, including Harry Dressler.
I’m sure this and other articles I wrote about beautification, park closures on Mondays, and how city officials don’t want to live in our city probably miffed him as well.
In November, I received a letter from Dressler removing me from my volunteer position:
“Thank you for serving at the City of Tamarac Representative to the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Community Involvement Roundtable. We appreciate your commitment to improving transportation opportunities in Tamarac….The City Commission traditionally appoints new members to committees on an annual basis. I feel it is important to afford other citizens the opportunity to serve on this important committee.”
The CIR has members from other cities sit on it for years, and suddenly Tamarac wants to rotate a position that had been an open seat for years.
Unfortunately, Commissioner Dressler does not want anyone who disagrees with him or the city.
So go ahead and accept those city volunteer positions, but I will guarantee that you will be swiftly replaced if you make too much noise.
- Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and Tamarac Talk, Coral Springs Talk, and Parkland Talk. Tamarac Talk was created in 2011 to provide News for the residents of Tamarac and is the #1 News Source for Residents.
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