By: Sharon Aron Baron
New office furniture may have been under the threshold to require a commission vote, but in the end, the commission did vote for it by approving the cost in an amended budget.
Although City Commissioner Mike Gelin stated the commission didn’t make the decisions regarding new furniture, this may not be the complete truth.
Through a public records request, Tamarac Talk obtained documentation that the $45,000 worth of furnishings for the commission was never a part of the 2018/2019 operating budget. It was ordered in November or December – after last year’s budget was approved.
The fiscal budget begins in October and runs an entire year. Instead of waiting until the next fiscal budget — October 2019, the commission approved the amended budget adding $45,000 under “Increase city commission budget for the purchase of office furniture.”
On January 22, 2019, Tamarac Spokesperson Elise Boston responded to our inquiry.
“If you’re referring to this fiscal year, nothing has been purchased,” said Boston, who stated in December 2018, new carpeting and painting had already been completed in the mayor and vice mayor’s offices.
In an interview with Commissioner Gelin regarding his expenditure of over $11,000 in new furnishings, he stated commissioners do not make the purchases or administrative decisions — the city manager and staff does.
However, the amended budget, signed on April 10, 2019, by him says otherwise.
His signature was one of five members of the commission who voted to approve it.
Although the city provided Tamarac Talk all costs on furniture expenditures, Commissioner Gelin became highly defensive on the dais on September 11.
“We cannot allow non-professional, fake journalists like Sharon Baron to make these statements,” he said at the last city commission meeting.
Gelin further stated that he offered to buy his office furniture; however, City Manager Michael Cernech turned him down. He said Tamarac has a $60,000 minimum threshold before any vote; therefore, there was never a need to vote for it. However, every member of the commission did vote for it when they approved to add the cost to the amended budget.
Angry over our last article, Gelin said Tamarac Talk doesn’t report all the more substantial expenditures they do vote on.
“You don’t report on the fact that we voted to approve spending an additional $65,000 to ensure the water problem that happened in Fort Lauderdale does not happen in Tamarac or the millions we spend on city cars, trucks and fire trucks….”
Gelin compared essential items benefitting the greater good of the city and its residents to justify $45,000 spent on redecorating commission offices — benefitting only the person who uses it, and the few who visit.
April 10, 2019 addendum to the budget below: