By Beth Starkweather
As a 20-year homeowner, tax-paying resident of Tamarac, I feel I have to speak out to my fellow Tamarac residents and our city officials.
So many negative articles about the current Tamarac city commission and/or commissioners and their personal and professional actions and ethical/unethical conduct have been in the news lately. If one watches the commission meetings, you know we have a serious city embarrassment problem with the antics of certain city government officials.
What is supposed to be an orderly meeting to conduct city business with decorum has become a personal and politicly partisan charged circus. This nonsense has to stop.
After countless attempts by residents to try to rein in these officials, through certified public Tamarac city emails, 600+ resident petitions, social media postings, and personal pleadings, they have ignored our pleas and continue to act like spoiled children.
There is a resolution on the commission meeting agenda on Wednesday, April 28, sponsored by one of the biggest whining kids, Commissioner Marlon Bolton. He has asked his personal, I mean, city attorney, Hans Ottinot, to write and submit the resolution for officials to recite and agree to a 2000-year-old Athenian Oath.
How much did this cost the city?
The Athenian Oath is nothing more than vaguely promising to be a “good citizen,” and I believe Commissioner Bolton is trying to placate residents with this non-binding recital instead of agreeing to and signing — or following a real legal document.
The City of Tamarac Code of Ethics
The City of Tamarac has an existing, very specific, and legally binding Code of Ethics written into the Tamarac Code of Ordnances, which includes items such as:
- To scrupulously observe the letter and spirit of applicable laws, rules, and regulations.
- Recognize that the main function of local government, at all times, is to serve and promote the best interests of the public
- Keep the community informed on the affairs of city government, emphasize and practice friendly and courteous service to the public, and seek to improve the quality and image of public service.
- Each public officer pledges that he or she will not misuse the office or position, will not participate in debate on any matter which may come before the city commission for decision and which may benefit a family member, client, or business acquaintance, and will not seek or accept any personal profit or gain, or unwarranted favor or privilege for himself or herself, or any relative or another person
- Each public officer pledges not to improperly influence or attempt to influence other public officers.
- Each public officer agrees to be honest, fair, and respectful to others in performing his or her duties as a public officer and agrees to refrain from and avoid conduct creating an appearance of impropriety or which is otherwise unbefitting a public officer, including but not limited to making false accusations or personal attacks against another public officer, or behaving in a rancorous or contentious manner.
- A public officer shall not invest or hold any investment, directly or indirectly, in any financial business, commercial, or other private transaction that creates a conflict with one’s official duties as a public officer.
There are many more covenants to this Code of Ethics, but it does end with: Violation of any of the provisions of this article may constitute grounds for suspension or removal from office, according to applicable statutory and constitutional procedures.
Any advisory board member who violates any of the provisions of this article may be removed from all boards according to applicable statutes and local ordinances. Any elected public officer that violates the City of Tamarac Code of Ethics shall also be subject to censure by 4/5 vote of the city commission. (Ord. No. 2007-22, § 2, 11-28-07)
Clearly, some commission members have violated the Tamarac Code of Ethics at this point. The problem is, this code is only provided to them with a strong suggestion that they agree and sign a copy for public record. When this is written into the City Code of Ordinances, I can’t understand why they are not required to agree and sign it.
I sent an email to the mayor, all commissioners, and the city manager asking them to publicly sign this existing Code of Ethics or provide me with what objection they could have to sign this legally binding document instead of the empty promise 2000-year-old oath.
While I received no answer from the city manager, Mayor Gomez, Vice Mayor Villalobos, and Commissioner Bolton, Commissioner Gelin answered and said nothing is wrong with how the city runs. Placko said, thanks for my interest; they will get to it.
I ask all Tamarac residents since our city officials won’t answer me; why won’t our city officials publicly agree and sign a legally binding Code of Ethics that currently exists in our City Code of Ordinances? What are they hiding? And for how long have they been hiding it?
Tamarac Talk Welcomes All Opinions. Send Yours to Tamarac Talk.