By Sharon Aron Baron
When the press isn’t being so kind, what does one do?
Buy a paid press release.
The news has been unfavorable for Vice Mayor“ Mike “Executives Don’t Do the Dirty Work” Gelin, especially coverage of his unprofessional behavior on the dais.
If anyone argues that picking on Gelin is racist or any other crap, know that I am equal opportunity when it comes to corruption and elected officials. I was on the recall team to remove a former commissioner, pointing out every ridiculous thing she said or did after her arrest, the subsequent not-guilty verdict, and her reinstatement on the dais, which lasted less than a year. She was White.
$300,000 Disparity Study
On March 2, Gelin pitched a $300,000 disparity study that could allegedly benefit his wife, Shaheewa Jarrett Gelin, founder of the Broward County Black Chamber of Commerce.
Sheheewa bragged how the disparity studies would help her affiliates get a piece of the $41 million spent by the City Of Tamarac.
“We need to get in on that!” she told Ann Marie Sorrell of the Mosaic Group in the video.
His lone supporter of the disparity study was Steven Meza, Gelin’s community liaison (assistant), who spoke in favor of the study at the commission meeting. Meza, who answers to Gelin, is a Tamarac employee who made a public pitch for his boss’s $300,000 study. It was out of line and inappropriate.
Minutes after, Gelin pitched another idea. An Anti-Corruption Act. Quite the 360 to his earlier pitch.
His PR piece in the Tam-A-Gram
In January, residents were outraged at Gelin’s four-page brochure in the quarterly Tam-A-Gram, calling it “a piece of election propaganda.” They asked why the taxpayer funds were used to publish and distribute it.
According to the public information office, the mailer was paid for from the city commission’s “initiatives” account.
Not to be confused with a campaign account.
Gelin claims he isn’t a rubber stamper like the “rest” who vote on what staff brings to them. He’s one of the “true policymakers. ” who actually reads things.
But we’ve heard otherwise. Allegedly Gelin spends his time on the dais texting with a colleague or watching sports on his phone. We don’t know for sure, but the texts should be examined.
Ok, back to the press release titled “Vice Mayor Mike Gelin fights for Prosperity for All, Mayor Gomez Opposes.”
It doesn’t sound like his latest actions bring prosperity to his constituents. And by the title, it already looks like he is gearing up for a mayoral election against Michelle J. Gomez.
The puff piece, written by his community liaison, Meza, is about how the evil mayor said no to his $300,000 study, even though Commissioners Debra Placko and Elvin Villalobos voted no as well., Only Commissioner Marlon Bolton had his back. But it’s easier to blame the mayor.
Which press release plan do you think Gelin purchased?
According to Red Broward, in 2018, former city attorney Sam Goren asked the Florida Commission On Ethics if there was a prohibited conflict of interest by his company Gelin Benefits Group having an existing business relationship with the Broward Sheriff’s Office, whom the city has a contract with
While the Commission On Ethics stated the company’s deal with BSO posed no conflict of interest because it was signed before he was elected, it did highlight the problems faced when an elected official solicits business for a personally owned company from other municipalities and government entities.
On June 23, Commissioner Elvin Villalobos requested a civility and decorum item on the commission agenda — another waste of agenda space — and had to ask Gelin to pay attention instead of watching basketball on his phone.
Villalobos asked for a “concession” from city staff for the retreat. Which later prompted an exclamation of “Oh my God.” from Gelin, who told Villalobos that he didn’t know what “concession” meant. After a few words, Gelin stormed out of the meeting.
On June 8, there was another heated exchange with Villalobos after accusing Gelin of using the city’s official NextDoor account. “Just remember this isn’t your page. It belongs to the people of Tamarac,” said Villalobos.
I can’t quite figure out the biggest embarrassment to the city was his proposed $3.5 million track at the Sportsplex or calling out the deputy in public during an awards ceremony, making national news.
His inappropriate actions were seen around the Nation.
In September 2019, in an event honoring Broward Sheriff’s Office “Officers of the Month” at Tamarac city hall, Gelin took the microphone and asked Deputy Joshua Gallardo to return to the front of the chamber.
“You probably don’t remember me, but you’re the police officer who falsely arrested me four years ago. You lied on the police report. I believe you’re a rogue police officer. You’re a bad police officer, and you don’t deserve to be here.”
No one doubts Gelin’s arrest was unwarranted. However, his behavior was uncalled for and unprofessional for a leader. For over a year, Gelin could have walked across the parking lot and conversed with Gallardo at the district office — but he chose to take the spotlight off the ceremony awarding officers and turn it into an embarrassing event.
A day later, the Broward County Police Benevolent Association withdrew its endorsement of Gelin.
Gelin is both impulsive and immature to remain on the dais. When a political figure resorts to purchasing puff press releases, they are either trying to clean up negative press on Google or jockeying up for a more prominent position.
My money is on both.
- 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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