Tamarac’s slogan is that it is “The city for your life.”
If this were true, then why don’t more city officials actually live here?
I’m not talking about the Mayor, Commissioners and the Advisory Boards. I’m interested in why directors and department heads that are on the city payroll do not want to live in our city.
While I can understand some logistics that may prevent an employee of the city from moving here, it would be make sense if the city offered a bonus for the employees who are actual residents of Tamarac.
Employees that choose to live in our city.
Longtime Tamarac resident Laura D (who didn’t want her real name used) said, “I believe that part of Tamarac’s ‘improvement’ issues is because the city’s management team and employees do not live in Tamarac.”
According to Section 2-56.2 of the City’s Code, residency requirements provides that “Each member of a board, committee or commission of the City of Tamarac shall be a resident of the City.” If our elected officials are required to be residents of our city, then why can’t city officials? Tamarac employees should be encouraged to live in the city that the mayor and commissioners are required to live in.
Many of Tamarac’s highest paid employees, Department Directors, don’t even live in Tamarac.
Many of these directors whose salaries both you and I pay, live in Coral Springs, Parkland and other areas. The only exception is Building Director Claudio Grande who has lived in the Sunflower neighborhood in Tamarac with his wife for over 20 years.
This is Tamarac’s only director that lives in our city.
The City of Tamarac’s most important employee doesn’t even live in Tamarac. Instead, he chose to live in Parkland. City Manager Mike Cernech told my neighbor last year that he moved to Parkland because it has better schools. If this is correct, our own City Manager, who is one of the highest paid and influential employees for the city, doesn’t want his children to attend Tamarac schools.
I believe we have great schools in Tamarac. The teachers couldn’t be any better than the ones that teach at Challenger Elementary, a school where I chose to have my daughter reassigned. The students at Challenger are representative of our population here in Broward County: Caucasian, African-American and Hispanic. Whenever I hear someone wants to head north for “better schools,” it instantly raises my suspicions.
Are “better schools” code word for schools with more white people?
City Manager Cernech isn’t the only one that clocks out at city hall. City Clerk Peter Richardson also heads north each day, as well as Community Development Director Jennifer Bramley and Finance Director Mark Mason.
Assistant City Manager, Diane Phillips, Public Works Director Jack Strain and Information Technology Director Levent Sucuoglu also don’t have a Tamarac address.
Both Human Resources Director Maria Swanson and Parks and Recreation Director Greg Warner don’t have a Tamarac address. Police Chief Marc Duguay goes home to Cooper City and Code Enforcement Manager Mark Woods cannot possibly be as passionate about code enforcement as our residents since he heads home to beautiful Boynton Beach everyday.
Even our recently hired Fire Chief, Mike Burton didn’t buy a home in the city that pays his salary.
I would consider Director of Community & Economic Affairs Officer Andrew Berns somewhat of a Tamarac resident. His home in Lauderhill is just a stones throw away from the Tamarac line. Berns also owned a condo in Tamarac for many years and although he lives nearby, he patronizes Tamarac businesses on a daily basis.
“Tamarac officials don’t see our city with the same set of eyes that residents do,” said Laura D.
“They don’t see the trash everywhere like we do, or drive back and forth looking at the same shoddy fences and landscaping that line our streets. They probably don’t notice the dirty sidewalks that haven’t been pressure cleaned right outside of the community center.”
Our Tamarac officials are missing the big picture when it comes to making decisions about our community. They don’t wake up each morning and see residents standing at inadequate bus stops with no shelter and benches. They don’t see the broken down fences and lack of beautification that we see on a daily basis. They probably don’t even notice the garbage that lines our streets that is not getting picked up on a regular basis. Since they don’t stick around for recreational time with their families, it doesn’t matter that our parks are closed on Mondays even though no other city closes their parks on this day!
Laura D. adds, “Because they don’t live here, they probably don’t drive around Tamarac much. Anyway, I think that’s why the community has to complain constantly and bring all our issues to them in order to get them to see the problems and to get them to do anything.”
I believe citizens of Tamarac have a vested interest to make this city a better place.
Things can look a whole lot nicer when you leave your job at the beautiful city municipal center and head north each day.
We should change our residency requirements so that all top level employees of the city actually live in the city. This way they can know and appreciate the community they represent.
Not just when they’re on the clock.
Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Tamarac Talk, Coral Springs Talk and Parkland Talk.
Tamarac Talk was created in 2010 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Tamarac.