Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Final Budget Statement

I would like to once again thank everyone for their hard work and great input regarding the proposed budget. At the end of the day, none of us can live up to everyone's expectations, but we have all expressed our opinions, provided our input and made our positions very clear.

The bottom line is this...although we have not all agreed, we do have a working budget and it’s taken us a short while to get here. This was my first budget that I have worked on since being elected as commissioner and it was an enlightening, time consuming and difficult process to say the least. My sacrifice of time and research has definitely been great, I hope that all of us have learned much, and I trust that we will continue move forward to make our city even better than it already is.

At times, I know that city business meetings have become cantankerous, raucous and downright attacking. Most of the time, it has stemmed from two things, misunderstanding and extreme political maneuvering. I also think that a lack of communication has played a major part in it also.

We have all attempted to correct this problem to no avail and as city leaders, we have failed, as we have been all talk and no action. It has become more apparent to me that someone must on the dais must step up and call for an end to the attacks and division that we on this dais have encountered. I have done so to no avail.

That’s what leaders should do, that’s what they are expected to do and how they are expected to conduct themselves. It seems that we have gotten into an endless cycle of attacks followed by vicious retaliation. I know, because I have been on the giving and receiving ends of both! I even heard recently that one of the current candidates, who is up for election or re-election, was again bad mouthing me to many of our residents while on the campaign trail. I was told about it and had to laugh as I considered the source of the attacks and their long term ramifications.

Even though my resignation has been called for, I’m not resigning, and I’m not up for re-election! My intention is to continue to work for the residents to improve the conduct of our business meetings, and I fully intend to serve out my term. Unfortunately, political correctness does indeed allow other people to trample all over you.

Last week, I was also attacked by many for something that I said which was misconstrued by others to mean something else. And I reacted in a way that may have been inappropriate from this dais. For that, I offer my apology. For my part and for what I contributed to the attacks both on the dais and on my website and this Blog, I’ve heard you loud and clear. I also heard Mr. Farrell loud and clear regarding morale and the pay cut debacle. I agreed and it immediately died right then and there but some chose to spin the issue for political gain.

Going forward, I would hope that any present or past member of this administration or any citizen who wants to know how any of us here feel about certain issues contact the one for whom you question instead of orchestrating an attack on them. I have attempted to make myself one of the most accessible Commissioners through not only the standard means but also electronic media yet it was unfortunate that it has not been taken advantage of.

I say, don’t believe innuendos, rumors or make assumptions. That goes for the upcoming election also! Don’t take at face value what you are told about another candidate, especially by those who are running or who are up for re-election or from those who run their campaigns.

Talk to them directly, question them, spend time with them and then make your decision. You may just find that what you may have heard about them is very different than what you hear from them!

The view from the dais is definitely different than the view from the floor or on TV. This looks easy, but its not, and it’s easy to sit out there and say ‘I can do that’ but few of you have.

A friend of mine was asked if he would run for a commission seat and he responded, “Why would I want a low paying job where someone is going to take shots at me, my family and friends all the time?” Touché!

Those simply are the cards that we are dealt as elected officials. The truth of the matter is that everything personal and political appears to be fair game when it’s really not. The last election proved that! That’s not right but it’s just the way it is here in Cooper City and we need to drastically change that or our city will never recover from its negative publicity. We are not responsible for what someone else says to us or about us, but we are judged by what we say at every turn, even when it is misconstrued and twisted by the political opposition.

Tonight, I am recommitting myself to be a voice for the people of Cooper City and for my constituents. I will not initiate or respond to personal or political attacks since it would be an exercise in futility and detract from my real purpose and goals, but make no mistake and let me be clear...I will not back down from issues that I think and know are important to the values, well being, civil rights, health, welfare and safety of our city, and its Citizens. My voice for the people and for this great city is now stronger than ever, and that will continue.

To each and every one of you on the dais, to those in this Administration, to those who work in this city, and to those live in and do business in our city; whether you agree with me, support me or not, I vow to work together with all of you to help our city go from being in the 'top ten places to live in the United States', to being number one on that list! I hope that all of you are there to support me and the entire Commission, to make Cooper City number one and work with me to help make that happen. Thank you.

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