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IN MY OPINION


Hallandale Beach

Mayor Joy Cooper

Joy@mayorcooper.com

@mayorcooper 


Friction at the Monthly Workshop concern residents

By Mayor Joy Cooper

This past Monday, the City Commission conducted our monthly workshop. Once again, we addressed our advisory boards. The four boards we discussed and debated at length were: Marine Advisory Board, Parks and Recreation, Pension Board and Unsafe Structures. This item, due to inexcusable behavior of the Commission, took over 2 hours plus. Monday’s meeting, overall, with the workshop and CRA Board, lasted from 6 PM to 1:30 AM.
During the meeting - residents, volunteers and past Commissioners were singled out by some of the Commission in an adverse way. I tell you this, because if you truly care about the City of Hallandale Beach, these are things that you certainly need to know.
I finally spoke out against this behavior and stated: “our residents deserve better”. While many of our tremendous residents do not have the time to watch the meetings on TV, they just do not realize that this continues. As the Mayor of this City, and I am sure you will agree, it is my obligation to keep all informed.
I want to thank so many people who have called me, and reached out to ask what can be done? That is indeed something that you can stand up and tell the Commissioners to stop what they are doing. I can only continue keeping my duty as chair - and to do my utmost in keeping decorum. Most importantly, I want to thank all our wonderful volunteers that give so much of their time to make this a community that they are proud of - 365 days a year!
Since it was a workshop, no formal actions were taken, but it was discussed to transfer the duties of the Marine Advisory Board to the Parks Board or set it up as adhoc. This board has worked very hard with staff and the county on the City Marina. They also worked for years to reduce speeding on our portion of the Intracoastal. Regretfully, the county and State Fish and Wildlife would not - and still - stands firm on keeping it as is. The board also was helping with boating safety awareness during special City events and hurricane preparedness.
The Parks Board discussion is where the dialogue got ugly and straight-up political. There are many members on this board that supported the other candidates in the last election. The discussion was not about how hard they work, how cohesive they are - and more importantly - how over 60 percent of our residents are very pleased - or pleased with our parks. It was more about getting rid of this hard-working group of volunteers. The board members suggested that it remain at 10 members, two per each Commissioner. They also spoke out about. If there is a reduction in membership, each Commissioner appointment should be automatic.
There has been this ongoing issue raised about the Mayor and Vice Mayor having two appoints on some board and the Commissioners only one. The argument was this “stacks the deck”. Not my words. I have been stressing that this has been the practice for years - and not the “Mayor’s rule” - but a City rule. If there is a desire to change it - that is not the problem. My argument has, and will remain, rather than reducing the number of volunteers on the boards, they should be increased. The more involvement, the better. To me and others, this makes sense and allows the boards to remain intact, and the Commissioners to have the same bite of the apple.
There has been other misconceptions of the control over the boards. Once a person is appointed to the board they represent the entire Commission. They are to work with the board as an independent thinker; to add their interests as a resident, their knowledge of our City and expertise to formulate ideas and help to recommend changes to the commission. The Commission can take the advice or not. The Mayor, Vice Mayor and Commissioners each have one vote as final decision makers.
The next board was the Police and Fire Board. This board consists of one Police member, one fire member, one member appointed by the board and two residents of the City. For many years, Commissioners who are also residents of Hallandale Beach, have served on this board. I believed the is a good thing as there is an additional desire to insure the pension investments - serving as stewards of both the pension trust and City taxpayer dollars. As a resident of our City, I have served on this board.
The Police and Fire Pension Board has the fiduciary duty to manage the pension trust. The goal is to protect trust and ensure all the obligation to the retirees and members are protected. It is extremely important to have knowledgeable people on this board. There is an ongoing philosophical difference with pension board membership.
Since the Commission approves the union contracts, some believe that a Commissioner should not sit on the board. This is not illegal, but just believed it is a conflict. It is ironic that the police and fire each have a member that also ratify the contracts. The problem with this is there is an actual ignorance of what the pension board should be doing. It is solely to managing funds, making sure investments are making money and benefits are distributed. The pension board does not negotiate. Each member is there to protected assets of the pension.
When and if conflict ensues from members or the City, the pensions board has their own independent special legal counsel to advise us on the issue at hand. Our positions as a board are just that as a board. The Commission has taken a position that Commissioners cannot serve. If changed, this needs to be an ordinance change.
The Unsafe Structures Board is required by state statue. Its membership is set by that state and includes various trades and specialties. This board makes judgment on whether to deem a building for demolition. It also hears appeals to building issues.
In June, the City Manager will be bringing back an item with a plan to implement all the exchanges discussed over the past three workshops. Depending on our priorities, the type of board and whether there needs to be changes to our code of ordnances.
Please visit our city website at www.cohb.org for more information on all our meetings and meeting agenda material.


Please visit our city website at www.cohb.org for more information on all our meetings and meeting agenda material.

As always please feel free to contact me anytime with your questions concerns and ideas at 954-457-1318 office, cell/text at 954-632-5700 or email me a joy@mayorjoycoper.com.

I also welcome the opportunity to come to your next meeting to review our budget and other city issues anytime.

Call the above number to schedule an appointment.