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A Lesson to Be Learned: Do Your Homework

Posted by on Jun 23rd, 2014 and filed under Business, Feature, Politics, Publisher's Message. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

waste proBy Dan Samaria
June 23, 2014

I have not as yet completed my investigation into Waste Pro and their relationship with the Biscayne Park Commission, the Administration and all the other cities that have outsourced them or are attempting to do so.

The Commission and the Administration of BP should not have rushed into hiring Waste Pro in just five months to outsource their Sanitation Department; they could have taken more time.

Especially when they had until June 13 (not June 1 as they led the residents to understand).

To submit to Dade County the fees that the residents, would have to pay for their sanitation for the upcoming year.

Something happened last week in North Miami Beach that shocked me. A sitting council did their homework, listened to their residents and didn’t rush into hiring a company to handle their sanitation department.

If this administration along with the commission did their homework like North Miami Beach did maybe they would have had a different outcome. And they would still have what over 327 residents wanted, which was to keep the sanitation in house.

This is something that was not done in Biscayne Park. Maybe this commission needed to listen to the residents, do their homework and not believe everything that their City manager says just because they hired her. As a commission it is their job to watch over the city manager to be sure she does what the commission wants, after all she works for them not herself.

There is nothing that can be done to stop it since they submitted to Dade County the lower amount of the Sanitation fee that the residents would have to pay. All we can do is show and prove to the residents that this commission and administration cannot be trusted on anything that they do in the future.

If anything good can come out of this, it is that maybe the residents will more pay attention to what they do in the future. Especially since the city’s budget for the upcoming year will be starting soon.

This commission needs to start from zero and explain to the residents on every penny that they spend.

This reporter will be doing just that as BP’s budget process starts in the very near future.

In case some of the residents of BP didn’t know, the present city manager of NMB is their former City Manager Ana Garcia. And while she was here she was pushing the past commission of BP to go after outsourcing of our sanitation department and our present city manager is following her lead.

Here is briefly what happened: the City Council ruled 4-3 against privatizing the sanitation department in NMB. Some of them didn’t believe the numbers that Garcia was telling them that they would save money, along with that the residents would get the same level of service but a lower cost.

City Manager Garcia promised the council that the workers would be reassigned to other city positions or they could go with Waste Pro.

Doesn’t that sound like what we were told by our city manager word for word? Garcia also said that they had to do it to help offset a projected $3 million dollar shortfall that they will have in their upcoming budget.

Some of the council members wanted the staff to look into getting more bids and a better deal especially since the present bid was over two years old. The city spent $50,000 from a consultant for their report.

Garcia informed the council “I would never recommend anything that would reduce services”. She also gave her word that the projected of $2 million dollars per year could help the city big time with the financial crisis that the city faces. Isn’t that what Biscayne Park’s City Manager said to their residents and commission?

The three members that were against out sourcing were Vice-Mayor Frantz Pierre, council members Anthony DeFillipo, Phillis Smith and Beth Spiegal.

One of the members Smith said that the staff should not have relied on proposals that were nearly two years old. She also said “You mean none of the staff, including my city manager didn’t feel that maybe, 21 months was too long…that maybe we should rabid?”

Council member Spiegal didn’t believe that the city was going to save $2 million that was promised by Garcia.

“What I haven’t heard is how the numbers that I have received reflect a reduction of what we would charge our residents if we outsourced. So the $2 million dollar in savings isn’t really there,” said Spiegel.

DeFillipo accepted from Garcia that they outsourcing their sanitation would save money, but that she should go back to the sanitation union to see if she could more from them.

“Coming from a family that was in the sanitation business, I know these dumping sites are getting full and so the rates will only get higher. With concessions from our union employees, there are opportunities we have not seized, “said Defillipo.

The two members that voted for outsourcing was Mayor George Vallejo, Councilwomen Barbara Kramer and Marlen Martell. They blamed the other members of the council of being irresponsible for claiming that they should have more studies, they were also shocked that they would question the city manager and her staff about their numbers.

“We found an area where we can maximize our revenues but now saying no?” Martell asked the other members of the council. “Let’s kick the can further down the road. Let’s leave our community centers without bathrooms, air conditioning and so forth. That’s what you’re saying.

That is what they all say, if we don’t do this it will hurt our kids and we will go broke if we don’t do this. If I am correct that each department should have money to pay for their department. They need to stay in their budget and if they don’t then they should make cuts to do so.

Every American lives with a budget and we try not to spend more than we make or we set aside for that area of our budget.

The question I want to ask every residents of Biscayne Park is: if NMB is willing to take their time do their homework and they have a bigger budget than us, Shouldn’t we have done the same?

What went on in Biscayne Park? Was this incompetence or something else!

Stay turn we will try to answer that question…


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