Commissioner Burdick Off to a Good Start

New County Commissioner Paulette Burdick is off to a promising start. TAB was impressed with her challenge to several Consent Agenda items at the December 7th meeting. Among them:

  • She raised concerns with increasing fuel flowage fees at local airports, siding with the Aviation and Airports Advisory Board, which voted 4 to 3 against establishing the fees for the North County and Pahokee Airports and raising them at the Lantana Airport at its October 8, 2010 meeting. The other commissioners had no qualms about over-riding the board in search of revenue. They voted 6:1 for the fees with Ms. Burdick in sole opposition
  • Ms. Burdick had an item moved to the 12/21 BCC meeting in order to explore local sources.
  • She questioned the rationale for library warehouse leasing.
  • She sought measurable performance standards in PBSO Law Enforcement Trust Fund (LETF) grants. Ms. Burdick noted that perhaps legislative relief was in order to allow these grants to be used in other circumstances, pointing out that the sums being considered could have otherwise been used for the Drug Farm or Eagle Academy if the statute were amended. Administrator Weisman deflected her questions to PBSO. (NOTE: For TAB’s view of the LETF, see below.)
  • Most encouraging was Ms. Burdick’s opposition to the acceptance of a US Justice Department Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), Hiring Program Grant award in the amount of $2,634,400 for the period of September 1, 2010, through August 31, 2013. While no matching funds are required during the grant period, there is a retention period of 12 months after the grant ends. The ongoing cost, assuming these ten officers are retained would be almost $1 million/year. The other Commissioners and Administrator Weisman expressed minimal concern – basically saying ‘what’s a million dollars in a four hundred million dollar plus budget?’ or ‘why worry about something 4 years down the road? Another grant will come up.’ The item was passed 6:1 with Commissioner Burdick opposed.

Kudos go to our newest Commissioner for considering the economy, the tax-payer and the long-term implications of ‘free money’. Keep it up!

NOTE: TAB considers the current operation of the LETF to be the Sheriff’s equivalent of the Commissioner’s “slush funds” from a few years back. The statute states clearly that the funds can only be spent on a narrow list of items, but PBSO spends the money on whatever they choose, with minimal justification. In September, the LETF was used to fund Cultural Council items that had been cut by the BCC. Today’s line item had funds for local charities. To see how much of a stretch this is – read the justifications: HERE

Florida Statute 932.7055 lists these as the only approved uses of LETF funds:

“… the support or operation of any drug treatment, drug abuse education, drug prevention, crime prevention, safe neighborhood, or school resource officer program(s). The local law enforcement agency has the discretion to determine which program(s) will receive the designated proceeds …”


One Response to “Commissioner Burdick Off to a Good Start”
  1. Randy says:

    pbso does whatever it pleases, so when will people wake up?

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