Friday, February 1, 2019

City Manager Michael Bornstein: “You’re not off in some far off conceptual place like Washington or Tallahassee.”

And part of getting back to the basics in this City is relearning the meaning of “nonpartisan elections”. A refresher is later in this blog post.

Here is another quote:

“Commissioners, I applaud your willingness to step into the white hot spotlight of public office.
     “In an era of cynical media and in the shadow of the shenanigans in Washington and Tallahassee, local government is where things get done. The gridlock and lack of leadership there makes what you do here even more important.”

Quote. Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo addressing the entire City Commission at the State of the City Address on February 8th, 2018.

And then forty days later, another quote:

“Still have a lot to do but your political footing is solid.”

Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein, March 20th, 2018, addressing the City Commission.

The entire quote by Michael Bornstein is below. But first a little background.

A short time after Bornstein was hired as city manager back in April 2012 to manage this City the long-time Palm Beach Post journalist Willie Howard wrote this opening line in a news report,

After six weeks on the job [Bornstein] is cutting through the tension at city hall, bringing a sense of calmness and teamwork to a city commission known for heated debates and red-eye meetings.

To read the entire news article by Willie Howard click on this link.

Before we get to Bornstein’s quote, briefly, what is going on at the Post now? And what happened to Willie Howard?

Of course, Howard is no longer at the Post but a lot of the public still wish he was. He took a buyout many years ago from Cox Media, the former owner of that newspaper.

GateHouse Media now owns the Post. The publisher wrote in November 2017 that, “It was a business decision, and a particularly tough one, because our [former] owners have personal ties to Palm Beach County.”

But the Post got sold to GateHouse anyway. So much for ‘personal ties’. Willie Howard’s decision to take that buyout looks like a real good one in retrospect.

Without further ado. . .

To Bornstein’s quote and the “[S]ense of calmness and teamwork” to get the work of small city government done, the entire quote from March 20th addressing the City Commission following the municipal elections held the previous week:

“Just congratulations on the return [re-election] of the three of you all, mayor, vice mayor, vice mayor pro-tem. I was speaking earlier to the Kiwanis breakfast and marveling about our election process.
     And for all its flaws and the campaigns that sometimes seem to be difficult, it’s a marvel that we have a peaceful transition of authority and power that occurs regularly and correctly and that the competition and the vetting of ideas and the talking about visions that candidates have when they put themselves up for elected office is something that is just amazing.
     When you look around the world you see people that wish they had representative government that was anywhere close to what we have. We see like in China, where now we have the president for life, I guess, or in Russia where no one dares question whether or not he’s going to be president for life, for all our flaws it [representative government] is a marvel and something we shouldn’t take for granted.
     Having been the student of government, and also my career for last almost twenty years being in government, it’s been a tremendous pleasure working with elected officials, particularly this body, this has been a difficult environment sometimes to work in and for you to work in. [emphasis added]
     You go to the store where your constituents shop and you’re readily accessible. You’re not off in some far off conceptual place like Washington or Tallahassee. And the gridlock and just the craziness, the partisan politics that goes on in those levels of government, we need to keep that out of here and you have done that successfully.
     You’ve stayed focused across party lines. You are all very different but you have a shared vision. And I just wanted to say as your city manager, it’s a privilege to work here and with you and for you. I think we work together very well as a team.
     I truly believe the fact that you did get re-elected, in many ways is an affirmation of the direction that you’ve been given to this organization and to this City. Just going back six years ago when I first got here it’s been a tremendous, tremendous turnaround. Still have a lot to do but your political footing is solid.
     You’re coming from a position of clearly having the people that you represent say, ‘continue on, you are doing a good job’.
     And I just want to say thank you on behalf of the organization and myself and look forward to the next three years or more.” 

Your City Commission. Mayor and
commissioners for Districts 1–4:

Take a few moments and contact your elected leadership. But instead of complaining, like everyone else does, ask what you can do to help.

And a timely reminder, because this City of Lake Worth has a tendency to begin the Election Season much earlier than most municipalities. . .

City of Lake Worth holds what are called
“Nonpartisan elections”.

This is information “Worth Noting”. 

If you’re not exactly sure what ‘nonpartisan’ means, please contact the City of Lake Worth’s PIO,
Mr. Ben Kerr at 561-586-1631 or send email to:

From City of Lake Worth’s
City Charter. . .

“Lake Worth, Florida — Code of Ordinances —
Part I, Subpart A, Article V (Qualifications and Elections), Section 1, “Nonpartisan elections”:

All qualifications and elections for the offices of mayor and city commissioner shall be conducted on a nonpartisan basis without regard for or designation of political party affiliation of any nominee on any nomination petition or ballot.

From the City’s website, “Mayor & Commissioners”:

According to the provisions set forth in the City Charter, Lake Worth operates a Commission–Manager form of government. Authority is vested in an elected City Commission, which, in turn, appoints the City Manager.
     The City Commission is comprised of five members who serve staggered three-year terms and are elected on a nonpartisan basis by residents of the City. The Mayor is elected by a city-wide vote to serve a three-year term as the presiding officer at City Commission Meetings and as the official head of the City of Lake Worth for legislative and ceremonial purposes. The City Commission is responsible for passing Ordinances and other policy directives necessary for the operation of the City.

Thank You for visiting today and hope you found this information helpful.

And one more thing. . .

The City’s voice to the public is public information officer Mr. Ben Kerr.

PIOs are essential to get the message out to the public. For example, about major weather events. We got spared a hurricane last year. But there is always this year.

The point is this: When is it time to prepare for the next Hurricane Season in 2019? The time is now. Don’t wait until June 1st. By then, as a lot of people learned from Hurricane Irma in 2017, it was too late.

Meet Mr. Ben Kerr and the City’s message in September 2017.