Self-interest, handcuffs, and the Palm Beach County Commission

Tuesday, the Board of County Commissioners will have a workshop on how they can improve their own lives by trying to extend their terms and damn the public interest if it doesn’t coincide with theirs.

They’re planning to vote on whether to try and overturn term limits by putting a charter amendment on the ballot that allows them to hold onto their jobs for twelve years instead of eight.

Related: Palm Beach County Commission to workshop extending their terms

The staff research on the issue was biased in favor of what they know their bosses want. Given that, it’s hard to blame them for weak research.

Let’s talk about the difference between public service and self-serving.

If the proposal to attempt to extend their terms were about good government, they would forbid all current county commissioners from being allowed to participate.

The charter amendment term extension would only apply to future county commissioners and not any current ones.

Don’t hold your breath on that one, though.

The current crop of commissioners ran for office knowing they could only serve two four-year terms. Now that they’ve tasted power, they want to change the rules, so they benefit.

It’s not about you, the people, or good government; it’s about them.

If the commissioners indeed were interested in good government, they would workshop on how to forbid any future county commissioners from voting to place on the ballot anything that benefits county commissioners personally.

The level of secrecy and the planned deceit on this is disgusting.

True, it’s all public record and available to the public if they know where to look, but no one talked about it. Why didn’t anyone know about this? Where was the media, and why didn’t they inform the public this was happening?

My sources tell me that the language of the charter amendment will try and make voters think they are voting for term limits.

Term limits for twelve years, though.

The disdain this shows for the public is sickening.

70.7 % of the voters in this county voted for term limits.

It got on the ballot, not based on the self-interest of seven people, but by a volunteer signature-gathering effort of hundreds of civic-minded citizens from both political parties.

Eight-year county commission term limits got on the ballot in 2002 because it was the people’s will. If the commissioners think, after the last two years, that the people want to give them more time, they’ve already been in office too long and no longer have any idea what the average person thinks.

Corruption is also a substantial yet unaddressed issue.

There haven’t been any indictments of Palm Beach County Commissioners in over ten years.

It’s at about the eight to ten-year point when county commissioners think the rules don’t apply to them.

Over ten years ago, four out of seven Palm Beach County Commissioners got arrested, and many think a few more should have been.

The commissioners all had one thing in common. Every single one of them had served longer than eight years.

To their credit, none of the eight-year limited county commissioners have gotten in that kind of trouble.

In Palm Beach County, term limits are an anti-corruption measure.

The public needs to save this county commission from themselves, and I say that with no intent to cast aspersions on the character of any of the commissioners, but they’re human beings.

If an environment is rotten, we can’t be sure how those who inhabit it might eventually turn out, and neither can they.

There’s so much more to be said, and I’m going to say it column by column.

Call and email your county commissioner if you want to have your say.

District 1 District 2

Commissioner Maria G. Marino
Office Phone: 561-355-2201
Email: [email protected]

Vice Mayor Gregg K. Weiss
Office Phone: 561-355-2202
Email: [email protected]
District 3 District 4

Commissioner Dave Kerner
Office Phone: 561-355-2203
Email: [email protected]

Mayor Robert S. Weinroth
Office Phone: 561-355-2204
Email: [email protected]
District 5 District 6

Commissioner Maria Sachs
Office Phone 561-355-2205
Email: [email protected]

Commissioner Melissa McKinlay
Office Phone: 561-355-2206
Email: [email protected]
District 7

Commissioner Mack Bernard
Office Phone: 561-355-2207
Email: [email protected]

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