Terminating Anderson’s Apopka contract could be costly, but must be done.

Several weeks ago, we learned through various media reports that a lawsuit had been filed against City of Belle Isle City Manager Richard Anderson, by the victim of a hit and run car accident. Mr. Anderson is also a well-compensated Lobbyist/consultant for the City of Apopka and also draws two excellent pensions from Apopka taxpayers. When he retired in 2014, he also received almost $400,000.00 in compensation. That is a LOT of money for  a public servant to receive, courtesy of Apopka City Taxpayers.

In February, after it was disclosed that Mr. Anderson was in fact NOT registered to lobby on behalf of the City (I do believe that situation has since been remedied), and again two weeks ago, after details of an accident involving his Dodge Ram pickup truck, I called on the Apopka City Commission to immediately terminate the 2 year contract Anderson has with the City. Finally, the City of Apopka has come to the same conclusion. After news of this accident came out, The City of Apopka, via a letter from the City Attorney, informed Mr. Anderson that his contract was suspended and facing termination at the upcoming Apopka City Commission meeting, this Wednesday June 1st. Citing Section F(1) of the Mr. Anderson’s contract with the City, the Apopka City Attorney asserts that Mr. Anderson’s conduct relating to this accident has in fact been a breach of said contract.

And how did Mr. Anderson respond to this news? Did he humbly accept the consequences of his actions? Was he finally forthcoming with details of the accident? NO! Mr. Anderson chose to take a HUGE bite of the hand that has fed him for over 40 years. Digging in his heels, Anderson hired one of the most expensive law firms he could find, to “put [Apopka] on notice that [he] rejects [Apopka’s] assertion that he breached any duty… Therefore, any effort by the City to terminate the agreement will be treated by us as a default on your part, and will be actionable.” In summary, rather than do the right thing, Anderson has chosen once again to hide behind high price lawyers and a clause in the contract that is at best, open to interpretation, giving Apopka residents the back of his hand and the threat of a lawsuit. WOW!

Giving Mr. Anderson EVERY benefit of the doubt, the City responded by saying they would be “more than willing to listen to any sworn explanation of the circumstances that have resulted in the events surrounding the hit and run”, but the explanation must also include why Mr. Anderson did not inform the City of the accident after it happened, in the manner of a sworn affidavit. Even giving Mr. Anderson till 5:00 pm Tuesday May 31st, giving him one more opportunity to save face. Will Mr. Anderson avail himself of this last minute opportunity to come clean? Will he finally do the right and respectable thing? I have no illusions about this; nothing he does will surprise me.

Unfortunately, even with the extremely poor behavior and the exceptional lack of  judgement Mr. Anderson demonstrated in this matter, the City may still be left holding an expensive bag. According to Section I (1B), of the contract, Remedies, “for any default or early termination by the CITY, payment to RDA as liquidated damages an amount equal to twice the total monthly retainers… for each month of the remaining term of the initial two year term..”. Folks, it could still end up costing  Apopka taxpayers over $100,000.00 for the immediate contract termination. Unconscionable! Apopka is screwed no matter what, but if the City votes to terminate Anderson’s contract on Wednesday, perhaps we can finally be rid of this drain on Apopka’s resources and get the fresh start we deserve. At least it would be the end of the line of the Apopka gravy train for Mr Anderson. And Mr. Anderson, if I was you, I’d start carrying an umbrella with me when I walk in the rain.

 

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Terminating Anderson’s Apopka contract could be costly, but must be done.

Why is LANGD Board Membership so important to Apopka’s Mayor

Apopka Florida residents learned another lesson this week from our intrepid mayor. If you hold your breath, stomp your feet and hold a grudge long enough, some dreams do come true. In a war of words a few months ago between Apopka’s Mayor and the President of Lake Apopka Natural Gas District, letters going back and forth between the two became an issue just before our City’s elections cycle in February, with the Mayor rather rudely starting one letter  with “what is the continuing purpose” of LANGD? It seems that several Apopka nursery growers and businesses were expressing dissatisfaction with the rates they were seeing from LANGD, even though rates had been addressed two years earlier and a 5 year agreement had been reached. At that time, I wondered aloud what exactly was the real issue was here. Was it Mayor K’s desire to sell Apopka’s share (2/5) of LANGD to possibly private interests. He actually stated in another letter written to LANGD how Apopka could benefit (about $10 million of quick money), to bring community pools, splash parks, gathering spaces and skate parks to our Great City (coincidentally, all items mentioned in Apopka’s Wish list Visioning Process). The money’s gotta come from somewhere.

Mayor K has also made no secret of his hurt feelings about not being appointed to the Board by Mayor Land, after he was elected Commissioner in 2012. And he has not stopped trying to get on the LANGD Board ever since, finally seizing the opportunity after the City’s April election. Commissioner Arrowsmith, who previously sat on the LANGD Board,  recently lost re-election so the Mayor finally saw the opportunity he was looking for, to appoint himself. But why replace the experience of Commissioner Dean with the close ally of the mayor, Commissioner Velazquez? O wait, I just answered my own question. Commissioner Dean, rightly upset by this very abrupt turn of events and during a rather rancorous Commission meeting this past Wednesday, stated his objections. But hell hath no fury like a mayor insulted.

Mayor K smugly and arrogantly stated his opinion and even got into with a citizen who spoke up about the secrecy surrounding the appointments, even telling this resident, “put your name on the ballot, get elected and then you can be on the Natural Gas Board”. I did not see if this was followed up by the Mayor with a “nany nany boo boo”. It that really the way an elected official should be talking to a citizen he represents?

For a candidate who touted complete transparency as the cornerstone of his campaign when he ran for Mayor two years go, this administration has, for the most part, been shrouded in secrecy, last minute pronouncements, and a lot of rug pulling out from a number of peoples’ feet. And it has been done in a “because I’m the mayor and you’re not” fashion. I don’t know about you, Apopka residents, but I am tired of our City being “led” by an egotistical walking, talking temper tantrum. I am tired of the condescending attitude the Mayor gives any citizen who dares to speak up in disagreement at Commission meetings. I am tired of the secrecy of this transparent administration. I would respectfully ask the Mayor to stop tripping over his ego and start leading this City.

Why is LANGD Board Membership so important to Apopka’s Mayor

Richard Anderson’s latest role: Person of Interest

Retired City of Apopka Fire Chief with a NICE tax-payer funded pension. Retired City of Apopka CAO with a SECOND VERY nice tax-payer funded pension.Consultant/Lobbyist for the City of Apopka, who until recently fulfilled only half of that job description, yet collected ALL of the taxpayer funded $22,000/month salary for doing what? Since Apopka’s Mayor refuses to demand accountability for this expenditure, we don’t really know what he does to earn this ridiculous salary. City Manager for the City of Belle Isle FL, not sure of the salary but I’m sure it’s not peanuts. In short, public trough feeder extraordinaire. Mr Anderson is also listed as President of the John Land Apopka Community Trust Fund. Where DOES he find the time for all this?

And now, Richard Anderson’s latest role: person of interest in head-on hit and run crash. A truck registered to Richard Anderson was driving the wrong way on a two-lane highway and crashed head-on to a gentleman’s vehicle. The accident was bad, leaving the 2nd driver with serious and permanent injuries and heading to a hospital, via chopper. Witnesses who came on the scene gave the police a general overall description that matched Mr. Anderson. They said he was talking on a cell phone and then just walked away, didn’t check on the other driver, nothing. Even left his truck there. And still not being held accountable, thinking he’s too good to talk to police, the press or the public. Weasels like Anderson typically walk between the raindrops, always finding people willing or indebted to help them connive, figure and buy their way out of trouble. I hope not this time.

In a perfect world, here’s what should happen to Mr. Anderson: his luck should run out. For starters, a criminal investigation, followed by a civil one into this accident.  He should at the very least be suspended from his City of Belle Isle job. The City of Apopka should immediately terminate the lucrative consulting contract with Mr. Anderson. And the Board of Directors of the Apopka Trust fund should immediately terminate Mr Anderson’s relationship with the Fund. In February, after news came out that Mr. Anderson was not in fact a registered lobbyist, I called for his contract to be terminated, for him to return the money paid to him by the City up to that point, paid under false pretenses, and I called for an ethics investigation at the Apopka City Commission Meeting. NONE of this has happened up to this point.

And lastly, I call upon Richard Anderson to stop hiding behind lawyers and people who probably owe him, man up and admit his role in this accident. Tell us what happened and accept any consequences of your actions. Understandably, no one wants their lucrative gravy train to come to an end. But enough is enough, Mr. Anderson, even for you.

Richard Anderson’s latest role: Person of Interest

Should Apopka end the City of Life Foundation Gravy Train

About 7 months ago, Apopka Mayor Joe Kilsheimer introduced the citizens of Apopka to his pet project “Apopka Begins and ends with an A”. Typical of many liberal feel-good programs and with a heavy dose of it’s for the kids and this IS who we are rhetoric, the program and it’s main goal was that all schools in the Apopka Community will achieve an “A” rating from the Florida Department of Education. In a 5 page proposal, the Mayor laid out a non-specific plans towards achieving that nearly unattainable goal. Filled with flowery, lofty language and liberal buzz words and catch phrases that don’t mean anything, the Mayor then announced he’d already committed $20,000 to an organization called the City of Life Foundation, a group with whom the Mayor had a 10 year association with, including being its President from 2011 – 2013. The group had already chosen the first two schools to work with.

As far as I can tell, that was the last we heard of this program until a presentation about this program was done at last month’s Commission meeting. I personally did not expect much from this presentation except more non-specifics about how great the program was doing but how much work remained to be done. And I was not disappointed. Not unexpectedly, the report was long on back-patting and very short on actual program achievement specifics. The presenters even admitted that the goal is at best, a moving target. In fact, we were told that this program actually is not all about the “A”, but about the students and hopes this program expands to all Apopka schools… at $10,000 per school, I am sure that is a BIG hope. Like most government feed-the-beast, gravy train programs, success won’t be measured by concrete results or accountability measures, but by how quickly more taxpayer money can be obtained to expand the program. The presentation was also very long on liberal  “it takes a village” rhetoric. As long as the target continues to move, we have no choice but to continue to throw more taxpayer money at this program; after all it is for the kids.

Then yesterday, a blog post by City of Life Orlando was discovered, singing the praises of George Soros, a “self-made” billionaire. For those who are unfamiliar with Mr. Soros, he never met a far-left, Socialist destructive cause or policy he did not support. He has poured millions into far-left and new world order causes and organizations, Common Core, among others. He strongly supports Mr. Obama’s wish to fundamentally transform America. Wanting to find out if there was any connection between this organization and the City of Life Foundation that came to Apopka last month to appeal for thousands more in taxpayer money, I researched. And found that these two organizations are in fact the same.

So, Apopka citizens, I have a question for you.  Are you willing to continue to throw thousands upon thousands of dollars to an organization with very little to show for that money, but makes a hero of far-left Socialist George Soros? I won’t even get into the whole public schools as indoctrination centers theories, but it is very disconcerting that our Mayor sings the praises of and appeals for more money to fund an organization run by friends of his that in turn support leftist causes and individuals. Is this who WE are?

 

 

Should Apopka end the City of Life Foundation Gravy Train

A month in the life of Apopka FL

WOW!! It sure has been a busy 4 weeks in Apopka FL, population about 41,000. It started on Tuesday April 12, when about 5,000 Apopka voters were able to find their way to the one polling place in our City, The Apopka Community Center (Formerly the VFW Hall) to cast their ballots for Seat 3 and Seat 4 Commissioners. Incumbents Sam Ruth (Seat 3) and Bill Arrowsmith (Seat 4) were voted out of office, in favor of newcomers Doug Bankson (Seat 3 Commissioner) and Kyle Becker (Seat 4 Commissioner). Many were surprised by the results and wondered what happened.

The Commission meeting of Wednesday April 20 was well attended and many came mostly to wish Commissioners Arrowsmith and Ruth well, to thank them for their service and hear some closing remarks. But Mayor Kilsheimer was having none of that. After breezing through one of the quicker meetings in the last two years, the good Mayor was just about to adjourn the meeting, when Commissioner Arrowsmith spoke up and asked to deliver some final thoughts. And so, with his patented combination sigh/eyeroll move, Mayor said, “well, I guess we will be here a few more minutes”.. WOW! Cold? YES! Disrespectful? Absolutely!

What follows is a brief summary of what has occurred since that meeting. All these events  are indicative of leadership that seems to have lost touch, a “complete disconnect”, as one person put it, with the Citizens of Apopka. And so, in no particular order…

Recreation Fees: Fall-out from this proposal will be felt throughout the summer months. Many parents do not want these fees imposed and emotional pleas and appeals were made at the City Commission meeting this past Wednesday. Symptoms of a gimmee society?  I must say I agree with Commissioner Billie Dean, who addressed the meeting in part saying “We cannot have our cake and eat it too. This is not the time for the City to say ‘We can give you all these amenities you want for nothing'”. Nothing is FREE. Someone must pay for these services.

Fire Chief Bronson – last seen Tuesday afternoon leaving a meeting, not seen on City property since. No one in City Hall will talk… Must be that transparency thing the Mayor is always talking about. Or maybe a cone of silence, or a gag order.

City Center Development Deal – more delays.  Another 30 day extension granted. Signed early this year with the provision of no more than one 30 day extension, we are now on the 3rd or 4th extension. Said Mayor K – “I’m pushing the staff to say this is a good deal. If this were an easy deal, it would have been done already”. With the recent announcement of the closing of Mosquito Creek, is a City Center REALLY a good idea right now?

Old Florida Outdoor Festival – Purchasing irregularities? Did the City violate it’s own purchasing rules in arranging for vendors, talent and rentals to put the Festival on? And did this City run-event make even $1.00 back?

3 months to fix a sidewalk.. While the City shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars without even thinking about it for the OFOF, it is taking 3 months to fix a simple sidewalk for an Apopka family, causing them much inconvenience. The reason remains unclear.

Apopka Begins and Ends with an A – after a lengthy, back-patting presentation of the progress made with this program (spoiler alert: NO discernable results were detected) from the City of Life and the principals of Rock Springs Elementary and Lovell Elementary, it was determined that much more must be done and much more spent before any tangible results could or would be achieved.(Hint: it takes a village to raise a child philosphy was evident throughout). I am preparing a detailed analysis on this program and will  publish it in the very near future.

So, there you have it.. a month in the life of Apopka Fl, population about 41,000.

PS – I am using the photo of City Hall in the hopes Mayor K will not threaten me with a lawsuit or something..

 

A month in the life of Apopka FL