Broward to Sue Over Ethics Code

Chaz StevensPolitics

Date:   February 4, 2012
From:  Deb Tarrant
Re: Broward to Sue Over Ethics Code – February 2, 2012

The news that Broward County plans to challenge three towns that are attempting to undermine the new Ethics Code is heartening to this Hillsboro Beach taxpayer.  Wilton Manors, Hillsboro Beach, and Sea Ranch Lakes indeed added a very deceptive initiative to last Tuesday’s ballot.  The wording on the ballot appeared to be no big deal, ensuring voters would pass the measure without understanding the actual intent, which was to circumvent the new Code of Ethics.  By stating that elected officials in those three towns need only meet Florida Statutes, the initiative gives officials the ability to ignore the more stringent new Ethics Code.  The impetus for needing the Code in the first place was just this type of shenanigans.

In Wilton Manors, Mayor Resnick is a lawyer-lobbyist who fought the Ethics Code because it banned elected officials from moonlighting as lobbyists.  There’s a reason lobbyists don’t make good elected officials.  A lobbyist, by definition, is paid to represent a client’s interests.  As Mayor of Wilton Manors, the only interests Mr. Resnick should be representing are those of his constituents.

In Hillsboro Beach, Mayor Dan Dodge has a well-paid position as General Manager of the Hillsboro Club, and has time and again put the interests of the Hillsboro Club ahead of the interests of the residents of Hillsboro Beach.  The Ethics Code requires that elected officials with outside jobs reveal who’s paying them and how much, something Mr. Dodge does not like to talk about.  These two men need to be removed from office, not given the green light, via a self-serving referendum, to continue with “business” as usual.

It is my hope that the Broward County Commission sees this manipulative move for exactly what it is – another example of why Broward County needs an ethics overhaul – and votes accordingly in Tuesday’s County Commission meeting to pursue nullification of the ballot initiative.