Candidate’s Comments in Article Anger Mayor and City Commissioners

Boccard at Wednesday night's meeting upset that him and three other commissioners are referred to a "gang of four."

Mayor Vincent Boccard at Wednesday night’s meeting, angry at comments one candidate told to a reporter.

By: Sharon Aron Baron

In a heated city commission meeting on Wednesday, commission members addressed a recent article in The Forum where Candidate Howard Melamed called them a “gang of four,” and said they did not have the skill sets required to move the city forward in the right direction.

“They are trying, but their best is not good enough.” said Melamed who is running for city commission in November to The Forum (article below). “They lack experience, especially business experience. They are not fiscally responsible. You got to be independent; these people are not.”

Melamed also said that the City does not need to carry a $28 million debt for the new city hall. “If I’m elected, my motion would be to reduce spending on City Hall to $18 million.”

Vice Mayor Larry Vignola disagreed, and  at the City Commission meeting on Wednesday said to Melamed, “As far as $28 million, I’m glad you’re coming close to the number now. But the City Hall itself will be $23 million. The garage would be the rest. Hope you go ahead and look over the numbers. Look over carefully, and in the future I would hope you look at the numbers and use the correct numbers as we go forward.”

In the article, Melamed said that the City should have provided relief to residents and businesses by adopting the roll back rate for the new fiscal year.

“What we have this year is a five percent [tax] increase. Many of our residents are hurting financially. Melamed expressed his concern that the city manager’s office announced that they had a $1.8 million surplus and then said that they would not adjust the budget, since a million dollars is really not a lot of money.

City Commission meeting on Wednesday evening

City Commission meeting on Wednesday evening

At the meeting Melamed told the commission that a million dollars is a lot of money and the extra money could have been used to purchase computers for all of the schools, add more Police SRO’s to the schools, or rebate to every homeowner in Coral Springs $250. Melamed mentioned a possible stimulus plan, where the $250.00 can be given only if spent on businesses in Coral Springs.

After reading the article, Mayor Vincent Boccard wanted to set the record straight.

“You want to be the best, look the best? You’re going to get the best, and I think that’s important. I’ll continue to support moving this City forward, whatever it needs to do. In spite of doing this, we’re fiscally responsible. We didn’t raise the taxes this year. People say give the money back. I won’t support that. We need that money down the line. We generated more money this year because of that tax increase.”

“A few years ago when I ran for Mayor, my whole platform was about continuing the City in a direction we were going,” said Boccard. “We’re flat, we were a stale City, and we were going nowhere. We got through a recession, which we struggled. We were financially prudent. We got through that. Now it’s time. The economy is coming back. We’re in competition with every other City in Broward County. We’re looking to draw the residents and big business that rebuilds the tax base, we bring jobs and pride back to the City. We lost our way. We’re doing nothing different than anybody wouldn’t do. We’re reinvesting back into this increase.”

Boccard then addressed the article where Melamed referred to four of the commissioners as “The Gang.”

“I’ve heard over and over and seen it in publications and I’ll respond to this: describing Vincent Boccard, Vice Mayor Vignola, a gang of four,” said Boccard. “I think Claudette would be a part of the gang and would be proud of the accomplishments we’ve created as a team. We’re not a gang.”

“We represent the citizens of Coral Springs. You make decisions based on what you believe is right as we all do. I don’t know how you feel about that, Claudette, but you’re a part of this team as well because you’ve made great decisions along with all of us. There’s no gang up here.”

Commissioner Dan Daley said he was a little fired up himself because he felt he was personally attacked.

“This is an election cycle. People are throwing things out there, and you know we’re seeing a lot of misinformation coming out. It’s just throwing stuff against the wall. You dig down and see what Coral Springs is all about, we’re the most transparent commission, mostly engaged with all of our citizens. We have public meetings. We roll things out with the public in mind. We just didn’t decide to build the City Hall because it was the right thing to do or something we wanted to do. I won’t serve in that City Hall, but it’s the right thing to do for Coral Springs.”

Daley was especially concerned with employees at city hall, and apologized for statements in the article by Melamed.

“I want to apologize for staff because you didn’t sign up for that. You put in more hours than any employees I’ve seen. I’ve worked at State government. You put in time and effort that I’ve never seen before to try to make this community better, and it’s not fair to you to have someone take cheap political shots at the direction this city is headed.”

“When people are going out there and making up information, it’s a really, really sad state of affairs. It really is,” said Daley. “That’s not how we do things in the City of Coral Springs. We don’t put other candidates down. We don’t talk trash about our City. If you love it so much, stop making up information. Stop trying to burn it to the ground.”

When I contacted Daley to clarify what information is being made up and what he meant by talking trash about the city, he replied he was too busy to talk, and would reply if to any questions via email.

City Commissioner Claudette Bruck did speak after the meeting and said that she wasn’t even aware of the Forum article. “I saw the article today, but hadn’t seen it prior to the meeting. I’m there to just be myself, and to do the next right thing for the community.”

Bruck did tell say she was concerned about the new City Hall. “What I’ve heard is that people are concerned they aren’t being able to make a decision about the City Hall. My question is, how will we pay for this City Hall? I’m looking forward to the information that will be provided at the next workshop.”

In a phone interview Melamed said, “They’re upset because I’m bringing to the attention of the citizens of Coral Springs their poor decisions and lack of respect of the citizens right to decide on major purchases, like a $28 million dollar City Hall…including the parking garage.”

“There was nothing personal in my attacks. The current gang simply lack the skill set it takes to run a business, let alone the business of a city with a $100 million dollar budget. That is why they are attacking me since they cannot handle the truth.”

The actual article has not been published online.

The actual article has not been published online.

About Sharon Aron Baron

Sharon Aron Baron Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Coral Springs Talk. CST was created in 2012 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Coral Springs, Parkland and the rest of South Florida.

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  • Ira

    Meanwhile, Boccard campaigned on being AGAINST the new City Hall–then did a 180 after he was elected. And a multi-level PARKING GARAGE? So city employees don’t get wet walking from their car to the office?

    I mean, how many CS residents ever have to visit City Hall ANYWAY?

    The problem isn’t “attacks” by Melamed; the Commissioners have a problem with ANYONE questioning their “brilliant” decisions, which are in fact pretty stupid and self-centered. (Why not ASK the residents if they want a $30 million City Hall, and I’ve said it a hundred times–when they say $30 million, that means it’s going to cost $40 million.)

    What a debacle.

  • Disappointed Voter

    Ira, you’re 110% correct. They cannot stomach disagreement. Mayor Boccard actually said they were a “gang of 4” in the last meeting. They don’t know they work for us and I think we should show them by never reelecting any of them, starting with Powers this November for Mayor. I don’t know Skip Campbell, but I know Powers, and Powers lost my vote by being one of these jokers.

  • BL

    BTW…Melamed has named a commission a gang before, this is not the first time. That was back before there was term limits…but apparently he is still living back in those days and has no new material. If he was so dedicated to this city, why does he only have negative things to say and write about the town and their commission? He used to like Boccard, but now that he is running it seems to have changed. Never liked Daly, when he was elected wrote a column about how Coral Springs Elects a Kid as city commissioner…a little condescending. Age does not make you an intelligent person, acts and deeds do. I personally have been very impressed how level headed and mature he is for one so young and gives me a little hope for the future of our country.

  • jhkilroy

    a 5% tax increase ? say what !?!? obama promised me that only the ‘ rich ‘ would see an increase in their taxes !!!

  • Jo

    The current mayor IS a Bully!! He black balled several high profile, hard working citizen volunteers simply because they did not support his campaign. His personal vendetta was ignored by city officials who stood by and watched it happen. He stood over me pointing his finger in my face and told me that if I did not like the way HE was running things, then I should move. Nice! I have no issue with the other commissioners, only that three of them have become his puppets on a string which is sad. I feel for the citizens of Coral Springs (since I am happily no longer one) and hope that they pay attention, open their eyes and vote for the candidates that can check their egos at the door and actually do what is right for the city.

  • CS Independent Citizen

    Howard Melamed is very well qualified for the Commission. He is a very successful business man. He does exercise common sense which is what this city needs. Some people may not like the way he comes across, because in reality he tells the truth and sometimes this is hard to accept. If people want a person who will take into account what is really needed from a practical standpoint, and not in his interest, they will like what Howard Melamed has to say and elect him.

    All of the Commissioners, when asked about anything such as City Hall, say that Coral Springs residents told them what they want (i.e. the new City Hall) and they are merely responding to what the residents told them. My question is who out there in the City has been asked about the City’s spending priorities, if they want a City Hall, and if they want all of those “extra features” that are driving up the cost to $28M? Let’s take a poll on how many of us have been personally contacted and asked. I bet the results would be scary.

    Why does the garage need to cost so much out of the entire project? When you dig into the details, apparently the 330-car parking garage is to accommodate not only city hall visitors, but the people in the new downtown that is expected to be built around it. Here is an Idea: Worry about City Hall parking only, not parking for the rest of the needs of businesses around the area. Why do we need another such big garage when we have one not far away from City Hall? How much of that Garage on the SE corner of University and Sample Rd (right near City Hall) gets used at the moment?

    Boccard is quoted in a Sun-Sentinel Article as saying “The building will have a “grand presence in our community and you should know you are going to this”. And why is this “grand presence” needed? Question: Who goes out on “Date Night” with their significant other and says, how about we have some dinner and go to City Hall for fun? How many of our youth walk on over to city hall on a regular basis?

    As of June 4 this year other details, like “possibly solar panels to reduce the electric bill and a rooftop garden”, will reportedly be elaborated on later. And why do we need a rooftop garden for a space that is meant to conduct city business and hold commission meetings?

    Reported by the Sun-Sentinel, City commissioners will also get their own offices (in the new building). In the old building “there was currently one office reserved for commissioners but it was being used by a secretary. If a
    commissioner has a meeting with a constituent, they share the room with the secretary. “It’s unprofessional,” said Vice Mayor
    Larry Vignola. “We need someplace with a desk and a computer.” I hate to remind these commissioners, but their job is “PART TIME”. They are not ALL meeting with constituents ALL DAY LONG. They usually post limited office hours. And most of them have a second job. Dan Daley goes to law school and has a business. Answer to this problem: Coordinate your schedules. That is what schedules are for. You don’t need a comfy place to work. You need to be out in the community most of the time. Again it is a part time job. The city is run by the City Manager (which is a full time job) and warrants a permanent office, but for him or her only.

    The Commission should be asked to show proof of the citizens voicing this need for the City Hall. I bet all they will produce is some study by a committee that in fact did not get much participation by the residents. Probably an overwhelming amount of input came from City Staff or committees of a relatively small number of people. I or my neighbors never received any written request for input. We never received any phone calls or emails or a city commissioner coming to my door to ask us. Where is the proof of this input?

    Is this really a city hall that our citizens think would do the job? Or is it just a nice palace for the City Staff (many of which are paid over $100,000 per year) to work? Ask the city to produce a count of how many staff make over $100K, and I am sure the residents will be shocked to know who makes how much and what job they do.

    Here’s more to consider: Check out this article from only 2 years ago in the Sun-Sentinel when then Mayor Roy Gold was proposing a City Hall. Seems they were mostly against it not too long ago. ( http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-03-04/news/fl-coral-springs-city-hall-20120304_1_parking-garage-commissioner-vince-boccard-answer-questions ) . Check out the comments by then Commissioner Vince Boccard and Larry Vignola. And at that point the projected cost was $25 Million (less than what it is now).