By: Roy Trachtenberg
One city commissioner walked off the dais on the morning the most important vote was to take place at a commission meeting. In fact, it was the most important vote in the history of Coral Springs.
On April 6, the chamber was packed for the city commission meeting where the $38 million municipal complex would either pass or fail. Eighteen minutes into the meeting, Commissioner Larry Vignola abruptly left the meeting citing an emergency and he never returned over two hours later.
The issue is no one knows what his emergency was.
When asked, he told one person that his family was fine, and Vignola, who shares everything on social media never once posted what it was that kept him from the most important vote in the history of the city.
Vignola had originally opposed the city hall back when Mayor Roy Gold proposed it back in 2010. If the city hall had been built back then, it would have saved the city millions of dollars. When Vincent Boccard was elected mayor, he enthusiastically supported it. What had changed in just a couple of years?
When our present mayor, Skip Campbell, suggested a different location to save the city money. Larry led the charge against this and for the downtown location. If Larry was so gung ho about the downtown location, why did he miss this important vote?
Vignola is up for re-election this year. Did he get cold feet thinking he wouldn’t get reelected if he voted for the new city hall?
If you watch the groundbreaking ceremony, it was obvious to everyone there Vice Mayor Dan Daley knew that Vignola was putting his reelection interests ahead of himself instead of his civic duty. This is part of Daley’s speech as read by Mayor Skip Campbell:
“I would also like to thank my colleagues. Make no mistake: This decision was a difficult one and I’m proud that this commission decided that doing what was right for future generations of Coral Springs was more important than the next election.” – Dan Daley.
While not voting isn’t an ethical violation, unless Vignola had a conflict of interest that he didn’t disclose to the commission, it is the appearance of evading that important vote that has so many people talking.
We reached out to Vignola, however, at this time we have not heard back.
Roy Trachtenberg is a retired school administrator. He was born in Miami Beach, Florida but spent 35 years in the New York City school system. He is also a retired assistant professor of Education and one of the first to integrate technology into the classroom which he taught to other teachers. He is a former Dean of Education for a community college trade school where he developed curriculum for 9/11 workers displaced because of the terrorist attack. He is married to Sharon Rosenthal and lives in Coral Springs. He has a daughter and 3 grandchildren.