With all the attention on the recycling fiasco a major admission by the city at the budget workshops has floated under the radar. At the June 25, 2018 workshop the Human Resources Director admitted that city employee retirees were supposed to go on medicare when they turn 65 and go off of the city’s health care retiree plan. Also dependents of the retiree could no longer be on the city’s health plan after the retiree turned 65. HOWEVER this was not being enforced. By the city’s own admission this “lapse” cost almost $400,000 per year. Assuming this screw up went on for at least 10 years means the city overspent on retiree and their dependents health care by $4 MILLION DOLLARS. That is our taxpayer money!! Again I ask BURGESS HANSEN, “Who is minding the store”?
One of the reasons why there are no repercussions for the screw up by the city for the $4 MILLION DOLLARS (or more) of the CITIZENS money spent on retiree and their dependents medical benefits is there are NO checks & balances in the city of Deerfield Beach. BURGESS HANSEN, who is ultimately responsible for this $4 MILLION DOLLAR waste of the CITIZENS money, knows he has ZERO oversight from MAYOR GANZ and the 4 other “rubber stamp” commissioners! Even though BURGESS HANSEN’Semployment contract with the city, which he signed on September 7, 2010 calls for annual performance reviews by the commission HANSEN HAS NEVER BEEN REVIEWED!
It is things like this that persuaded me to run for District 1 Commissioner to prevent crap like this from happening again and again.
It now seems there may be an explanation coming from BURGESS HANSEN & Mayor Ganz regarding how it was possible for the City of DB to totally screw up retiree & their dependents health benefits claims. Remember this little screw up has cost us, THE TAXPAYERS at least $4 MILLION DOLLARS and probably a lot more!
Here is Burgess Hansen’s answer from the just released 2019 City Of Deerfield Beach Budget:
“We have responsibly been adjusting the plans and rates to be fiscally responsible without creating a massive upheaval within DFB TRIBE. Even with our recent enactment of non-active (retiree) health coverage, the City Commission and staff were assailed with complaints and resistance to the proper implementation of the non-active health insurance program”.
My Take on the above – I guess we the taxpayers should feel sorry for BURGESS HANSEN because he got some flak from the retirees for finally enforcing what he should have enforced from the first day he was appointed City Manager over 8 years ago. Who cares that he wasted over $4 MILLION DOLLARS OF THE TAXPAYERS MONEY!!
Here is Mayor Ganz’s answer from the July 2nd Commission meeting:
“No it wasn’t discovered for a long time. When we finally said this is a priority, we started peeling back the onion and dealing with it. It’s not something that can turn on a dime and people should realize that”.
My Take on the above – We should all be so grateful to Mayor Ganz for FINALLY making this a priority and investigating it after his almost 10 years of being a Commissioner or Mayor. I guess without wonderful Mayor Ganz this $400,000 per year waste of taxpayer money would have gone on for another 20 years! The total arrogance of Mayor Ganz has no limitations. Do you think there will be any repercussions for this total screw up and waste of taxpayer money?
THE CITIZENS PERFORMANCE REVIEW
OF CITY MANAGER BURGESS HANSEN
The contract between the city manager & the Deerfield Beach Commission was signed on September 7, 2010 or over 8 years ago! Section 12 of the contract calls for the commission to perform an annual review of the City Manager. No performance review has ever been conducted of the City Manager by the Commission. Now maybe, as Mayor Ganz is so fond of saying, the fact that no city manager has had a review in 20 years wouldn’t be of such importance if the city manager was doing an exemplary job for the Citizens of Deerfield Beach which is who he ultimately works for. However year after year there have been major financial mistakes, a lack of transparency, the 11th hour release of vital information to the Citizens & a philosophy of tax & spend. As a result of the Commissions refusal to evaluate the City Manager the Citizens have decided to take it upon themselves to evaluate the performance of the City manager over the last 8 plus years!
The first major area to touch on is some of the monetary issues the City Manager has dealt with. One of his first major decisions was to have BSO take over the city’s fire department. Deerfield Beach is one of only 6 of 31 Broward county cities to turn their fire department & EMS over to BSO. Who knows if this was a good deal for the city because after 6 years there STILL has never been a cost benefit analysis performed on this major transfer of City tax revenue to the County.
In 2012 Burgess Hansen on purpose decided to not pay $3,600 to reacquire one of 6 privately owned beachfront parcels. His reason was he thought it was improper to spend $3,600 of city money at a time when employees were being laid off. The City in 2016 eventually paid Mr. Sweetapple, Mr. Gold & Mr. Spechler $1.7 million for the six small parcels even though there were no other entities wishing to buy that property at any price? Why did Burgess Hansen not work with Mr. Sweetapple when he came in front of this commission in 2014 to possibly work out a settlement or compromise. When questioned about this transaction Burgess Hansen’s only comment was how proud he was that the City was able to negotiate not having to pay the $1.7 million out all at once but instead pay it out over 4 years.
In 2011 Burgess Hansen fought for a new utility tax in an effort to diversify the city’s sources of income to be less dependent on ad valorem tax revenue. His promise to the Citizens was the millage rate would be reduced & stay low after the implementation of the new tax. The millage rate stayed low for two years, 2012 & 2013 and then went right back up to a higher rate than before the utility tax was implemented.
The City Manager has also shown the inability to properly prepare a budget. Time after time examples have been brought up by the Citizens of double counting certain expense items. The proof is in the numbers as starting in Fiscal 2014 through fiscal 2016 the city’s excess revenue over expenses were $8.5 Million, $7.6 Million & $6.6 million for a total of $22.7 million dollars. So much for proper budgeting!
And just recently we have Burgess Hansen admitting it took him years to finally stop paying for over age 65 city retiree medical benefits even though he knew about this mistake all along. Instead of admitting to this major misappropriation of taxpayer money the Citizens were treated to a laundry list of excuses of why it took him so long to deal with this fiasco!
The lack of transparency by Burgess Hansen is also a great cause of concern to the Citizens. This was on full display during the February 28, 2018 special city commission meeting to vote on the $36.5 million bond offering. Why wasn’t the fact that the bond was sold with a 5% coupon interest rate raising an additional $5.6 million not revealed to the Citizens until 20 minutes before the bond was voted on. The Citizens are left with annual debt service payments much higher than originally proposed by the city manager. So much for transparency. This was nothing more than a sneaky financing trick to raise more money then was ever revealed to the public & adding insult to injury the City Manager now refuses to use the capitalized interest fund to pay the initial years debt service on the bond as had been PROMISED to the Citizens & instead takes $2.1 million dollars from the general fund. That is how you create a budget surplus out of thin air!!
Another dishonest moment for the City Manager was during the presentation of the 2017 budget when he refused to explain how total employee salaries for the city was budgeted to increase by over 10%. It wasn’t until months after the budget had been approved by the commission that Burgess Hansen had Amanda Robin explain to the Citizens that the salary figure INCLUDED adding back the 5% salary reduction the city had taken from each employee in 2012. So much for transparency!!
Now let’s look at the City Manager’s decision making. A good example is 3 years ago when he allowed 9 variances for a 10 story cove hotel to Michael O’leary of Bluewater 8, LLC without imposing an expiration of the variances, which allowed the developer to have an infinite amount of time to build the hotel or sell the property. In the meantime the delay is costing the city $430,000 per year in potential property tax revenue.
The City Manager also has failed many times to put existing contracts out for rebidding even when there is proof of poor performance. One example of this was an $805,000 contract to Complete Property Services Of South Florida Inc. It also took him 5 years to put the City’s property & casualty insurance coverage out for bid! Frequent piggyback contracts have also occurred under his watch despite repeated admonishments from various commissioners condemning this practice.
Fresh on everyone’s mind is how the City Manager handled the non renewal of the city’s recycling contract with Waste Management. His inability to have a contingency plan in place in case the Commission did not approve the contract left the whole city in disarray.
It was only recently that the City Manager began releasing required monthly financial reports to the public. This was done only after a Citizen made the Commission aware of this requirement!
What you have just heard are all FACTS, not opinions, relating to the job performance of Burgess Hansen. If the Commission chooses to have a blind eye toward them and ignore everything that has been presented then they are once again failing their fiduciary responsibility to the Citizens of Deerfield Beach. However the Citizens have no use for a City Manager who clearly does not have the necessary skills to perform his crucial job effectively. Thus the Citizens of Deerfield Beach give Burgess Hansen a grade of F for his job performance over the last 8 years & highly recommend the Commission seek a replacement!