In preparation for a motivational retreat, 36 city department heads and mid-level supervisors submitted what they thought were anonymous job surveys in which they spilled out a mix of glowing praise and strong criticism for colleagues, higher-ups and city politicians.
The Sept. 17 retreat would be cancelled after emailed comments by its hired organizer rubbed the administration the wrong way. But the comments lived on, their authors’ anonymity breached by the fact the surveys were public documents, affording a rare inside look at West Palm Beach city government.
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Staff writer Joel Engelhardt contributed to this story.
Timeline of the proposed West Palm Beach city retreat and surveys:
May 7: Bob Kodzis, president of Flight of Ideas, Inc., pitches services to city for leadership retreat.
Aug. 1: Surveys distributed via city e-mail, with note from Kodzis that they’ll remain anonymous.
Aug. 27: Human Resources Director Marta Vittini resigns at end of six-month probationary period. City alerts Kodzis, who responds with harsh comments about city. He later apologizes.
Aug. 29: City signs contract for retreat, set for Sept. 18 at Gaines Park.
Aug. 30: City emails contract to Kodzis. Later that day, city notifies him contract has been terminated. Kodzis advises he’ll destroy surveys to preserve anonymity.
Sept. 3: City Attorney Claudia McKenna advises Kodzis not to destroy surveys, as they might be public records.
Oct. 1: Former city utilities director Lenny Corrigan obtains surveys through public records request.