Regarding the editorial “Weisman’s damaging rant,” Inspector General Sheryl Steckler is a contract employee of the Palm Beach County Commission, and a county ordinance empowers her to look for corruption in county and other local governments. That ordinance also protects her employment and gives her unusual independence within county government.
Funding she receives from cities is the subject of a lawsuit that the county is defending against. Ms. Steckler engaged in a power grab to try to have the courts grant her further independence by asking to enter the lawsuit as an independent entity. She was advised that the county would have to fight this, to preserve the legal structure of the county, and the county attorney did so on behalf of the commission.
The inspector general’s actions made us adversaries in court when we should have had a unified front against the cities. The inspector general is supposed to ensure that others follow rules, yet she ignored those that applied to her. The county was proven correct by the courts, even after appeal. Does The Post criticize this irresponsible action by Ms. Steckler? No, it criticizes me for talking about it. Last week’s commentary by Dennis C. Lipp also misstates virtually every part of the history of the inspector general and my involvement.
I will follow the rules in challenging Ms. Steckler’s job performance before the inspector general committee. There will be an outcry from her supporters. There should have been a public outcry over her actions led by a thoughtful press. The Post’s bias is not a surprise.
West Palm Beach
Editor’s note: Bob Weisman is the Palm Beach County administrator.
Best chance at fighting corruption is through OIG
It is becoming clearer by the day that the Palm Beach County Office of Inspector General (OIG) was critically flawed in its design.
As the office is constructed, did Inspector General Steckler really have a chance against the likes of such insiders as Clerk of Courts Sharon Bock, County Administrator Bob Weisman Palm Beach Gardens City Council member Joe Russo, who, among others, sabotaged her efforts while refusing to reform or relinquish the slightest amount of power? The wishes of the electorate be damned.
While a few bad actors have been exorcised from “Corruption County,” the bureaucracy and political environment that allowed it to thrive is largely in place. The voters could replace the clerk and other elected officials, but the public’s best chance to safeguard our interest long-term is still a well-funded, independent OIG. County commissioners should reprimand Mr. Weisman or ask for his resignation. Are we to believe that his tactics have their approval? Or are we corrupt beyond repair?
DAVID L. PARKS
Palm Beach Gardens
Let Steckler do her job
I cannot believe the gall of Palm Beach County Administrator Bob Weisman. Three-fourths of the voters were tired of the antics/criminal behavior of elected officials, and voted to have some type of oversight. Enter the Office of the Inspector General. Not so fast.
The cities said we won’t fund her office. Mr. Weisman calls for her firing. Now a proposed settlement says she can keep her job, but only if she agrees to do her job blindfolded and with her hands tied behind her back. The only thing that would make this worse would be if The Post didn’t inform the people of what is going on.
The water management district gives a sweetheart deal allowing billboards on public land. The health care district turns down free land to instead give a sweetheart deal to a “friendly” real estate company. West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio buses voters to protest a road that might go by her property in Ibis. Feel free to add your own examples. We really need to clean house.
Fix parking mayhem at Kravis
Regarding the letters about people leaving the Kravis Center early, I was at Kravis two nights recently and saw the maze of folks (young and old) sneaking out early right across the front row by the stage. Rude is not the word.
But the reason for getting out quick is simple: the parking situation. Kravis has work to do. Put some organization and flow into the mass exodus, and the situation will improve. The valet is not smelling like a rose, either. Masses of folks are standing around, and even when their number is called they cannot easily get to their cars. If you don’t get there fast enough, your car is driven off to the side.
The Kravis should get its act together. Those who are now fleeing earlier will feel less like doing so if they know they can leave without waiting for what seems an eternity.
Palm Beach Gardens
Obama up against roadblock in Senate
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, in her eagerness to critique the president (“No bully in the pulpit”) ignores the two obstacles he must overcome, obstacles whose combination is unique in American history: an almost evenly divided Senate governed by a rule that requires 60 votes to pass any significant legislation and a Republican minority that for five years has had one overarching goal: Whatever President Obama wants, no matter how otherwise desirable, stop it.
No amount of Ms. Dowd’s naively suggested schmoozing would obtain the cooperation of Sen. Mitch McConnell or his Republican adherents. Democratic elections have consequences, including senatorial elections in deep red states. But the Senate’s filibuster rule is an anti-democratic rule that also has consequences. Perhaps Ms. Dowd has an antidote for that?
BRUCE A. MCALLISTER
Laws won’t keep guns from criminals
I have read with interest the letters that support increased gun control. What those letter-writers and the general public don’t seem to understand is that all the laws in the world would not keep guns out of the hands of criminals, the mentally unstable and those who would like to do harm. I write this as an 80-year-old who has never owned a gun. But I respect the Second Amendment and believe all law-abiding citizens have the right to bear arms.
West Palm Beach
The ’50s only good for white males
The writer of the letter “No, it’s not 1950s, and that’s a shame” bemoans the passing of the ’50s “when you could still pray in school, when the Ten Commandments were displayed, when Christmas was Christmas and Easter was Easter …” The ’50s began with McCarthyism, saw Jim Crow laws and lynchings throughout the South, anti-Semitism in the North (see “Gentlemen’s Agreement,”) women relegated to the kitchen and GLBTs non-existent. Only if one were a male WASP were the ’50s idyllic.
West Palm Beach
Reform military laws
before more scandals
Regarding “Lawmakers act to curb military sexual assaults,” is the U.S. military suffering from amnesia? Have they forgotten or simply ignored the Tailhook scandal?
In September 1991, at the gathering of 4,000 U.S. Navy and Marine Corps officers, a number indulged in parties and out-of-control drunken behavior at the Las Vegas Hilton. Eighty-three women and seven men claimed to have been victims of indecent assault — groping, harassment and removal of clothing. Nearly 150 officers faced disciplinary measures, and the scandal caused the resignations of others.
Apparently, very little has changed in the military mindset. Why has the president turned his back on this continuing scandal? An undisciplined military is a threat to our national security.
Palm Beach Gardens
Editor’s note: Last week, President Obama said of sexual assaults in the military, “We’re going to have to not just step up our game, we have to exponentially step up our game to go after this hard.”