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Group asks Abruzzo to withdraw audit request of PBC ethics commission

by Jennifer Sorentrue | April 5th, 2013

A nonpartisan research institute is urging state Sen. Joseph Abruzzo to withdraw his request for a state audit of Palm Beach County’s three-year-old ethics commission.

In a letter to Abruzzo on Friday, Dan Krassner, executive director of Integrity Florida, said the review would be a “massive waste of taxpayer resources.”

The Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, known as OPPAGA, said this week that it had launched a review of the commission’s $500,000 budget, its operating procedures and the methods it uses to enforce the county’s ethics rules. Abruzzo, D-Wellington, asked the Senate president’s office to order the audit.

“If there was a legitimate reason for a review of the Palm Beach County Ethics Commission, then a transparent and accountable approval process should have been followed as is utilized for other OPPAGA projects initiated by the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee,” Krassner wrote in the letter.

Krassner said OPPAGA reviews typically take between 1,500 and 2,000 hours to complete at an average rate of $75 per hour.

“An OPPAGA review of such a small entity seems more than overkill,” Krassner wrote.

Compared with other Palm Beach County departments, the ethics commission is small. The office employs five staffers with a budget of less than $500,000.
Its five-member commission is made up of volunteers, each selected by a different community-based group, such as the police chief’s association.

Abruzzo said Thursday that he has some “concerns” about the ethics commission, but he declined to discuss them in detail.

“I am waiting until the audit is complete,” Abruzzo said.

The non-profit Integrity Florida was created last year as a watchdog group to expose public corruption.

West Palm Beach marketing consultant Marty Rogol serves on the Integrity Florida’s board of directors. Rogol helped craft Palm Beach County’s ethics rules, which created the county’s ethics commission and the Office of Inspector General.

17 Responses to “Group asks Abruzzo to withdraw audit request of PBC ethics commission”

  1. Had Enough Says:

    Please Sen. Abruzzo don’t drop the state audit. “massive waste of taxpayer resources.” is when the COE does nothing about unethical politicians brought before them. Even asking that the audit be dropped indicates to me they are afraid of what will be found. Sen. Abruzzo is one of the few politicians willing to help the voters and taxpayers.

  2. Barbara Says:

    Please Senators:

    Palm Beach County Ethics Commission PBCOE needs to be investigated. To cave to their request would only give them more power. Recently they asked a complaintant to rescind their complaint and this not the first time persons have told that story. Steckler is the biggest politico of all cities are trying block her from investigating the cities with legal maneveuring rendering the IG a useless entity. Audit and see what you find.

  3. whasup Says:

    This smacks of a “do-gooder” trying to protect some fellow bureaucrat “do-gooders”. What are they afraid OPPAGA will find out?

  4. SOS Says:

    Sen. Abruzzo keep looking into this!!!!

  5. Al Says:

    You just need a mirror Abruzzo.
    They are looking at you.

  6. Ronny Says:

    Abruzzo thinks he is a rock star. He is auditing everyone and trying to cover his ass and others. He wants to get rid of the IG because it is the one thing in PBC that they can’t buy off.

    I am sure they are looking at him and most of PBC. You are too stupid to actually listen to Andre, Joey.

  7. Melanie Says:

    I find it ironic that Abruzzo want to get rid of the ethics commission and the Arts Garage. Weiss and Handler can’t get these contracts anymore and they are investigation is probably on you…….let the chips fall will them may..and they will.

  8. Mid county dem Says:

    Abruzzo does not want to get rid of the IG. He is fighting for the IG. Abruzzo was just overwhelmingly elected. If Abruzzo did something wrong don’t you thing the Majority Republicans would have found something with the millions they spent trying to defeat him? Lets see what the audits show! I still don’t understand what’s wrong with open government and audits? If people are concerned about the audits something must be wrong. They should be saying audit? So what, come on in and take a look.

  9. Sniff Sniff Says:

    Something smells with these people concerned about getting audited. Joe’s got a tuff job, many others would look the other way.

  10. PBC Says:

    Praise the Lord that efforts are being made to investigate the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency’s misuse of funds with funding 100% of the operation of the Arts Garage/Creative City Collaborative in Delray Beach. The arts organization’s immediate past present is Chuck Halberg who is a contractor for the rehabing of dilapidated houses that the CRA buys which creates a conflict of interest for him to be on the board of an arts organization that receives 100% funding from the CRA. Plus, former Delray Beach Mayor Jeff Perlman is credited with creating this new arts group. He started creating it while he was still mayor of Delray Beach and his wife was (and still is) the CRA Executive Director. To add, until all this controversy Jeff Perlman served on the board of the arts group. And, Perlman serves of the board of the Delray Center for the Arts (aka Old School Square Square) which also receives a lot of monies from the CRA. There is a huge blatant conflict of interest with Perlman and monies from the CRA. They can’t have it both ways. Either Colonna resigned from the CRA or Perlman resign from all agencies that receive funding from the CRA. And, not just resign but Perlman should have NO involvement with agencies that get monies from the CRA along as his wife works at the CRA. What is really troubling is that the CRA bought a building, the Warehouse, for the Arts Group without using the RFP process. The building was never put out for the bid, no public announcement about it. The CRA just bought it and decided to donate it to the Arts Garage. Furthermore, the Arts Garage famously hosts drag queen shows that are funded 100% by the CRA. What do drag queen shows have to do with eliminating blight? One more thing, the City of Delray Beach allowed the Arts Garage to use the City utility bill to solicit funds for the Arts Garage’s location in the parking garage. No other non-profit in Delray Beach has been allowed to use the City utility bill to enclose a solicitation letter asking for donation of monies. And, it’s been widely reported that the Arts Garage Director, Alyona Ushe, got that job with the Arts Garage because of a romantic relationship she has with one of the board members. There was never any public announcement about her job position. One day, she just appeared in a Sun-Sentinel news story as the new director for the new arts garage. She had already been on the job for several months before the citizens knew about her and the Creative City Collaborative which started with office space inside City Hall before their move to the new parking garage. Again, no other non-profit organization has been given office space inside City Hall except for the Arts Garage.

  11. Hank Shae Says:

    as any defense attorney will tell you about any criminal case on TV…..”They got nuttin”"..

  12. Joe OPPAGA Says:

    At first we thought we saw the Good Year blimp floating over Palm Beach County, but after a state OPPAGA audit, we discovered it was only Sen. Abruzzo’s over-inflated ego lifted by hot air. It is time to deflate it.

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  15. Melanie Says:

    Hey Mid County dude,

    Did he open his checkbook to you too? I am not corrupt I didn’t take his dirty ass money. Tell Abruzzo they are looking into him now. He is trying to get rid of the IG because they are no pleased with the real oversight. Maybe Aronberg will step in…since he is so on the up and up.

  16. Frank Says:

    The tough job is Weiss and Handler didn’t get the contracts in Delray and his buddy didn’t a job.

    I hope the IG cleans his clock. They all know he is dirty with Weiss and Handler, Aarongantson and the rest of the PBC delegation. All of them.

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