There is an ongoing theme in the mismanagement of Winter Park. It always seems to involve dogs and their leavings.
Dog lovers love Fleet Peeples Park. An organization was formed in 2001 to support and promote the park as dog friendly. Learn more about Friends of Fleet Peeples Park. With the Baldwin Park area maturing and more dog owners learning about Fleet Peeples Park there has been an increase in usage that has stirred the concern of some, which is understandable.
However, the real issue may prove to be with the people David Strong appointed to the City Parks and Recreation Commission.
A Master Plan for Fleet Peeples Park was approved by the City Commission on April 14, 2008 (see page 41 of the Agenda Packet and page 8 of the Minutes). This plan included breaking up the 23 acre park so that roughly half was available to dog owners (a significant compromise for dog owners). The approval included a requirement for the Friends of Fleet Peeples Park to meet with the Parks and Recreation Commission to “create a set of guidelines outlining the responsibilities of both parties.”
The Friends of Fleet Peeples Park have been trying to meet with the Parks and Recreation Commission to review and agree upon a “Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU) defining responsibilities as required by the April 2008 City Commission adoption of the Master Plan. The Parks and Recreation Commission has continued to put this off and voted last evening not to consider the MOU but instead begin looking for other city parks that may be suitable for dog owners. Consideration of this course of action was not included in the public agenda of the meeting. In other words, screw the dog owners.
It now seems that members of the Parks and Recreation Commission are intentionally undermining the prior adoption of the Master Plan for Fleet Peeples Park to pursue their own agendas (whatever that may be).
This is disturbingly similar to the behavior of members of the Planning and Zoning Commission whose Comprehensive Plan serves their personal agendas at the expense of legal and legitimate rights of the citizens their policies impact.
Why do I focus on what may seem to be minutia? Because it is just more evidence that we have a big management problem. The problem is David Strong and his penchant for promoting people for city boards (let alone City Commission seats) that have questionable credentials, narrow viewpoints, and personal agendas.
A member of the Park and Recreation Commission resigned this morning noting,
“Due to the actions of the board and the conduct of certain members of the board I do not feel that I can effectively serve the best interests of the people of Winter Park nor can I condone the actions taken by this board contrary to the directives of the City Commission and the will of the public at large ie. April 14, 2008 motion to approve Master Plan Fleet Peeples Park..
It is not my wish to specifically call out any member of the board for their actions however I feel that the actions of certain members have been abusive, rude and an embarrassment to the city.
Further, in the meeting of February 25, 2009 certain actions were taken by the board which indicated there may have been collusion and ex parte communications in violation of S. 286.011, F. S. “The sunshine law” Since I am unable to determine whether these actions were subject to the state statutes I am compelled to resign.”