Thanks to councilwoman Phyllis Smith, the City of North Miami Beach has a Pledge of Civility, which is read at the beginning of every council meeting, and which states, “A resolution was adopted by the Mayor and City Council of the City of North Miami Beach recognizing the importance of civility, decency, and respectful behavior in promoting citizen participation in a democratic government. The City of North Miami Beach calls upon all residents, employees, and elected officials to exercise civility toward each other.”
Thanks to councilwoman Phyllis Smith, that Pledge of Civility is violated at almost every meeting. Phyllis Smith has got to be the most uncivil civil servant in Miami Dade County. In fact, she takes incivility to a whole new level.
Witness her outrageously inappropriate outburst at the council meeting on December 18, 2012, when it was time to review and approve the minutes of the meeting held July 17, 2012. Squawking parrots ran for their lives!
The Grand Bloviator started her madwoman rant at hour 1:02:35. She complained for over four minutes that there was an error in the minutes. She wondered why the minutes stated that she was “absent on the roll call” and yet gave “a presentation on the same page.” Okay, that’s a faux pas if ever there was one, albeit easily fixed. Phyllis’ main concern seemed to be that the minutes did not quote her pearls of wisdom verbatim, as opposed to simply stating the legislative actions of the council in summary, which is really the sole purpose of minutes, according to Robert’s Rules. But, of course, Phyllis knows better than good old Robert. She went on and on and on, attacking City Clerk Pamela Latimore about “the job that is not being done.”
She tried to appeal to her fellow council members.
She also mentioned that her chair was unhappy. I’m glad I’m not Phyllis’ chair or I’d be unhappy, too.
Phyllis then moved to table the approval of the minutes.
The Mayor asked for a second. There was none.
The Clerk was given a chance to explain the discrepancies in the minutes, but also reiterated that council minutes are supposed to reflect a summary of legislative decisions, and that the “minutes are tailored to the actions of the council.” What the Clerk didn’t say, but I will interject, is that if anyone wants to know every single word uttered by Phyllis and her colleagues on the dais, they can tune in to the exciting events right on the city’s website by clicking Videos On Demand. And, unlike DirecTV, where Videos On Demand cost big bucks, they can watch Phyllis in all her glory ALL FOR FREE!
There was then discussion by Councilman Philippe Derose as to whether or not typographical errors in the minutes could be addressed directly with the Clerk before the meeting. The mayor agreed about that and stated that it was a separate issue that the minutes were not being kept up to date. The Mayor stated he has been concerned with the minutes not being current and expressed his frustration that this problem has not been resolved. He said he’s tired of hearing discussion about delayed minutes. He wants it fixed. End of discussion. We get it.
Except, Phyllis doesn’t get it.
At hour 1:13:29, the Mayor made the mistake by giving Phyllis the floor again.
She first chastised Mr. Derose for having the audacity to suggest that she talk to The Help, er, the Clerk about the typo. Phyllis actually said, “That was such a moot point. Of course I could have called!”
OH, REALLY? THEN WHY DIDN’T SHE?
She didn’t speak to the Clerk before the meeting about the typographical errors because SHE NEVER GIVES THE CLERK THE TIME OF DAY! But, more about that in a minute.
Then Phyllis COMPLETELY LOST IT FROM THE DAIS! At hour 1:13:28, she went into a three minute raging rant, attacking the Clerk and demanding that if the minutes weren’t caught up by the first meeting in January she wants a new Clerk.
She also threatened not to approve any minutes from now on. You go, girl!
In her hysteria, Phyllis attacked the Clerk unmercifully.
You can see Full Frontal Phyllis right here. (YouTube video, courtesy of my Webmaster Extraordinaire!)
I ask you, is this any way to treat your employee in a public forum? I think not. She apparently doesn’t know the difference between being assertive and being abusive.
At hour 1:21:54, the Peanut Gallery, a/k/a councilman Frantz Pierre, weighed in with his typical nonsense:
“Madam Clerk I understand you are working very delegitely [sic] to bring our minute ups to date. If I understand well you’ve been asked to [unintelligible] two weeks six months of work and you accept the challenge and I’m gonna give you some additional assignment. As you complete each minute I would suggest that you email it to ALL OF US so we can read it if we have to make changes we make it at THAT time not in January we wouldn’t have to [unintelligible].”
Um, yeeeeaaah. Moving right along.
The mayor made a point to state that Phyllis’ hysterical rant was uncalled for and that he was extremely unhappy with her emotional outburst and that “in the future let’s not have shouting from the dais … from the public or anywhere in the meeting. We will conduct ourselves with more decorum.”
The obvious observation here is that the two words, “Phyllis” and “decorum,” do not belong in the same sentence. Clueless as usual, Phyllis shot back, and I quote her off the wall cackle verbatim:
“I would like to answer you and tell you that the upsetness isn’t directed, it’s directed towards the work and it’s directed towards the frustration to see a responsibility from my colleagues and not have that support and that’s where the direction was and for you on top of it to reprimand me I take it, I accept it, it’s very rare that I feel that we are doing the public a disservice with their bill of rights and I tell you when I don’t have my support of my colleagues that are permits which no other city has done I’ve been, I went to the League of Cities and I spent my time with the clerks for us to permit six months delay on minutes just is appalling to me without that support so I just tell you that in, in, when it comes time for things like that and watching you two weeks ago with your tyrant [sic] that I still don’t even know what it was about I have to say that if that’s the case let’s all stick to the same rules and I appreciate the time.”
WTF was that?
Maybe it’s because the Mayor happens to be a gentleman, but I have never heard Mr. Vallejo sound like a screech owl from the dais. Or on the ball field. Or in private, or in public, or anywhere at all. Granted, he may raise his voice a half an octave if he’s frustrated, or if he’s annoyed with stupid people or their frivolous complaining, but he just doesn’t scream like a banshee. It’s just not his style. Phyllis was completely out of control at that meeting as she violated her own ridiculous Pledge of Civility. As usual.
The Mayor then moved to minutes of the July 17, 2012 and August 7, 2012 meetings. All but Phyllis voted to approve them.
How’s that boycott working out for ya, Phyllis?
Fast forward to the council meeting on January 2, 2013, when discussion about the minutes started and at hour 1:38:17, Phyllis claimed to be here “representing the taxpayers dollar.” She again kvetched that “this job that is our employee has not been done” and she then made “a motion for my fellow councilmen that we change clerks.” She spent several minutes going on and on about the freaking minutes, and all the Very Important People she spoke to, and that she thinks this should be Pamela Latimore’s final meeting as Clerk.
Phyllis then made a campaign speech, er, um, a grand, ramble, and ended by “making a motion to my fellow council members” to fire the City Clerk, and “ask our current Joanne to be the temporary Clerk as she was before.”
The Mayor asked for a second. There was none.
Phyllis just couldn’t resist by saying, “I love that I’m on record and I stand alone with pride.”
For some reason, Phyllis is obviously out to get the City Clerk. She expressed some concern that there were “mistakes made” during the last election, yet sat mute when the City Attorney, Darcee Siegel, laughably opined that EX-mayor Myron Rosner’s bus campaign signs were “Street Furniture.” Phyllis constantly claims that she’s looking out for “taxpayers money,” yet was the first to give City Manager, Roslyn Weisblum, a raise for…well…just because. Phyllis has made it very clear that Darcee and Roz are her BFFs, but that Pamela has got to go. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
I spoke at length with Ms. Latimore about her Phyllis problem. She advised me that on numerous occasions she’s asked Phyllis to sit down with her to discuss her concerns. Phyllis has emphatically refused to do so. Apparently, Phyllis thinks it’s beneath her to sit down with “The Help.”
In the real world, if an employer is not happy with something that an employee is or is not doing, the employer will at least make an effort to let the employee know of this displeasure and give the employee a chance to correct the problem. Phyllis, however, decided to “pull a Myron” by publicly humiliating one of her employees from the dais.
Watching this horror show reminded me of the time when Myron was a councilman and he spent nearly thirty minutes publicly dressing down the then City Manager Keven Klopp before moving to fire him. Just as obvious as it was back then that Myron was grandstanding for the purpose of making himself look important, Phyllis is obviously trying to do the same. She’s also obviously in campaign mode. She is under the mistaken impression that the general public believes she is working in the best interest of the taxpaying residents by calling for the Clerk’s head.
Phyllis’ major mistake, however, is that she obviously has no clue that the voting residents really, really, really like Pamela. Or that they really, really, really detest Phyllis. (She lost 40% of the vote in the last election to someone who barely showed up to campaign!) Her little show of power is destined to backfire. And badly.
Phyllis also has no clue that this isn’t the 1950s and that in 2013 it’s in extremely poor taste to treat employees, especially public servants, like “The Help.”
“Spreading the Wealth”