Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Hidden Secret to another $1,000,000+ in annual County Revenue Without Increasing Taxes

Oprah isn't the only person in the world who has ideas about how to make money. Here's one of my ideas that was ongoing when Tom Willi canned me. A few of my ideas have been brought to fruition by people that worked for me - most haven't, and here's one of the biggest savers.

The reason that some politically-minded folks don't want you to know is that opening this treasure trove might annoy some of the most wealthy in influential part time residents of Monroe County - the folks at Ocean Reef. But I think I have a way to do this without upsetting ANY residents.

Somewhere around 800,000 vehicles a year cross the Card Sound bridge annually. Most of them pay a dollar, so the County gets $700,000+, cash money every year from the Card Sound Bridge.

The trouble is that it costs almost a half million dollars a year to pay the toll collectors and maintain the buildings there.

When I was Director of Technical Services for Monroe County, one of the least popular things I wanted to do was to fully automate the bridge tolls. I found that, for about what it costs for a year to pay all the people that collect tolls 7 days a week, 365 days a year, the County could replace the toll plaza with an automated toll collection system with camera enforcement that would then cost 10% as much to operate.

That's right. No people. Pay your money - cash, credit card, SunPass (or a KeysPass) - or get a ticket in the mail.

So that will eliminate several Public Works jobs. It will also put tight controls around the cash at Card Sound. The current controls there would give any auditor heartburn. I suspect that Danny Kohlage hasn't checked in on state of the art in cash management at toll booths lately.

I spoke with Emelio Suarez, who is the director of technology for Florida's Turnpike, who said that the Turnpike Authority might be willing to install collect tolls and maintain the toll plaza, like they do for a number of County owned bridges in the state, for a cut of the revenue.

This was ongoing when Tom Willi made the decision to part ways. I hope Emelio's not waiting to hear from me.

So, how would the County collect an extra $1,000,000+++?

  1. Raise the tolls to $5.

  2. Automate the toll plaza, tear down the current structures and give the lots to ROGO for the hotels the County wants to build.

  3. Pay the Turnpike Authority to install and manage SunPass.

  4. Offer mail-in rebates for over $50 per calendar year for COUNTY RESIDENTS (not transients) with a Monroe County address and proof of payment to SunPass.

That's just my million dollars worth. Will one of the Commissioners put this on an agenda?

Is there anyone at Monroe County that could execute this project? THAT, my friends, is the issue. GIVE IT TO THE TURNPIKE AUTHORITY!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Harry Miller's Poor Victims

Gosh, I must tell you that I am surprised at the number of emails that I've received telling me about Harry Miller's arrest in South Carolina on multiple charges of sexually molesting a number of young people during periods of time immediately before and immediately after he resided in Key West, in Virginia and in South Carolina.
Did you know Harry in Key West?
PLEASE - remember that there are children involved in a heinous crime here that will affect them for the rest of their lives. IF YOU KNOW ANYTHING about this fellow's actions with children, PLEASE contact your local law enforcement agency.
Think, for one moment, about what he is accused of doing. Now, imagine - he was wanted on this for a crime several years ago. After investigating him where he lives now, in South Carolina, a different set of law enforcement authorities have accused him of similar crimes from June 2008 until now!

I've written what I think about Harry and his "friends." I obviously believe he is a lying scumbag. Several law enforcement agencies have reason to believe he is the worst kind of pervert. I have met the man and have spoken to him a number of times. I did not trust him, would have nothing to do with him and he did his best to have me fired from my job.

Is it my opinion that he is guilty? Yes, absolutely. Why? I have no evidence, but I'm a pretty good judge of character and it is my feeling that Harry is the lowest form of life. If he is found guilty of the things he's accused, I would wish the worse for him - to be incarcerated with a psychopathic rapist and subjected to worse punishment than he can imagine for the remainder of his short life.

Someone asked me yesterday if I was afraid of Harry. No, I said, only cowards rape children. Read my earlier blog. Do I sound like Harry worries me?

No, I'm worried about the children around this pervert in the event he escapes or is somehow released from prison.

Tom Willi, Mario Di Gennaro - you were quoted calling Harry your "friend."
What do you think of your "friend" now?

Karma is real. What people sew, they reap.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Monroe County Waste - Clean Up before Laying Off

There are two big bucks items that the County is missing for potential savings.

1. Copy machines
There are huge Xerox copy machines in almost every office in the County. The last Director of Technical Services pissed off a commissioner's aide (guess which) by suggesting that they share a machine with the Marathon Airport. Nope. Didn't happen. "Too much confidential information" said the aide, in an office governed by Florida Sunshine laws. (Little do they know that investigators can snoop at any time, copying their "confidential information" for anything run through the machine to a disk drive. The marvels of modern technology!)

Now, both this commissioner's office as well as the Marathon Airport pay thousands per year EACH for a lease for 40,000 copies per month for a shiny new Xerox machine a total of almost 1,000,000 pages per year out of ONE BUILDING! Do you thing they're actually copying that. Nope. Not 10% of that, I'd guess. These deals were done individually by each department, "under the radar" by the use of a lease appoved by a County other than Monroe!

There are 4 or 5 of these Xerox machines at every facility. THE COUNTY IS PAYING FOR MILLIONS OF SHEETS OF PAPER PER YEAR THAT THEY'RE NOT USING! Budde's Office Supply is one of the highest paid vendors of the County. County employees have tried to buy copy machines competitively and Budde goes nuts and call every commissioner every time the issue is raised.

Solution: Get rid of all but ONE copy machines IN EACH BUILDING and save $100k OR MORE per year - two employee's jobs! Make those big ass county employees walk a few more steps! 2.

2. Telephone system maintenance
There is a full time technician from AT&T that is on site at Monroe County for which the County pays over $120,000 per year. He's made a career there and has worked there for more than 20 years - yes, onsite at Monroe County as an employee of Bell South, now AT&T. He's a great guy, but the County has likely paid more for his services than any other single employee.

Considering the fact that he brings his own tools and truck, $120k isn't a terrible deal, but I know of FEW organizations of fewer than 1,000 employees who has a full time tech doing nothing but telephone and wiring work.

Solution: Get rid of this contract by invoking the non-funding provision of the contract and BID OUT for a pay-as-you go contract for service. The huge Nortel switches the County owns have capacity for FOUR TIMES the current size, the County bought TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars worth of options that have NEVER been implemented by AT&T and it is hopelessly outdated. There are PILES AND PILES of purchased and unused telephone equipment lying in rooms all over the County. Call your commissioner and ask for a tour of the telephone rooms in the Gato and Harvey buildings, the Marathon EOC, Courthouses and the Ellis buildings. Ask, like I did, "whats this?" and you will find Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars worth of Unused Junk. Time for an eBay auction!

There are a number of LOCAL wiring and computer companies who would love to have this contract or get wiring contracts and save the County thousands. The County should follow the School Board's lead, who implemented a telephone system that is MUCH less expensive to operate and gets rid of EXPENSIVE customer AT&T services.

If you don't believe any of these things, file a Sunshine request with the Clerk of Court for information about BellSouth AT&T payments and payments to Xerox and Budde's. The smoking guns are there.

And a certain technical services director was fired about a year ago for, among other things, raising these issues of waste to the previous Administrator's attention. Gee, no one wants to look bad, do they?

Let's see if the new Administrator has the balls to clean this up, but beware - the Deputy Administrator and the Telecommunications Administrator say that they're "close personal friends" but, of course, that would, "never affect their working relationship."

Yeah, right.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Vandenberg Sinking is a Sinkhole for Public Funds

I offer a single fact in the support of this statement:

One year ago, the price tag to sink the Vandenberg was $5.7 Million (Source: SportFishing Magazine: http://www.sportfishingmag.com/news/news/project-to-sink-vandenberg-off-key-west-begins-51046.html.) That's Five Point Seven Million Dollars. Today, the organization who wants to sink it says they're $2.3 Million short.


That's a 40% cost overrun. Are the same people managing this as are managing the Key West International Airport construction or the Freeman Justice Center? Imagine what would happen to YOU if YOUR cost of living went up 40% in one year!

So, let's take a look at where the money was coming from originally...

The City of Key West contributed $2 Million,
Monroe County contributed $2 Million,
Monroe County's Tourist Development Council offered $1 Million,
And the remainder of the population of the planet contributed $0.7 Million.

So, the 70,000 residents of Monroe County were coughing up an average of $70 dollars apiece for every man, woman and child, while the remainder of the scuba diving community IN THE WORLD - millions of people - could not fork over any more $700k.

Whoo-hoo! Yeah, that's a hot potential dive destination.

Something stinks here.

I'd like to see a full accounting of these funds - from Artificial Reefs of the Keys (a 501(c)(3) organization) and exactly where their money is going. I suspect that MOST of it is going to a company called Reefmakers, Inc., which is a FOR PROFIT corporation. They ARE NOT a Florida Corporation. Who owns them? Who governs what they charge? Who are THEY paying?
Who works for them full time? How much are they getting paid? Who has received "consulting fees" or honorariums? Tips?

They've certainly been given a big pile of taxpayers' money.

It is time for public disclosure as to EXACTLY where these funds went in the form of an INDEPENDENT AUDIT of ARK and Reefmakers, Inc.

Why wasn't a requirement for audit attached to the money that they were given by the Monroe County and Key West City Commissions?

Write your commissioners, the Mayor and the Governor and tell them to submit these two organizations to an independent audit by a reputable public accounting firm (or the Florida Attorney General) before another dollar of taxpayer money anywhere in the State of Florida sinks down this hole.

But remember the names of the Commissioners who voted to approve this project come election time.