City Government is Corrupt and Self Interested.
A recent survey conducted by Barry University students found many weaknesses in North Bay Village, but the harshest words were reserved for government officials.
The student project categorized the government as having “corruption” and “self interest” in its’ inner workings.
According to a copy of the report obtained by the SunPost, the students also found that NBV has “almost no good and democratic leadership,” and also lacks sincere leaders.
“There is a lack of sincere leaders at NBV,” states the report. “They make campaign promises to the community and attain their votes, but afterward any sound communication efforts between them and the residents ceases. “
The report was created by two business classes at Barry University between the fall of 2013 and the spring of 2014. It’s based on a survey students distributed among residents. The report centers around problem areas the residents found most problematic such as cleanliness, traffic speed, flooding, and safety. However, the most scathing portion is buried with in the “weaknesses” section where the report takes aim at government officials and their handling of power.
From the report:
“Lack of agreement amongst leaders of the community and no strong sense of unity take the public’s interests away from them and thus hampers the development and the business activities in the area.
People on the Board are fighting with each other for power. Almost no good and democratic leadership exists in NBV.”
Additionally, the report suggested that the lack of “unity” dissuades “development and the business activities” in the village.
The handling of the budget and the government’s mismanagement is also highlighted:
“Lacking transparent government spending and fair budget allocation, both are serious issues in NBV. Corruption within and self interests in public offices is at its peak. Budget costs are lost due to mismanaged activities. No transparent system has been executed, which make it clear that where and when the monies are going to be spent and which department has received how much amount and how much development has been taken place, encourages future mismanagement.”
The report points out that the Village’s budget lacks funds for improvements and development that could attract new businesses. At the same time, the report highlights that 63% of the budget goes to the police department, yet the NBV PD does not adequately meet the resident’s safety concerns said the document. According to the survey 35% of residents listed safety as their top concern.
Even as most officials would talk about wanting to economically develop the village, the report found that there is no real plan set.
“NBV laws, its bureaucracy, and politicians want to make money and to get their bank accounts full, but no one is willing to provide successful solution for the betterment of the overall area and its future,” said the report.
Another interesting find by the Barry students, was that of the nearly 300 respondents less than half answered the question of how satisfied they were with the services provided by the administration.
Just over 100 answered the question and half of those were satisfied, while the other half were either neutral (under 30%) or dissatisfied (about 20%).
The majority of respondents did not answer the question.
The report points out a lack of communication between the residents and the government. It is suggested that the lack of communication might foster a lack of trust between the residents and officials.
“The history of government corruption adds yet another communication and trust barrier that needs to be overcome,” said the report. “Perhaps a review of village operations management would be a very worthwhile endeavor aimed at streamlining the processes of running the Village.”
The students listed a few ways to improve communication such as an improved website, reaching out through social media, and community out reach.
NBV held a public meeting last week to unveil the findings of the report. The video presentation the students recorded mostly skimmed through the report and focused mostly on the problem areas the residents answered as their top concern. (Cleanliness, traffic, flooding, lack of parking, safety.)
It did not focus on the government and its officials. The officials responded positively.
Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps told the Miami Herald: “ It will help us identify and address the needs of residents, particularly now in budget session,” The sessions start this week.
Commissioner Jorge Gonzalez told the Herald: “Now we’ve got some marching orders.”
The small Miami Herald article recapping the meeting was printed out by the Village and placed on it’s website.
The SunPost could not reach government officials at the time of printing, but will publish any responses they may have on report’s criticism.