This blog is dedicated to:
A) improving fiscal oversight, management and operational efficiency of the 1) Lake County, Florida School District, 2) the separate Lake County Government, 3) the North Lake County Hospital District, PLUS 4) the operations of the independently elected Constitutional Officers (Sheriff, Tax Collector, Assessor, County Clerk, etc.) and also
B) Improving fiscal and management effectiveness of other local government agencies and programs spending taxpayer funds.
To read older articles, select them from the categories or archives listings. We also recommend listening to Ralph Smith's Lake County (FL) Round Table radio show every Wed. at 1pm to 2pm on WLBE AM-790.
A local member of CAIR, the Council for American-Islamic Relations, was arrested for driving to a sting to have sex with a 12 year old. Most of the press has not mentioned that, so we have the details. Read more →
Tavares, FL Nov. 27, 2014 Lake County, FL has five FL legislators who are on the Lake County Legislators Delegation, and they are having their annual open public hearing in Leesburg, FL on Dec. 2 at Lake Sumter State College in the Fine Arts Auditorium at 1-5pm (NOT the Magnolia room). If you can, I encourage you to attend the meeting to see your local FL legislators and how they react to the issues proposed by public input speakers. Except for campaign forums, this may be the only time you see some of them. They are" Rep. Larry Metz, Chair and organizer of this delegation meeting Rep. Jennifer Sullivan (just elected) Rep. Marlene O'Toole (Villages area) Sen. Alan Hays Sen. Dorothy Hukill Historically, these annual meetings were normally held during the day to hear a parade of local government agencies plea for funds or legislation. In recent years, other citizens... Read more →
Lake County, Florida's Board of Commissioners is considering a New Urbanism "South Lake Sector Plan" development where government planners will damage property rights and decide which land owners get increased value for development rights versus losing property owners who will be locked into Agricultural or Environmentalist demanded Conservation areas of much lower value for the future. Read more →
Environmentalists are trying to assault septic tank owners with more junk science. They have filed a questionable Florida Senate Bill SB 1576 which needs to be stopped in its tracks. Once again, they don't provide facts to justify an assault on property rights or septic tanks. All their arguments are emotional. Read more →
Tavares, FL - Monday, March 4, 2013 Note: The Tavares City Council meeting is this WEDNESDAY, March 6 at 4pm. We posted the wrong day in an earlier version. Note: A version of this article was also published on www.WatchDogWire.com HERE. EARTH HOUR Exposed: An open letter to the Tavares City Council regarding Wednesday, March 6th''s agenda item Tab 5. Officals of other Lake County Cities and agencies should also read this. The City of Tavares will have a City Council meeting Wednesday, March 6th, at 4pm where an agenda item (Tab 5) will ask the City Council to approve an "Earth Hour" participation on March 23. It sounds fairly benign, asking them to turn off city lights in and around government buildings for one hour (about 8:30 pm) on Saturday, March 23rd. Additionally, I looked at the calendar, and on that day, the Antique & Classic Boat Festival is... Read more →
Mount Dora, FL (Lake County) - Feb. 8th, 2013 Yesterday, the Lake County Board of Commissioners Chair Leslie Campione hosted a 4 hour "Regional Summit on Land Issues Impacting the North Shore of Lake Apopka". The main reason was to disclose plans for developing the North Shore of Lake Apopka (partially in Lake county plus Orange County) into an "eco-tourism" attraction, AND to discuss issues affecting those plans caused by a planned expansion of a nearby "Orlando North Airport", located on Long & Scott property. The Lake County and Orange County governments have been discussing these issues for months due to the proposed airport expansion which would cross County borders and affect local bird populations due to "bird strike" situations. Below is the two part agenda. View this photo - Agenda cover View this photo - Agenda with speaker names and topics Here is the press release: http://www.lakecountyfl.gov/media/news_releases/news_release.aspx?id=2047 You can... Read more →
This is an example of a Sebring, FL citizen fighting to stop a local city government blunder. We hope she prevails. http://www.newssun.com/Opinion/edt-011313 vj From NewsSun.com Admiration for a citizen standing up to power Some of you may be tired of reading News-Sun stories about Gingerlee Mitchelllindo's fight with the city of Sebring. She is trying to save her retention wall. We, on the other hand, not only think our coverage is warranted, we think the community should be paying attention, even getting involved. To briefly recap: Mitchelllindo's property, a small single house, is opposite the Sebring Middle School at 503 Center Ave. In 2009, with the construction of Sebring Parkway Part II, Center Avenue was reconfigured and widened for a safer entrance into the middle school and to feed into the Parkway. Properties along the affected areas were surveyed. As a result of the survey, the city judged Mitchelllindo's retaining... Read more →
Jan 14, 2013 - Tavares, FL Apparently, starting seven years ago, Polk County, FL staff used an incorrect method that resulted in providing incorrect, sometimes vacant addresses for garbage pickup to the local waste services firm they had on contract. This blunder went on for seven years, and the County overcharged residents $1.46-million over the 7 years, and then paid the funds to the waste services firm. Now the County is trying to get the waste provider to pay back the funds even though the County made the mistake.Teh Board is trying to blame the vendor for the issue, but that is like trying to get an employee to pay back excess paychecks due to a blunder by staff, especially 7 years later. My experience as an internal audit manager for 18 years is that both government and companies many times has low level staff make decisions without oversight or... Read more →
Leesburg, FL - Jan 5, 2012 Yesterday, Jan. 4th, Lake County's three Florida Representatives ( Larry Metz, Bryan Nelson & Marlene O'Toole) and two Senators (Alan Hays & Dorothy Hukill) held their annual "Lake County Legislators' Delegation" meeting to listen to "pitches" from over 20 people from different government and other agencies asking for funds, legislation changes or other Florida State Support for their issues. The publicity for the meeting was so bad that hardly any members of the public attended. Details on meeting locations were confused with three different sites being described by different people. Agendas were stacked at the side and there was no table to greet attendees or get their names to send out follow up documents. I only found out about the meeting in the morning and had to cancel a dental appointment to attend. Hardly any members of the public or press attended. The only... Read more →
Tavares, lake County, FL - Thursday, Dec. 20,2012 The City of Orlando CFO, Rebecca Sutton, signed a major software contract for $8.7-million without requiring any bids on the new software project. Then she flew with several other staff members to Las Vegas using $20,000 in City funds to announce the contract at the software developer's conference. All this without any bidding. The Orlando Sentinel provided many details HERE. (Note - READ the comments, which are more blunt than I am). I was a software developer for seven years, and before that I was an internal audit manager in large firms like Nissan, ARCO (the oil company) and the County of Los Angeles. A big red flag to an auditor is lack of competitive bidding, called sole sourcing, for large contracts. The Orlando CFO completely skipped that process because some sales people got to her and convinced her there was no... Read more →