Last night's meeting of the Deerfield Beach Commission was a mostly civil affair, at least until Commissioner Sylvia Poitier learned that her colleague, Bill Ganz, was considering a motion to have her censured if she erupts in the same way she did at the last special meeting, in late. June.
Poitier accused Ganz of calling her "ignorant," but that's not the word Ganz would use. Shrewd might be a better term.
"I don't believe Commissioner Poitier is ignorant at all," Ganz (right) told me this afternoon. "I think she has developed over the years a methodology. I think it's calculated."
In a post yesterday, I tried to find the method to Poitier's madness. Ganz concurs with the point that Poitier's way of creating confusion is deliberate. "She thrives on chaos," says Ganz. "Because if you actually stop and debate the facts, usually she comes out on the losing end."
But Ganz has noted a weapon of Poitier's I overlooked -- one that was on display at last night's meeting when Poiter pretended that she was shocked (and appalled!) that the city was going to lay off workers, as it did Friday. Either Poitier had not been paying attention when that came up at a meeting a few months ago or she was simply trying to win cheap brownie points with the city workers who attended the meeting to complain.
During union negotiations with firefighters, Poitier wanted to give them whatever they wanted, even though it would break the city's back financially, says Ganz, which meant the other commissioners had to make the politically risky but responsible decision of saying no.
When city staff informed the commission that it was hemmed in by federal guidelines in spending HUD money to refurbish local homes, Poitier announced that with a single phone call, she could change HUD's mind. It's a far-fetched claim, but it plays well to the audience, and the commissioners have little choice but to take Poitier's claim at face value and give her the chance to make a miracle. (Of course, no one will ever know whether she even made that call -- they'll just remember her heroic willingness to do so.)
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"She has no problem making statements that she can't keep," says Ganz. "She's made a career out of it."