Yesterday, I wrote about local businessman and political busybody Earl Rynerson having called out City Manager George Gretsas for holding two controversial meetings for city employees. Today, Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom chimed in on the matter. Although she didn't go as far as Rynerson (who likened Gretsas to a Nazi), she did have some choice words about the city manager.
"I can tell you that the city commissioners, their staffs, the clerk's office, their staff, the city auditor's office, their staff, and the city attorney and the city attorney's staff were all not included in the meeting -- so that is concerning." Rodstrom said that she "found out about the meeting through gossip on the eighth floor" of City Hall, where commissioners' offices are located. By failing to notify key departments of his big meeting, Rodstrom says Gretsas "isolated a large part of city government -- by not even sending a memo to see if we wanted to send a representative. Talk about segregating employees in government -- you don't send one up against the other like that. Everything should be transparent."
Asked if she knew about the content of the meeting, she said it sounded like "a desperate attempt by the city manager in light of the fact that his contract is up for renewal and he is set to be evaluated in September. [The meetings were] a P.R. stunt to rally the troops." More important, she said, "I find real objection to the staff time that was taken up -- the cost of loss of work while employees were over there. Whatever he said or did could have been done in a public meeting or in a memo -- not a two-day P.R. stunt that he needed to make himself feel better."
Regarding the sneaky-seeming clause in Gretsas' contract that would enable his term to be automatically renewed for three years unless the city takes the initiative ten months before the end of his current contract (another thing that Rynerson had made a fuss about), Rodstrom said, "I found that clause extremely worrisome. I'm on the record asking for his resignation two years ago -- my position has not changed."
Asked specifically what she objects to, Rodstrom said, "He shouldn't play politics. That's one of his largest faults." Asked to elaborate on his other faults, Rodstrom said, "I don't want to give too much away! I have a whole file to bring to the commission [when we evaluate him]!" Laughing, she said she had the date circled on her calendar. "Wouldn't want to miss that window of opportunity!"
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Then she added, "It's not personal. I just think Fort Lauderdale can do better."