Broward News

Hallandale Contract With Realtor May Have Violated City Law

Hallandale Beach City Manager Mike Good gave a consultant agreement to a local real estate agent, Joe Kessel, worth up to $36,000. But a city ordinance indicates Good was forbidden to do so without first getting commission approval.

A 2006 ordinance describes exactly what contracts and purchases the city manager can make without consulting the commission. As Hallandale Beach activist blogger Mike Butler points out, the Kessel contract would seem to fall under the category of "professional services involving a peculiar [sic] skill, ability, experience or expertise."

I think they meant particular, not peculiar, but you get the idea. The ordinance requires the city manager to get commission approval for any contract "in excess of $25,000." That seems to mean that the $36,000 maximum annual value of the Kessel contract should have gone before the commission.

In a comment she posted on this blog, Hallandale Mayor Joy Cooper claimed that Kessel collected only $4,200 in city money since he signed the consulting contract in July 2008. But even if that's the case, the Kessel contract provided him the opportunity to collect $3,000 from the city "for any work performed during any one month."

You can bet that this topic will come up during the meeting of the Hallandale Beach Commission on Wednesday and that Commissioner Keith London -- a fierce critic of the city manager -- will be in the thick of it.

London has said he was unaware of the Kessel contract until this past year and has been frustrated in his efforts to gather more information about what Kessel did for the city and how much he was paid.

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Thomas Francis