On the day before the Deerfield Beach Commission will vote on whether to repeal its ethics code, Commissioner Joe Miller is the one wildcard.
Past remarks make it possible to predict how the four other members of the commission will vote. Check out the minutes of the March 3 commission meeting, which can be found here.
At that meeting, Commissioner Popelsky spoke of the need for "honesty" and "transparency" in city government, voting in favor of the ethics code. Commissioner Bill Ganz, whose winning campaign message was for "positive change" and who's been his own man in his first six months on the commission, is also likely to keep the ethics code.
Voting to ditch the code, you can bet on Vice Mayor Sylvia Poitier, who made a characteristically ludicrous argument at the March 3 meeting about how there should be an ethics "workshop" to enhance leadership training, when it's far more likely her resistance is related to the pending ethical issues that weigh heavily on her conscience. Peggy Noland was a mayoral candidate on March 3, and the ethical missteps she's made since winning that election must have convinced her that it was easier to change the ethics code than to change her behavior, because she is introducing the legislation.
The 2-2 tie leaves Commissioner Joe Miller, who at the March 3 meeting was still a candidate and who gave remarks that make his position hard to guess.
From the meeting minutes, Miller said:
He has a problem with this new improved Code of Ethics and the public should be allowed to give additional input. Secondly, this is so important that this be elected by the permanent officials and not by the temporary elected officials. He said that it seems like it is being rushed. He said that he is in favor of a code of ethics for public office.
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So he loves ethics, but he wasn't fond of this particular ethics code? That means he could go either way.
But the smart money is betting on Miller's vote to repeal the code. For one, there's no way Noland takes the flack that comes with bringing this legislation if it's going to fail -- she must have reason to feel confident about Miller's vote. For another, Miller depended on the same powerful interests, like the city's firefighters, for the political backing he needed to win his race. And now's the time those special interests call in their favors.
And speaking of special interests, no one at JB's on the Beach is returning calls. If no Noland has ever worked there, if there isn't a single conflict of interest that comes with the mayor's supporting JB's bid for a temporary contract to occupy the space on the pier, why won't JB's just end the suspense and tell us?
UPDATE: Oops. Somehow I missed this article in the Sun-Sentinel where Linda Trischitta talked to Noland and confirmed the family's history at JB's.