Historic City News has learned that Commissioner Roxanne Horvath is taking a break from her “visioning” project for a few days to waste an estimated $2,553.17 more of the City’s money on a two-week junket with her husband, Peter Rumpel, when they traveled to Aviles and Sevilla, Spain, last Tuesday, August 26th; returning home Sunday, September 7th.
The St Augustine commissioner did not win a dream vacation on a television game show, but because she is responsible for also developing the “Compassionate Cities” program between the city and Aviles, she gets to travel there compliments of local taxpayers.
And, as if she needed any more on her plate, Horvath is our representative to the NAO Victoria Foundation boatbuilding project in Sevilla; so, she and the hubby get to see a few more sights in Sevilla while they are on the road.
Horvath will need an assistant, of course, and because it would be a violation of Florida’s open meetings and government in the sunshine laws for Mayor Boles, or Commissioner Crichlow to work with her on city negotiations and business that will likely appear before the St Augustine City Commission, she will be accompanied by our City Comptroller, Mark Litzinger (who is not a Certified Public Accountant, in case anyone’s wondering) to the tune of an estimated $3,491.40 in airfare, hotel, and meals expense. Of course, he doesn’t return to the city until September 5th.
And yes, I did say Commissioner Crichlow; the 70-year-old stand-in for ex-commissioner Bill Leary — who fled the scene halfway through his first term; after seeing the writing on the wall about pending repercussions from the 450th Commemoration boondoggle.
Even though Commissioner Crichlow could have just waited until Tuesday when City Councilman Alvarez comes to town with the Sister Cities delegation to formalize the planned construction of a replica of the Spanish Constitution Monument, he left on August 23rd and got back home today — cost to taxpayers, $2,557.48, experiencing the thrill of giving away a fake replica of a monument that we are paying for, priceless.
Since we won’t know until November 4th whether it will be Todd Neville or John Valdes who will replace him, Crichlow gets yet another trip to the land of enchantment to chat about our world-famous 450th Anniversary. Even though Crichlow is a Minorcan, he needed a little help on this charity trip — we picked up the estimated $2,557.48 tab for City of St. Augustine Historic Architectural Review Board member, Paul Weaver; an “architectural historian” who speaks and writes fluent Spanish, and was able facilitate the discussions with engineers, planners and other officials to ensure that the gift project is properly completed. I’d bet we could have hired an interpreter in Aviles for a hell of a lot less.