The St. Augustine City Commission voted unanimously last Monday, June 23, to accept Commissioner Roxanne Horvath’s plea for almost $75,000 in consulting fees to pay a Gainesville man to “facilitate” the fifteen-handpicked volunteers that will tell us where we want to be in fifteen or twenty years.
Ignoring concerns expressed by some members of the public, who addressed the commissioners, and some members of the commission itself, this commission did what it does best — spend other people’s money.
And, despite the fact that some members of the committee were ready to walk if he stayed, Herbert A. Marlowe, Jr., Ph.D., and his company, Analytica, will be driving the bus. This is the man who tried to force a “boilerplate” template, used on a previous visioning plan for another city, on the visioning committee for St Augustine. Marlowe was fully funded to the tune of $74,500.
In a move that wasn’t very reassuring, given the strong commitment she advocated, before a motion was made and vote taken, Commissioner Horvath went around the table looking for what amounted to a “vote of confidence” for her guidance and role in the city’s visioning. Weak leadership. Very, weak leadership.
Until the work schedule is developed, no meeting date may be set for Marlowe to meet and start work with the steering committee, but it is expected before the end of July and, once the process starts it is expected to move at an aggressive pace with many opportunities for public participation.
The next step will be for Marlowe to meet with city staff and outline a work plan and calendar since the remainder of the visioning initiative is expected to take several months. Discussions will also include specific areas of responsibility for Analytica, the steering committee that calls themselves “Visioning 2014 and Beyond”, and city staff.
The portion of Monday’s City Commission meeting regarding the proposal may be seen by clicking here.
The accepted proposal and fee schedule are available by clicking here.
For additional background information, visit www.VisionStAug.com.
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