Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The ethics commission issues a questionable ruling...

Bicycle Bob Welsh
While we're waiting for the Miami Dade County Ethics Commission to conclude their investigation and issue a ruling in the case of the City of South Miami's police chief, Orlando Martinez de Castro, steering business to his wife's auto tag agency, the ethics commission issued a ruling involving another matter from the City of South Miami.  From the press release yesterday...
Settlement reached with South Miami Commissioner
The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust (COE) has reached a settlement after probable cause was found last month that South Miami City Commissioner Robert Welsh violated the County Ethics Code. The complaint (C 12-25) alleged that the commissioner, who was elected in February, spoke with two bidders in April about a pending city contract while the proposals were still under consideration, which is prohibited by procurement rules.  As part of the settlement agreed to today, Commissioner Welsh will pay $250 in investigative costs and accept a Letter of Instruction.
No shit?  City of South Miami commissioner Robert Welsh got in trouble for simply speaking to two bidders that had pending bids on a city project?  YIKES!  Is this an example of a commissioner who really did something wrong or simply a matter of a South Florida politician that isn't plugged into "the machine" that routinely gives its members a free pass when brought before the ethics commission or the state attorneys office?  In my humble oppinion, I'd suggest the latter.  From what I know about Robert "Bicycle Bob" Welsh, he seems to be one of the only politicians in South Florida that genuinely has his constituents needs, wants and desires at the forefront of his agenda.  I honestly believe that this finding by the ethics commission is a travesty that's stained an otherwise untarnished record by Mr. Welsh.

Regardless, considering this finding against Commissioner Welsh for violating the county ethics code, how do you think they're going to rule against South Miami's police chief for sending city business to his wife's tag agency?  Considering that there is a clearly defined punishement for such behavior in the city's own ethics code, I have to wonder.  In case you've forgotten, take a look at the consequences of the Chief's behavior...
(c)Prohibition on transacting business with the city. No person included in the terms defined in paragraphs (b)(1) through (6) and in paragraph (b)(9) shall enter into any contract or transact any business in which that person or a member of the immediate family has a financial interest, direct or indirect with the city or any person or agency acting for the city, and any such contract, agreement or business engagement entered in violation of this subsection shall render the transaction voidable. Willful violation of this subsection shall constitute malfeasance in office and shall effect forfeiture of office or position.
Now, does anyone really think the chief is going to lose his job over this ethical lapse?  You'd be foolish to think so.  Like I mentioned before, it all comes down to whether or not you're part of the "the machine" and I can certainly guarantee you that the chief is part of that "machine".  I honestly doubt the ethics commission is going to find anything wrong with the chief's behavior but then again perhaps the publicity we've brought to the investigation and the process involved with reaching a ruling, maybe we'll be surprised.


  1. The reason that they went after Bob was that he circulated a flier that discussed the material in your blog regrading Airways Auto Tag. This was retaliation from City Manager Mirable and Martinez de Castro, and Commissioner Valerie Newman plain and simple.

  2. Why wait for the MDC ethics commission?

    14 AMENDED 2-14-12

    ARTICLE II (Cont’d)

    SECTION 9.

    Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Charter, the
    Commission or its authorized representative or representatives may make investigation into the affairs of this City and the conduct of any City department, Board, Officer or Agency and for this purpose may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony and require the production of evidence. Any person who fails to obey a lawful order issued in the exercise of these
    powers by the Commission shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and
    punishable by a fine of not more than $500.00 or by imprisonment
    for not more than six months, or both.