Report on Meeting with Gary Shimun (DavieSportsPAC.COM)

– Reprinted, with permission, from the Davie Sport PAC newsletter by Michael Bartlett

Davie Sports PAC logoThe May 11th meeting at the Old Davie School was well attended, and included Council Members Caryl Casey-Hattan, Susan Starkey, and Marlon Luis. Administrator Shimun’s opening remarks generally focused on Davie’s fiscal situation in this time of declining revenues- where the money comes from, and where it goes. After a short open forum the participants were asked to form small groups to formulate answers to three questions- what is our vision for Davie, what are our expectations, and what services should Davie provide.

The open forum, more of a “Town Hall” format, exposed the administrator to questions from the public and was the most useful to the attendees in the sense that it revealed the most about Mr. Shimun’s style, approach, background, and ability to engage with the residents. While the ‘breakout group’ approach was a great opportunity to meet some fellow residents and hash out some general ideas the ultimate value of generating these ideas will only be in the execution, not the presentation. If the meetings are for citizens to generate a mission statement for the administration that is a little bit different from the description on the Town’s web site.

Still, the opportunity to meet with residents, Council Members, and Mr. Shimun provided the opportunity for multiple conversations. The dialog at the open forum was challenging and specific, and gave residents the opportunity to directly question, praise, and criticize Mr. Shimun in a frank and open setting. There will be two more opportunities in this cycle–and one of the requests and suggestions is that residents have this opportunity on a permanent and regular basis, at least quarterly. In his opening remarks Mr. Shimun displayed a list of all the ways the Town communicates with residents, and adding regular open meetings with the Town Administrator, who after all is most responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Town, will be a huge step in the right direction for both Mr. Shimun and our fellow citizens. …

For instance, it was a great opportunity to ask Mr. Shimun about an email from Public Works to the Sports Department:

We would like to not permit any fields this month due to the amount of heavy traffic on the fields this past year. I do understand we have a softball tournament, and lacrosse this month, but I hope we can say No to the rest. This may be the only month we can do most of our maintenance we have planned. Thank you for your help.” We have been told at Parks and Rec how all the program numbers are down, and now that the recreational seasons have ended while it is important that permit requests accommodate field conditions and maintenance plans we feel “No” should be replaced with “we need to work with you and you may not get your first choice of field but we want to keep the kids playing.” It was good to be able to briefly discuss this with Mr. Shimun, and the next step is to address this at the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting on May 17th. It is always our position that the ability of Davie kids to play on the fields comes first.

Other news- Council Member Starkey will be among the “100 Outstanding Women of Broward County” honored by The Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County and the Susan B Anthony Recovery Center at 6:00pm at The Signature Grand in Davie, Florida. The 100 Outstanding Women of Broward County Dinner will bring the Community together to celebrate how far women have come in leadership roles in the business, community and philanthropic fields. Congratulations, Mrs. Starkey!

Other news- Congressional candidate debate at Robbins Lodge- Scott Spages forwarded the announcement that Karen Harrington, Robert Lowry, and Donna Milo will debate on Thursday, May 13, at 7:00pm. Everybody is welcome.

Thanks and best regards,

Michael H. Bartlett
Treasurer, Davie Sports Political Action Committee

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