Raul Llorente Commentary 8-22

Village Council Policy and the Village Manager

A look back at island history. In 1991 Key Biscayners adopted the Village Charter for our municipality. It was a collaborative effort by quite a few concerned Key Biscayners, all wanting to set the island up for future success. Their vision was prophetic as the document has served Key Biscayne well for almost three decades.

A deeper dive into the charter. Article III, Administrative, reads in part: “There shall be a Village Manager who shall be the chief administrative officer of the Village. The Manager shall be responsible to the Council for the administration of all Village affairs.”

During the 28 years of our Council’s existence, the Manager form of government, with the specific duties and responsibilities of the Manager’s office have been attentively observed by the Council, regardless of who the sitting Manager has been.

This attention has been fully justified as Article II of our Charter clearly reads: ‘’There shall be a Council with all legislatives powers of the Village vested therein.” And the members of the elected Council know the expectation of the voting public they represent and they would only be satisfied if they hold the Manager accountable and require said Manager to perform accurately his or her duties and responsibilities, while strictly following established Council policy. Accordingly the manager must ‘’accurately‘’ perform, among others, the following duties:

1. Prepare and submit to the Council for approval, a proposed annual budget

2. Submit to the Council and make available to island residents an annual report on the finances and administrative activities of the Village.

3. Provide such other reports as the Council may, from time to time, require concerning the operations of all Village Departments

So the Charter requires the council hold the Manager accountable for satisfactory performance of these, and all duties and responsibilities of the position.

And as per our representative form of government all Key Biscayners require from the sitting Council precise focus in municipal procedures beneficial to all island residents and for which essential Council policy must be strictly complied with by the sitting Manager.

But June 18, 2019, a Budget Workshop was held so the Council could obtain, from the Manager, important data to be studied and analyzed, as per their documented policy powers in order to determine, during the month of September when the annual budget is typically finalized, if it is possible to arrive at a successful budget for Fiscal Year 2020 which is of benefit to the residents of Key Biscayne.

It is the opinion of this columnist that the precise focus and oversight by the Council failed because the Manager did not provide the necessary data.

Since that June 18 meeting, the Manager has met with some community groups and will meet with the entire Council next Tuesday, August 27. This has given the Council limited time to thoroughly study the wishes and desires of the voting public.

Key Biscayners deserve and will only be satisfied with a Fiscal Year 2020 budget that is faithfully established and determined by policy decisions of the representatives we elect, who are appreciative of our traditional Key Biscayne style of government and lifestyle and supportive of the proven quality of the work of all Village service departments and the overall excellence of Key Biscayne’s community Institutions.

We await for the Council to demonstrate that precise focus come August 27.

Raul Llorente is a long term Key Biscayner with an island business. He was a Village Council Member from 1993 – 1996.