“We know Betty is here,” newly appointed and unelected St. Pete Beach City Commissioner Nick Filtz said during the discussion of whether to appoint someone to the vacant district 3 seat. He was referring to appointee applicant Betty Rzewnicki, one among nine applicants for the seat.
In a 3-1 vote, the three newly appointed commissioners voted to seat Rzewnicki. Mayor Adrian Petrila was the sole “no” vote after expressing notice concerns and concerns about the inconsistent process.
Yet despite being in the room, Rzewnicki surprisingly didn’t join the dais after being appointed. No city official, including the city attorney, apparently considered it important that she join in that deliberative process, despite the city attorney earlier in the meeting stressing the importance of having a full commission. Both city attorney Andrew Dickman and his deputy attended the meeting.
Thus a dozen important decisions, including decisions on 10 contracts and agreements, were made without the benefit of the comments and vote of the new commissioner. At the recent three meetings in which the three commissioner were appointed, no action items remained after their appointment and that’s why they didn’t join the dais. But in this case, a dozen important action items remained.
The mental flabbiness apparent by not immediately having Rzewnicki join the commission is hardly surprising, given the advice Dickman verbally gave the city commission during the appointment of the three commissioners now seated. As we showed in yesterday’s article, Dickman never put any of his legal advice into writing, whereas another local city attorney did.
The city has since been sued over the lawfulness of those appointments, and one of the allegations in the complaint is that the city has been inconsistent for no rational reason, and in violation of Florida law. For more details on these matters, see our previous and very recent reporting on St. Pete Beach:
Florida Supreme Court found “municipal chaos and uncertainty” in St. Pete Beach. Is it déjà vu all over again?
Comparing the vacancy appointments processes in Oldsmar and St. Pete Beach reveals key differences
“Again, it’s a matter of consistency,” appointed commissioner Richard Lorenzen said 10 minutes into the meeting, during the discussion of a possible district 3 appointment.
“Well, I think if we are going to be consistent, we should follow what we did for the other districts,” elected Mayor Adrian Petrila said to Lorenzen later in the meeting.
“This one should be treated slightly differently,” Lorenzen now claimed in response, reversing his previous insistence on consistency.
As people age, extra pounds tend to accumulate around the body’s midsection in what health professionals politely call “middle-age spread.” In everyday language, it’s called “flabbiness.”
While none of the three appointed non-elected commissioners or the city attorney appear to be physically flabby, the evidence of mental flabbiness is manifest. Being consistently inconsistent is just one symptom of mental flabbiness.
In 2012, British blogger Alastair Humphreys was named a National Geographic “Adventurers of the Year.” With non-academic rigor, his “The three stages of flabbiness” theory argues that the three successive stages of flabbiness are physical flabbiness, mental flabbiness and moral flabbiness. However, his theory doesn’t require that physical flabbiness precede mental flabbiness, and overwhelming current and historical evidence suggest it doesn’t have to.
Humphreys applies his theory to his own life, but his three stage theory is useful in thinking about St. Pete Beach as well because there is equally overwhelming historical evidence that mental flabbiness leads to moral flabbiness. The former can even be a symptom of the latter.
Will moral flabbiness follow the already evident mental flabbiness in St. Pete Beach? Has it already? Would the “appointed commissioners” better be described as the “anointed” commissioners? If so, who anointed them? And to serve whose interests?
As always….the Guardian reports and the readers decide. Please like our Facebook page to find out when we publish new stories.