Commissioners Loving Ethics Reform To Death


In Tallahassee its called, “Loving It To Death”.

That is defined as loading up of a piece of legislation with so much unnecessary baggage that it is sure to fail.

Some Broward County Commissioners appear to be using that tactic to kill the ethics regulations that the public is clamoring for.

For instance, County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman told the Sun-Sentinel ethics reform should include the Broward Legislative Delegation. 

Excuse me.

The debate has been about problem in Broward, Ms. Lieberman/Michelson, and not in Tallahassee.

The problem is, among other things, commissioners like you, Ms. Lieberman/Michelson, lobbying cities in Broward.

Including legislators in any bill could kill the reform. I would think a lawyer and veteran politician like Ms. Lieberman/Michelson would know this. 

Because Broward can’t regulate the state Legislature with any local law.  And the Legislature will never go along with a state bill that allows an inspector general to police Broward representatives and senators. 

It’s a non-starter and Lieberman/Michelson knows it.

In contrast, when Commissioner Sue Gunzburger made a sensible suggestion Tuesday, she was batting her head against the wall…again.

Gunzburger has been trying to tighten ethics rules since 2001. She has gotten nowhere.

Her colleagues have repeatedly blocked her.

She suggested on Tuesday placing the entire package of reforms drafted by the county’s Ethics Commission on the ballot as a charter amendment, rather than just an ordinance.

An ordinance can be changed by a future commission. A charter amendment can only be changed by the voters. 

She couldn’t get a second!

That says volumes about the phonies on the county commission.

Watch them very carefully.

I predict they will continue attempts to kill ethics reform by “Loving It To Death”, maybe adding unconstitutional clauses so that a judge will take them off the hook.

Only Gunzburger has clean hands on the issue of ethics reform. She vows to continue.

“I’ve waited a long time and I will continue to fight,” she says. 

Most of the others like the status quo. They like able to cash in on being a commissioner. 

Because if things change and tough ethics laws are passed, some of these commissioners will have turn down the freebees from their lobbyist friends.  They will have to stop influence peddling. They will have to do something they haven’t done since their first election:

Really work for a living.

8 Responses to “Commissioners Loving Ethics Reform To Death”

  1. You're Kidding says:

    You have to be kidding me. The same woman who made millions off the county by steering contracts to her husband has clean hands? You’re out of your mind Buddy.

    Or how about the fact that her son runs her campaign out of his Broward County office paid for by us taxpayers? If she really had fortitude and wanted to really clean things up she would make an across the board motion to prevent anyone who works for the county to not work on political campaigns of commission candidates. Coupled with the inability of campaign staffers to lobby the elected officials they help to get elected, you would have less influence peddling. But I bet you she’d never go along with that. How could her son (what’s his name?) work for both with those rules? It would never happen, because she wouldn’t let it. Hmmm….I wonder how he got that job?

    But I digress, someone who made millions off the county has no right to talk about “reform.”

    All of what you write has no relevance on the fact that she has backed ethics reform since 2001. I wrote this many times at the Sun-Sentinel and on this website. So have other reporters.

    I also wrote a group of stories at the Sun-Sentinel about Better Than Wood, the company that her husband owned and sold plastic benches to the county while she was on the county commission. It was alleged at the time at that the contract was steered to Gunzburger’s husband. The allegation was that specs were written in the bid that only Better Than Wood could meet….classic bid fixing.
    There were also allegations from county staff that the plastic material sold by Gunzburger’s husband wasn’t durable enough and failed after a short time. When county staffers complained, they were told not to make waves because the material came from a company owned by Gunzburger’s husband.

    On your other point, I have no knowledge whether her son works on her campaign on county time. He works for Property Appraiser Lori Parrish. It is true that he calls me during the day, but he always calls me on his cell phone. Ron Gunzburger is a lot of things, but he is not a fool.

  2. David Brown-noser says:

    Is Your Kidding suggesting it would be an improvement to elect full-time lobbyist Steve Geller to the Commission? A man who earned over $600,000 a year in lobbying fees while also serving in the State Senate? A man who saw his net worth go up over 700% while serving in Tallahassee? A man who has been ties to every ponzi scheme and shady felon to land in Broward (Mutual Benefits, Scott Rothstein, Joel Steigner, Chas Brady, etc) etc). A man who has pushed for building more and more highrises on the barrier islands? A man in the pockets of the non-Indian casinos and racetracks (hmmm … are they still mob controlled?). That’s the big HMMMMMM here, Buddy!

    If you thought Eggelletion, Wasserstrom and Gallagher were crooks, just wait til we get a total scumbag thug like Geller on the commission. Bad news from Day One!

  3. Lori Parrish says:

    Ron Gunzburger is employed by the Property Appraiser’s office because of Ron Gunzburger. He is an excellent lawyer and works long hours including responding to constitutents resquests that are sent to him by me on holidays and weekends.

    His mother had nothing to do with my hiring him to be our General Counsel.


  4. Floridan says:

    I’m not opposed to reasonal ethics legislation, but don’t be naive and assume that any new law will make a big difference.

    Crooks will still be crooks.

    Moreover, the people who take potshots at politicians will not be placated by elected officials who abide by the new regulations; they will just call the regulators corrupt if their targets de jour are not indicted.

    A good example is the recent “dump” issue in Sunrise. The state ethic commission states Comm. Rosen does not have a conflict, but that’s not good enough. Many people do want to go by what the law says, but by what they (in their rightous, but often feigned, outrage)”feel.”

  5. Floridan says:

    Above should ber “Many people do not . . . “

  6. Hmmmm... says:

    All I see is lobbyist campaign donations on her campaign finance reports. Hmm…I wonder how many checks were given to influence a vote?

    And the ethics board is worried about campaign volunteers? How about we just end campaign donations all together? That’s where we’re headed and that’s fine with me.

  7. Tommy the Fry Cook says:

    Talk about political grandstanding! Sue GONESburger must have been going for a Carbonell Award because her performance the other day beats out the best dramatic acting thats taken place on all the other South Florida stages. She should take her performance straight to Broadway because it’s Tony-worthy!

    Sue calling for ethics reform AFTER she made her fortune in shady deals is disingenuous at best and flat out hypocritical at worst. Can I call for a moratiorium on restaurant construction because I’ve got mine and don’t need more competition? That’s what Sue is doing.

    I hope no one is naive enough to suggest that the contract her husband got qualifies as “legitimate” just because Mike Satz didn’t have the balls to investigate public corruption charges in those days. If Keith Wasserstrom went to jail for having the POTENTIAL to make money off a shady deal and Bev Gallagher is nailed for making less than $10K, what do you think would have happened to someone that made MILLIONS?!? Just because Sue and her husband flew under the radar doesn’t mean it was legitimate.

    Sue couldn’t get a second on her motions because loading up your county charter via referendums is simply bad policy and bad governance. Leaders should lead and NON-leaders simply defer the tough decisions to other people. So now Sue thinks that something as critical and complicated as ethics reform should be thrown in front of the same people that put pigs in the state constitution?!? That’s a complete lack of leadership and a dereliction of her duties as a commissioner.

    All that grandstanding was a campaign tactic to show “I’m tough on ethics!” Ron probably has the related campaign mailouts printed already.

    Sue, how about some REAL leadership for once? Offer some ideas that are meaningful and have substance rather than silliness that does the public no good whatsoever.

  8. David Brown-noser says:

    Hi Tommy!

    How’s business at your “restaurant”? I’m sure you’re selling lots of Geller-imprinted pot holders, shirts, sponges and other crap these days!!!

    As for indicted Bev Gallagher, who you mentioned as an example of corruption … do you mean the same School Board Member Bev Gallagher who endorsed Steve Geller for Commissioner? Remember, felon Joe Eggelletion also endorsed Geller — because Geller is a “Joe Eggelletion kinda guy”, if you know what I mean. Probably Joel Steigner, Chas Brady and Scott Rothstein are backing Geller, too.