Update: Sheila Alu Resigns Sunrise



(The always controversial Commissioner Sheila Alu of Sunrise has resigned effective January 1. She was first elected in 2001.)

Sheila Alu and I are old drinking buddies.

As we sat in some tavern after work a decade ago, the intense, tall blonde would riff on what’s wrong with Sunrise where she was a newly elected commissioner.

What was wrong usually came down to two words – Pat Salarno.

Salarno was the secretive but successful city manager.  He was a control freak who resented commissioners interfering with his city.

Sheila didn’t like Salarno.

She felt he cut inside deals. She thought he filled city hall with flunkies.  There is no doubt he rode roughshod over staff.

Alu spent years fighting the Salarno-supported no-bid waste contract.  She was fiercely single-minded about putting that contract out to bid to save residents money.

She eventually pried open the waste contract despite resistance among her fellow commissioners. She bravely fought shady waste lobbyists and stood up to industry thugs who threated her.

The savings to Sunrise residents – millions.

It was her shining moment.

She went on to change the face of Sunrise government.

Eventually engineering Salarno’s departure, she opened up other contracts. She worked to defeat commissioners she believed were working against the people.

She was a hard worker, tackling insiders deeply entrenched in Sunrise City Hall while going to law school..

All this was great for me.  She was a great source.

Alu had that one quality political columnists love – she was a gossip.

To reporters, that’s a good thing.

She would drop a dime on anybody she thought was doing wrong…and she was almost always right.

We had the symbiotic relationship every reporter has with a good source:  She got to expose her enemies as bad guys and I got many inches to fill my columns in the Sun-Sentinel.

      Sheila No Saint

But after awhile, I started noticing chinks in the armor of Saint Sheila.

Once married to a cop, I saw she had a cop’s view of the world.  She saw the world in black and white.

The world, especially the political world, is often shades of grey.

She saw conspiracies everywhere.  Sometimes she was right.  Often she was wrong.

She became fixated on cleaning up everything she thought was wrong with Broward’s political structure…and she didn’t see much that was right.

Long-time friends didn’t live up to her sense of right and wrong.

Alu volunteered to wear a wire for the FBI when she circulated through Broward’s political world.

Her big score: Bev Gallagher, a School Board member who sometimes had drinks with us after Sunrise commission meetings.

She helped hire as city attorney in a no-bid deal her long-time consigliore and friend, Stuart Michelson.

In the end, she was even suggesting the city rehire her nemesis Salarno.  I almost fell off my chair when I read that!

With all her flaws – who isn’t flawed? – I believe Alu remained dedicated to helping the people of Sunrise.

She always seemed – and I can’t say this about every politician – 100 percent honest. She would angrily reject any opportunities to benefit from her role as commissioner.

Recently, Alu was working her traditional long hours as a sex crimes prosecutor, while helping raise her two-month old granddaughter and be a commissioner.

Something had to give, so she wisely gave up being a commissioner.

“Work is kicking my butt,” she messaged me Friday.  “This is what’s its all about now.”

Asked how she can afford to give up a big chunk of her salary, Alu wrote, “I’ll be fine, but thanks for your concern.”

At the bottom of the message was a picture of her with her granddaughter.

It’s good to see that she has her priorities right.

Good luck, Sheila.

22 Responses to “Update: Sheila Alu Resigns Sunrise”

  1. christine says:

    The sun sets in Sunrise….

  2. Sam The Sham says:

    This publicity hog cannot go long without being the center of attention. She will be back in the spotlight before long.

  3. Independent says:

    Great. Now it looks like a Special Election at how much? $225,000 in Ft. Lauderdale? Sunrise is bleeding money to spend unnecessarily.

    Charter Section 3.05. Filling of Vacancies in the Office of the Mayor or Commissioner. A vacancy or vacancies in the Office of Mayor or City Commissioner shall be filled as provided in the following:

    (a) A vacancy in the office of Mayor or Commissioner shall be filled by an election which shall be held prior to or not later than one hundred fifty (150) days after the vacancy is created. In the event there is no regularly scheduled city-wide election within the one hundred fifty (150) day periods referred to throughout this Section 3.05 or in the event the qualifying period for such regularly scheduled city-wide election is over, then the Commission shall schedule a special election within one hundred fifty (150) days of the date the vacancy is created.

    Am I reading it right?

    If she was going to do this, why couldn’t she have done this last summer when she dropped out the County Commission race and then it would be decided in November? and saved hundreds of thousands of $$.

    Just spending more of my money.

    If I am wrong, then sorry. I am just going by what I was reading from their Charter.

  4. Lamberti is garbage says:

    Pre-indictment damage control?

  5. Hmmm says:

    I hear Judy Stern is getting Wishner out of mothballs.

  6. just saying says:

    I thought I read she would have to leave SAO if she ran/elected to BCC. So she chose to leave BCC race. I have no doubt Sunrise has its issues – every city does because without a strong mayor government (excepting plantation and WM, I believe) the city mgr. rules, in spite of a comm. because a majority vote by comm. will support a strong arm mgr. Sweetheart deals are cut by all city managers in Broward – line ’em up – Hollywood, Hallandale, FLL, Deerfield, CS, and of course Sunrise. So she realized the real power is not as a flunky elected city comm.?? Who knows. but as an attorney, just like all the other elected officials who are attorneys, and serving as mayor or comm., they know where the line is and know to get up close and not cross it. She saw the lay of the land, assessed what was important and made a good choice. Maybe an elected higher office down the road for her? Who knows? How many years till the pension minimum is met? Who knows? At the end of the day there is far too much corruption and almost corruption to clean it up yourself, and then theres just another wave of players coming behind the term limited and those moving on up to higher office or appointment.
    I suspect that is why most elected officials are against Amendments 3 and 4 (are there others??) on Nov. 6 ballot because its going to force them to reign in spending. Checking their power. so voters please vote wisely on these matters. And kudos to Alu for more time with her family.

  7. November Election? says:

    @ Independent, read the law again, it says the election can be held PRIOR TO the vacancy being created. So the November election CAN cover the January 1 vacancy.

    But then a practical problem arises: people are already completing absentee ballots, so the people who have already voted absentee would have no chance to vote on who should take Alu’s seat!

  8. @indy says:

    The baby is two months old. Big life changing events like babies tend to change people’s priorities…

  9. Independent says:

    Dear November Election?

    You are right if she had timely resigned earlier this summer. She didn’t. It’s far too late to do it in November, so a special election at taxpayers expense (unbudgeted) is required. I wish it could be done, but not now.

    Somehow the Commission has to come up with something to fix this situation. Money is too tight.

    Why don’t they craft a charter amendment for the same time to address this. They are already spending our money, and if it saves our money in the future, it will be worth it.

    Maybe the Commission has the ability, with unanimous consent, to appoint someone until the next election that is regularly scheduled to be held in Sunrise, or a specially scheduled county or state wide election if it happens earlier. Or it stays empty till then and they work with 4 Commissioners. At least one less Commissioner won’t be noticeable (they have seats not districts and are all at large) and save about $50000/year.

    I am sure other cities have figured out how to do it.

  10. John Fusaro says:

    The residents knew this could happen when we voted for the change.

  11. November Election? says:

    When is the next regularly scheduled election in Sunrise (after November 2012)? As far as I can tell, that would be November 2014, or maybe a few months earlier if there is a 2014 primary.

    The law allows the election to take place up to 150 days – five months – after the vacancy is created. In this case, that means no later than May 2013.

  12. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:


    When Capellini was removed, Poitier but forward her crony – Gloria Battle.

    Who, in her very first meeting, voted to approve $12K in funding for a 501(c) — an organization for which she was on the Board — and in fact, Battle wrote the grant.. The grant she then voted to approve.

    Vote Romney 2012 — He’s White!

  13. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    Don’t mistake comment activity for accomplishments.

    PS Alu’s done more than most here.

    PSS Ritter, and Gunzburger, are the only two votes on the right side of the Lauderdale Lakes equation.

    That’s $9M in loans Stacy’s trying to keep us taxpayers from absorbing.

    Again, to the various prolific commenters who need to find a life, hobby, and batteries for their dongs, don’t mistake activity for accomplishments.

  14. NoseBleedSeats says:

    A strong Mayor for Sunrise – that’s brilliant! Just look to the past and ask yourself how that would’ve worked out. Feren – he’s a judge and that says it all, Wishner – sure, let’s build a landfill in upwind of the mall! Demonstrated brilliance at every turn! Mayor Ryan? To be fair, he may be up to the task, but he couldn’t afford to leave his practice to make the pittance a strong Mayor’s job would pay. Strong Mayor’s never get paid what they’re worth because their compensation becomes political. Can you see a strong Mayor making $275k like the City Manager/School Superintendant in Pembroke Pines? Get real, strong Mayors are about the last ethical challenge we need in Broward. The best thing for Mayor Ryan is to hire a new City Manager he can partner with to get him where he wants to go, because he’s cut out for far more than being the Mayor of Sawgrass Mills, I mean Sunrise!

  15. Chaz Stevens, Penis says:

    Is this the reason your kissing Ritter be-hind? Lauderdale Lakes and Stacey Ritter are match made in heaven

  16. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    Kissing her behind? For what exactly…

    Not following Dale Holeness down the rabbit hole?

    For trying to keep the taxpayer from getting nailed with a $9M bill?

    For calling Jon Allen’s bluff? The same Allen who the OIG said “clearly violated Florida law with his felony bid splitting”?

    Eat me, asshole.

  17. Chaz Stevens, Penis says:

    Commisioner Holness looks out for his people. He does the right thing. Commisioner Ritter cares about winning her election. Why do you focus on Broward cities of color only?

  18. toyman says:

    Finally Alu is gone!!! Sunrise is a better place now. One down one to go….hey Scuotto are you next? Please follow in Alu footsteps and quit and run your sucky restaurant. Its about time these sunrise commisioners leave the dais because they are well over paid for part time work especially Scuotto he cant even read his own emails cuz he doesnt know how!!! These 2 commisioners shouldve been gone a long time ago its about time we as residents get new commisioners to breathe new life into our city and not want has beens brought back here such as salerno…. nice try scuotto why dont you quit and go work in the gables with him. No more fbi and wire taps alu no one to screw or be screwed. Good luckw with your future endeavors you wont be missed!!! Mayor ryan is estatic now that you are leaving. Time to celebrate……

  19. JP says:

    @ Penis…isn’t it obvious? Genius is a racist. Vote for Romney because he is white? Buddy should not allow such filth on this site.

  20. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    I think this “Christine” is quite impressive. As far as Sheila Alu better late than never. January 1-can’t come fast enough.

  21. Sunrise resident says:

    Chaz, sometimes you have some pretty good retorts, but you have a tendancy to get vile and rude and it only makes me disagree with you immediately. Can’t you get potty trained or something? Alu is gone, ding dong the witch is dead…thats what I say!!! She is no hero in my eyes.

  22. Stone Cold's Bottom Line says:

    I 1000 percent agree with Sunrise resident! Chaz, shut up, go away, crawl under the rock you call an abode. You are disgusting, through and through.