City Manager George Gretsas draws fanatical fans and furious foes.
Seems many either love him or hate him ! His fans turned out in big numbers at the last Commission meeting, extolling his many talents and city management prowess!
Many in the opposition, on the other hand, generally stay in the shadows, grumble behind his back, whisper about his ouster.
One detractor is the exception. And his smoldering anger might be bordering on Gretsas Ouster Obsession, hereafter known by the acronym GOO !
See what I mean below –
Seventy-eight pictures of Gretsas. Activist Cal Deal digitized the tape of the meeting showing Gretsas every 5 seconds during Gretsas’s attempt to save his job. He posted them today on his new web site, built with the express purpose of seeing that the Gretsas contract isn’t ever renewed.
Here’s a sample of that web site.
If you have GOO, or are just curious, Deal’s site is at FortLauderdaleObserver.com
No action is expected on the Gretsas contract at tomorrow’s Commission meeting.
You’ll remember that disgraced former County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion
was removed from office by Governor Charlie Crist for all sorts of devilish behavior.
Crist’s gubernatorial duties then called for him to appoint a replacement to fill the empty seat, and community activists have been quite angry that Crist was stalling in choosing the Broward County District 9 fill- in Commissioner.
Crist had a problem. In a nearly all black, democratic district, Crist needed to find a black republican!
Crist got creative. He chose a black republican that lived elsewhere, even though the law called for the seat to be filled with a resident of District 9. Crist chose Dania Beach Commissioner Al Jones.
( who lived elsewhere)
That action set off an unbelievable chain reaction over the Thanksgiving Holiday. Seeing that the residency rules had apparently been suspended by the Governor, pols began to move!
Former Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Dean Trantalis announced his candidacy for Mayor of Wilton Manors, even though he lives in Fort Lauderdale.
On the heels of the Trantalis announcement, former Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson, not to be outdone, and looking for a new opportunity, threw her hat in the ring for Mayor of Tallahassee. Hutchinson says she will move there “soon”!.
And in the oddest of announcements, City Manager George Gretsas, still smarting from last week’s Fort Lauderdale City Commision decision, threw himself a fundraiser for the position of Mayor of White Plains, New York, “just to hedge my bets”,. he opined !
…. Some suggest that Governor Crist should run for Governor of Alaska! … and move there today! …… Tim
So what happens now with City Manager George Gretsas?
Mayor Jack Seiler and City Manager George Gretsas
Rumors have been running wild.
A published rumor,at the end of last week , on the blog of former Sun-Sentinel political reporter Buddy Nevins, seemed to have the scoop! It quoted unnamed “sources” as saying Gretsas could be out of town as early as “next week”.
The story went on to say that Commissioners were working the phones “overtime” to find a
replacement. It even named possible replacements! And in a tone reminiscent of Nevins style while at the Sun-Sentinel, warned the City Commission against making “back room deals”. He ended his blog telling the Commission that it ” only takes hitting the send button to file an ethics complaint”.
The only problem with all the tough talk is both Seiler and Gretsas say it’s all incorrect.
This evening, Seiler and Gretsas called the reporting bunk and Gretsas sent me the following statement, along with Seiler’s comment to Buddy Nevins.
Got your message about the Nevins piece. Below is a statement that the Mayor just posted on the Nevins site which hopefully corrects the record. I was at City Hall working on Friday. Work continues as normal. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with the entire Commission. I love my job and will continue to work hard as long as I am welcome to do so.
from Jack Seiler to Buddy Nevins
Although you have been one of the best and most reliable members of the local media and you have generally been accurate in your coverage, I must dispute the above post.
First, I am not an “anti-Gretsas” Mayor. Based upon the reasons already discussed and debated in public, I decided not to give George a three (3) year renewal of his employment contract. It was an extremely difficult decision to make, as I had to consider numerous factors beyond his past job performance (which had been generally solid).
Second, I have not made any telephone calls concerning George’s exit or George’s replacement. I also have not had any communications with Hoffman, Bentley, Witschen or anybody else (including Tim Smith) about becoming the next City Manager. Further, I have not had any “backroom” discussions about the City Manager position with any elected member of our City Commission. My impression has been that our City Commissioners fully understand the meaning, intent, spirit, and significance of our Sunshine Laws.
Third, as I previously stated, I will be sitting down with George in the near future to discuss where we go from here, and where the City goes from here. George has a contract through next summer and I would expect that George and the City would honor that contract. George has been a professional and responsible City Manager, and I have no reason to believe that George will not remain a professional and responsible City Manager. When the time comes to make a final decision about George’s future, I can assure the public and you that the City Commission, George Gretsas, and I will all put the best interests of the City of Fort Lauderdale first.
Thanks for the opportunity to set the record straight.
So for those of you that thought the Gretsas employment matter was resolved – think again!
Stay Tuned ! ……. Tim
If you follow local politics, ever, last night’s Commission meeting was not one to miss!
Fort Lauderdalians had been waiting months to find out the fate of the controversial City Manager George Gretsas.
Though all the details weren’t ironed out about his future as City Manager last night, one thing is for sure – Gretsas had a very bad night.
feeling the pain
At first, things seemed to be going George’s way. The assembled crowd of citizens were overwhelming in their support of Gretsas. Some even coined it a ” Gretsas love fest”. One favorable commenter even compared the vibes to Woodstock!
But then the hammer dropped!
First in line was Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom, Gretsas’s most outspoken critic.
She blasted Gretsas, and then, in a “smoking gun” type moment, produced 18 employment contracts that she said Gretsas had signed shortly before the new Commission was sworn in. The contracts gave Gretsas a dastardly edge. It allowed Gretsas to “fire” those 18 employees, but in doing so award long expensive severance packages to them. Gretsas could cause the City some financial pain before he were let go.
Charlotte’s “smoking gun”
Then it was Commissioner Bruce Roberts‘ turn. In a blistering attack, Roberts, who has had a long and not so pleasant relationship with Gretsas, moved to not extend Gretsas’s contract, and the motion was seconded by Rodstrom.
Roberts – “off with his head!”
Not so fast, cried out Gretsas’s Commissioner supporters, Rogers and Dubose. Both sang praises of Gretsas and seemed at times perplexed, and other times angry with their colleagues.
And then there was Jack !
As expected, the vote was two-two. Mayor Seiler would be the swing vote.
No one knew what Jack would do, not even Jack. But as he sat listening to two of his colleagues’s fervent opposition to the Manager, Seiler decided he could not offer Gretsas another three year contract. He explained that it was Gretsas’s job to make a believer out of Rodstrom and Roberts, and he had failed to do so. The friction left behind could be crippling.
Seiler lectures the Manager
In one of the most open and transparent displays of political discourse I’ve ever witnessed, Seiler publicly told Gretsas he shouldn’t have pushed for a three year contract –
– “didn’t I tell ya George? didn’t I tell you this morning not to go for the three or nothing approach?”
Gretsas could only manage a weak “yes, you did”. Seiler added that he had told Gretsas to get his support out to the meeting, do what he could.
The meeting ended with a decision to discuss Gretsas’s future with the City at a future City Commission conference meeting, now that his contract had been officially “non renewed”. Gretsas has another ten months left on his current contract, and the door was left open (though just a tad) for a reconciliation down the road.
Gretsas could not be reached for comment.
Stay tuned ! ……….. Tim P.S. thanks to Cal Deal and Art Seitz for the great pictures!
City Manager George Gretsas’s employment future should be decided at the upcoming City Commission meeting, this Tuesday night.
Gretsas lives on the beautiful Fort Lauderdale Beach and has this beautiful view when he wakes –
Fort Lauderdale beach at sunrise
He’s trying to keep that view, and his job! As we’ve told you before, the conventional wisdom of him being retained as the City Manager stands at two votes for, two against, and one hanging in the balance.
Gretsas lives at the Points of America Condo that overlooks the inlet at Port Everglades.
Here are the stats on the property records that detail the value if his condo, and the taxes he pays:
Site Address 2100 S OCEAN LANE # XXX , FORT LAUDERDALE
Property Owner GRETSAS,GEORGE
Mailing Address 2100 S OCEAN LANE # XXX FORT LAUDERDALE FL 33316
Legal Description POINT OF AMERICAS CONDO UNIT XXX
Property Assessment Values
Year Land Building Just Value Assessed Tax Bill
2009 $37,810 $340,330 $378,140 $378,140 $6,838.35
2008 $50,670 $456,050 $506,720 $482,760 $8,854.81
You’ll see that he took quite a beating in the value of his condo ( and the subsequent reduction in taxes) this year. Here’s the sales history of that condo –
Date Type Price Book Page
6/1/2006 WD $545,000 42373 937
5/1/1987 WD $130,000 14466 675
6/1/1971 WD $52,000
12/1/1969 WD $43,500
Check back Wednesday morning to find out if Gretsas gets to keep that stunning view!
………. not so fast !!
…. due to the death of Commissioner Bobby Duboses’s mother , the discussion on George Gretsas’s future with the City is reported to be deferred to a future meeting…….
……………….. whew !!!!!!
Stay Tuned !!! ……Tim