Dissed Dean

     Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Dean Trantalis says he feels disrespected by his colleagues. And he says he is not going to let the dissing stand!…..


                 Here’s the story  – and how he’s not going to let the issue go

      Trantalis wanted to replace his appointment to Citys’ Planning and Zoning Board, Bradford Cohen, (whose term on the Board, according to City records, was up,) with long time city activist Steve Glassman.

      Now if the name Bradford Cohen sounds familiar, it’s because Cohen, a local criminal attorney, is somewhat famous. He is a pundit on Fox and CNN, among other TV Shows.


       And what makes the story somewhat ironic, Cohen was a contestant on Donald Trumps’ – the Apprentice, and was fired !  ….  So when Trantalis decided not to reappoint him to the Board, Cohen got defensive and put up a fight –  “I wasn’t going to be fired from this one”, he told me, laughing!

      So Cohen allegedly spoke to the Mayor and other Commissioners before the meeting, and was ready when Trantalis announced that he would be replacing Cohen.

      Trantalis’s colleagues said that the City records were flawed, and Cohen actually deserved another year on the Board. Trantalis asked the City attorney if that was correct, having been reassured before the meeting that Cohen’s term was up,  and Attorney Everett , said she agreed – with both Trantalis and the Mayor ???


     ….    Anyhow, this morning Trantalis sent this memo to  Everett, asking for her to definitively clear up the whole debacle. 


      What occurred yesterday at the Conference Meeting was very troubling on many levels.

      I was informed by city staff that the term of one of my appointments on the Planning and Zoning Board was reaching its end, and it was my responsibility to either reappoint that person, or to appoint a new person.

   It appears that this information was based on my understanding of the following:

1.       The September 2012 resolution, signed by Mayor John P. Seiler, wherein it stated that Bradford Cohen would be appointed to complete the term vacated by Catherine Maus until May 2014.
2.       The board appointment roster from the Clerk’s office indicating that the term of Bradford Cohen was to conclude on May 2014.

     It seems that Mr. Cohen chose to challenge the accuracy of these documents, and he prevailed upon the majority of the Commission to interpret the rules regarding appointments in such a way as to permit him to serve until May 2015.

     By way of history, you should be aware that when I was concluding my first term of office in 2006, Charlotte Rodstrom, who was serving as my appointee on P & Z, stepped down to run for office and I appointed Steve Glassman to replace her. He served through the balance of Charlotte’s P & Z term, and then, during the tenure of Harry Stewart, was informed that he needed to be reappointed before he could continue to serve on the Board. When Charlotte was elected to the Commission, she then reappointed him. He was not informed that he could serve a term of three years when he was first appointed.

     I bring this up because you had indicated that based on the reading of the law and past practices, the decision of the commission was consistent. To me, common sense and decades of practice by successive city commissions was turned on its head yesterday, all for the purpose of placating the interests of one individual. The entire episode was not only embarrassing, but it showed the public that personal interests trumped the rule of law. Future commissions are now left with at best only a vague notion of term succession as it is practiced in the city of Ft. Lauderdale.

     For this reason, I am seeking a legal opinion from you for the following:

       Please reconcile the practice of what occurred yesterday with why Mr. Glassman had to be reappointed by Charlotte Rodstrom when  Mr. Glassman was appointed to complete the balance of Charlotte’s term

      Please define the words “term”, “expired term”, and “interim term” , and how those words relate to appointments for the Planning and Zoning Board as well as other Boards.

       I am hoping to bring some clarity to the process so that we do not have to subject applicants or the general public again to what occurred yesterday.

     Thank you

         I’ll keep you informed ….. Tim

51 Replies to “Dissed Dean”

  1. I was at that meeting and witnessed something that just seemed fishy – did not smell right. Besides, Mr. Cohen’s behavior was embarrassing. He was practically begging to be kept on which caused many of us to wonder what’s in it for him?
    He should have been a gentlemen and stepped aside if that is what the new commissioner wanted – happens all the time – new guy comes in and replaces holdover appointments from past commissioners. At the very least, Mr. Cohen should have accepted the mayor’s offer of another Board (Adjustment).This guy obviously does not respect his own commissioner who he worked so hard to defeat a year ago.

  2. So a two-year old city resolution and 10 years of past practice on the P&Z Board mean nothing – just throw it all out at a conference meeting and make up the rules as you go. It’s nice to be king – oops – mayor.

  3. Forget what the newly hired city attorney says – her opinion is going to trump the city Charter?
    And the district elected commish who has the power to appoint to and request resignation from the boards and committees he has appointing power over?

    if brad cohen wants to be on P&Z let the mayor appoint him (and by the way you only have to be a qualified elector not actually required to live in the commish district who appoints you

    heck we have long serving members on P&Z that do not LIVE or OWN in the city limits They threw that requirement out the window first year in office (2009) stating they could not find the qualified people in the city that they felt like appointing (remember serve at the whim of the elected)


    here is the charter

    Here is the P&Z page from the board members list


    MEMBERSHIP: The board shall consist of nine members, a resident, and a qualified elector of the city. Each member shall serve for a three year term. Maximum number
    of terms that can be served: two consecutive three-year terms. The board shall elect from its members a chairperson and a vice-chairperson at an annual election held
    in June of each year who shall serve for terms of one year and who shall be eligible for reelection. Except for the provisions of the charter in regard to the adoption of
    changes in the city comprehensive plan, a quorum of this board shall be five members, and a majority vote of a quorum shall be required for a decision on any
    matter before the board. If a quorum is not present no meeting shall be held and any items of business shall be continued to the next regular meeting of the board.
    PURPOSE: Act in an advisory capacity to the city commission, conduct investigations and hold public hearings upon all proposals to change zoning regulations or to
    vacate and abandon streets and alleys; study any existing city plans with the view to improve same so as to provide for development, general improvement and probable
    future growth of the city, and from time to time make recommendations to the city commission for changes in the comprehensive plan; review and recommend approval or
    disapproval all plats to be presented to the city commission; perform such other duties as may from time to time be assigned by the city commission or prescribed by
    HISTORY: City Code, Section 47-30. Ordinance C-11-18 amended Section 47-30.3 regarding membership requirements.

    appointed board and committee members serve at the pleasure of the commissioner unless it is consensus (like board of adjustment)
    trantalis and for that matter ANY elected can appoint or remove who they want when they want although its probably handled in a more PC way with the appointee “resigning”

    so trantalis was railroaded by the other 4 and the city attorney and he capitulated

  4. Tim can you send me an email address for you? I want you to know what I’m trying to get the city to do about the lack of lighting on A1A due to the sea turtles.

  5. Bravo Brad I saw the meeting on TV and Dean acting like a child that didn’t get his way. It was laughable he’s so desperate to have some glassman on the seat. I heard Dean was trying to get rid of someone on the board when he first took office

  6. When is it appropriate for a Mayor to give legal advise from the dais? For example, Bradley you seem to have good legal grounds. Also the Mayor claimed he didn’t know who Dean’s replacement was. Really, Mr. Mayor! Mr. Mayor, your lies are coming out; out of the dark and into do the sunshine.

    If you are feeling down in the dumps, just watch a city commission meeting for pure hilarity.

  7. who is the boss – dean or brad?

    come march 2015 lets clean house on the dais
    feldman too
    oh and new city attorney

  8. Cohen is an arrogant, selfish, and spoiled man who was not going to get fired again. When Donald Trump fired him on “The Apprentice” many years ago, he told Cohen that he was the first to be fired because he did not stand up for himself. Well, little Bradford was not going to let that happen again, was he? So, just wondering what kind of relationship he now has with his District Commissioner Trantalis? Cohen made a fool of himself. Practically crying to keep that board seat – why?

  9. That new city attorney is the worst and not just with this opinion. She is totally beholden to the mayor, but incompetent. Remember- she was not even a selection of the committee that screened potential attorneys. Her name was thrown into the mix very late by forces from around the state and DuBose and Seiler to ensure an African-American attorney. Trantalis voted for Dunkle – the best candidate and they lost. This is all connected. Did you watch her during that meeting – she started out by saying that she agreed with both Seiler AND Trantalis but as the meeting went on and Seiler gave her the stare down, she realized where her bread was buttered and caved to the mayor.

  10. It is obvious during the past year that Dean Trantalis is not welcomed by the good ole boys on the dais. They stick it to him every chance they get. This episode is just one more example of that, but Trantalis has a good case here. Let the facts go to the County Inspector General and, just like with the Swimming Hall of Fame site RFP debacle, the OIG will find fault with this Commission.

  11. I think you have it just the opposite about who was acting like a child – it was Cohen. I’ve worked with Steve Glassman and know his record. He would actually have brought some balance to the P&Z Board which is now dominated by real estate agents, lobbyists, and others connected to and beholden to the developer community. But, this is not really about Cohen or Glassman – it is about process and politics.

  12. All city employees are beholding to the commission majority.
    Do we as citizens of Fort Lauderdale, not have local people willing to serve?
    Do we need to recycle people on boards and government like there are no new ideas?

  13. I watch the Commission meetings on TV. I think the City Attorney is just a stooge for the Commission. She seems to just agree after the Mayor tells her what to think. That is not the way it is suppose to go I think. And Tim, for your info, she is an African American woman, not the two mouth lady you have pictured here.

  14. Let’s get this straight. Bradford Cohen was a huge supporter of Charlotte Rodstrom against Trantalis. Threw her fundraisers, yard sign, the whole nine yards. Cohen’s candidate loses and yet his sense of self-entitlement makes him think that the P&Z seat is his to hold. Well, that’s not the way it works – never did and never will. He should have been a man and when the Commissioner requested that he step down, then end of story.

  15. What I can’t stand is when “code” or “process” is used as a weapon, and not as it is intended, as a foundation and a guide and a spirit of intent. To hide behind a word as the justification for your actions is extremely bad form. Dean is right to call out the definitions of the words the supposedly blocked his nomination. I know, I know, the lexicon of politics is purposefully ambiguous, but any time we have the opportunity to shine the light on the egregious edges of this practice, it’s a chance for the furtherance of “spirit of intent” to prevail.

  16. I love watching the crying dean on tv. I’m thinking of making a great YouTube edit for his next run at election. This will be epic. Bradford stood up to the dean mafia and that’s a good thing. I bet if Dean acted like a gentleman and asked bradford to step down instead of trying to force him off he would have. I think you don’t poke the dragon if you don’t want to get burnt.

  17. You are on to something. Dean ran against Charlotte Rodstrom and won. Steven Glassman ran against Charlotte Rodstrom and lost. John and Charlotte Rodstrom fought to keep Steven Glassman off both city and county boards.
    Bradford Cohen campaigned heavily for Charlotte Rodstrom. Mayor Seiler held a fund raiser for Charlotte. Mayor Seiler and Charlotte share a campaign manager, Michael Ahearn.
    Connecting the dots is showing a pattern…of dirty dealing.

  18. That’s exactly what happened – Dean asked Cohen to step down – his term was up. How is that “forcing him off”? He also offered him a position on the CRA Board that affects his neighborhood and the Mayor offered him another Board as well. None of those compromises were good enough for the spoiled child Cohen.

  19. The city’s website says that the term of the mayor’s appointee on P&Z does not expire until 2016. How can that be if he has been there since at least 2008? That means he is two years past the 6-year limit on this Board. The only explanation is that when he came on, he filled a previous person’s term from resignation, THEN received a full 3-year term. Exactly what Trantalis was arguing and totally contradicting the mayor.

    lawyers win and loose cases in court on semantics
    politicians win and loose with semantices
    parsing words and all

    regular people win and loose too but its not as important

  21. Will Mayor Seiler explain how his appointment can sit for 8 years? What about the others on that Board? Didn’t the guy who just left sit there for more than six years? And what about Catherine Maus before Cohen? It seems that her term went for 11 years! She was there forever as was Maria Freeman who now sits on other Boards. Speaking of other Boards, is anyone paying attention to term limits there? Seems like the City Clerk and Attorney have really dropped the ball when it comes to P&Z and the other Boards. Any consequences to that? All of this proves that Trantalis was correct.

  22. I resigned shortly after I had reached the term limit max: two three-year terms. So I served a little over six years, not 11 years. Feel free to confirm this with the City.

  23. Something must have come down big-time from the mayor the day before the Commission meeting because as recently as the Friday before, the City Attorney issued a memo (get that to the OIG)stating that the City resolution from 2012 had to be the defining record and had to stand. As we all know now, that resolution signed by the mayor lists Cohen’s term as expiring at the end of May 2014.

  24. When exactly did you resign and when exactly did Trantalis appoint you in the first place? Thanks.

  25. She says “feel free to confirm this with the City.” That is really funny considering it is the City whose records and policies are all screwed up! The City’s website to this day still says that Cohen’s term is expired on May 31, 3014!

  26. WOW! JUST WOW!!!!!!

  27. Both Bradford and Steve have served time on the P&Z Board. There are many well qualified people who are not part of the system available to bring fresh thinking to a board responsible for the City’s development. As big believers in term limits both Commissioner candidate Zalewski and former Commissioner would surely agree?

  28. Does anyone in their right mind think this scenario would have played out if anyone of the other Commissioners or the Mayor had an appointment that was expired? Would anyone of the other hypocrites on the dais ever have their own appointment blocked? If the Mayor wanted to replace an appointment from a previous mayor (like Dean wanted to do), would the city Attorney and the others block him? Enough said.

  29. Why would anyone want Glassman to get any closer to running for any office. It’s only a matter of time before he (Glassman) will stab Dean in the back if it suits his agenda. Maybe if everyone would agree to not mention Glassman’s name ever again and go forward with their sworn responsibilities of taking care of Fort Lauderdale’s best interests progress can continue at a measurable pace and not be interrupted by this nonsense.

  30. Wow – “Concerned” chimed in 4 times yesterday during the holiday between 12:08 and 12:57 pm just to change the subject and bash Glassman. Wonder who that could be hiding behind an anonymous post? Sounds like some folks were not happy with the direction of the comments.

  31. Do you notice that Jack gets louder and louder when he tries to get his agenda, err I mean thoughts across? He huffs and puffs until he goes to talking in a condescending manner.

  32. Where’s the coverage of the Dui judges epidemic?or the riot on the beach? Seems like you only cover what’s on you agenda

  33. Has anyone considered the possibility that Cohen is protecting his fellow Fort Lauderdale citizens from the Leach … Steve Glassman?

  34. Romney Rogers is appointing Genia Ellis, Director of Riverwalk, to P&Z Board on Tuesday. How can this be? Isn’t it a conflict when an agency that does so much business and partners with the City and other public and private agencies has its director on the Planning and Zoning Board? Only in Fort Lauderdale.

  35. Lots of buzz here in City Hall – the City Clerk (who screwed up on board terms to start this mess)today issued an email to commissioners, mayor, and staff stating that 25 different board members must resign immediately from their boards. See what happens when you make things up as you go and then have to cover your tracks!

  36. Isn’t Riverwalk owned by the City? Is she a city employee? Talk about tired blood and re-treads appointed to these boards. Geez.

  37. good question..hmmm. Can’t even accept a bottle of water from anyone who has a contract with the city, so at least for appearances, this should be examined. No reflection on Ms. Ellis.. but it’s the same people over and over again serving on city boards and committees. In a city of 170K, surely there are others who can serve?

  38. you mean the same city clerk who has two law suits currently filed against her, and who had an investigation carried out on her by the City Attorney?? Will the commission do anything about it? Now, that’s the question.

  39. I love this special city called Fort Lauderdale and
    know that we all share this in common. People
    make mistakes… let’s move forward folks and actively use this fabulous blog to campaign for new ideas and ways to inspire new blood to serve on our committees, boards, and volunteer networks.

  40. she along with others appointed do the bidding of the electeds

    if she is on any others boards she will need to resign

    charter says one board and one committee only at a time

    not that these bozos follow the rules or know them

    with elections in 8+ months they all want to be re-elected

  41. Maus was appointed to P&Z June 2005. That was her first meeting.

    Two 3 year terms would have you out May 2011.

    You left when?

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