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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Daytona Public Officials Conflict of Interest: Shiver and Taylor

Fleecing od Daytona BeachDuring the June 4th Public Hearing, the Daytona Beach City Commission voted for a cost of living amendment to the police and fire pension plan (Ordinance No. 03-129).

Commissioners Rick Shiver and Dwayne Taylor both have a vested interest but failed to abstain from voting on the amendment. Both Taylor and Shiver are retired firemen employees of the city and will obtain personal benefit from the measure they voted on. This conduct seems to be in violation of ethics rules and state-mandated open government laws.

Daytona Commissioner Dwayne TaylorAs elected public officials, Mr. Shiver and Mr. Taylor are sworn to uphold the interest of the city they serve above their own. Daytona Commissioner Rick ShiverThey have a duty to publicly disclose any personal interest in any matter in front of them for voting consideration as well as abstaining from voting in such matters. There is extensive case history in common law, Florida ethics rules and just plain good morals and reasonable expectations of honesty that support that notion.


No county, municipal, or other local public officer shall vote in an official capacity upon any measure which would inure to his or her special private gain or loss;

Such public officer shall, prior to the vote being taken, publicly state to the assembly the nature of the officer's interest in the matter[ ...]

Extracts from Fla. Stat. § 112.3143(3)(a)

MISUSE OF PUBLIC POSITION.--No public officer, employee of an agency, or local government attorney shall corruptly use or attempt to use his or her official position or any property or resource which may be within his or her trust, or perform his or her official duties, to secure a special privilege, benefit, or exemption for himself, herself, or others.

Fla. Stat. § 112.313(6)

The measure, voted 6-1 by the City Commission (with McKay valiantly the sole dissenter) and approved by the city attorney, added a 2% cost of living increase to city and fire pensioners after six years of retirement.

This action will cost Daytona Beach taxpayers an additional $1.25 million per year which will grow exponentially in the future. None of the Commissioners, Mr. Robert Gilliland, Ms. Shiela McKay, Ms Cassandra Reynolds, Ms. Pamela Woods and Mayor Glenn Richey, raised any questions about the propriety of having Taylor and Shiver participate in the discussion and voting.

The City attorney was present and also failed to raise any objections.

Daytona Beach City Commission

This increase is in addition to last year’s 8% across-the-board salary increase to city employees approved by the city commission. These rates are far above the rates of the private sector, where merit and job performance are the main driving considerations.

Mr. Taylor not only avoided abstaining from voting, he actively participated in the short discussion arguing the merits of the increase that will benefit him. Citizens outrage is well justified as Commissioner Taylor is not only benefiting personally from his vote as public official, but this conflict of interest is even more pronounced as he is also a Trustee of the Daytona Beach Police and Fire Pension Fund.

Commissioner Rick Shiver is the subject of several criminal complaints regarding the sale of his personal residence to the city for over twice its just value, a measure that his fellow commissioners approved. In a surprising and inexplicable move, city officials ordered the demolition of the home soon after the purchase. There were substantial questions about the methods used to appraise the property and other less than transparent procedural issues.

Commissioner Dwayne Taylor is running for election to the state legislature. The Florida state legislature is composed of highly educated and experienced individuals and is considered a giant step up in responsibility from city service. If elected, the position will present substantial challenges to Mr. Taylor.

His record is less than perfect and he has consistently voted for increased spending and taxes largely contributing to the current financial crisis Daytona is undergoing. This runaway spending is also named in several state criminal complaints for the use of city funds to finance personal indulgences in the arts of a wealthy campaign contributor. Last year, Taylor was surrounded by controversy when a widely popular radio show host addressed him as “inept” and "incompetent" like a "monkey".

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