Fort Lauderdale Observer
Updated Wednesday 12/9/09 • Email Corrections

Mayor Jack Seiler's 'Divided City' speech: Why he voted against Gretsas

from 11/17/09 (see video)

• Gretsas issue causes divisiveness that is ‘unbelieveable ... It concerns me deeply’

• A City Commission 3-2 split on Gretsas is ‘very unhealthy ... It disrupts the synergy. ... You lose sight of your goals’

• Hundreds of emails ran 2-1 AGAINST Gretsas

• Gretsas’ contracts with 18 top aides could cost city millions in severance

Transcript & photos inside

Download audio mp3 of Seiler for your iPod/iPhone or other mp3 player. Listen while you walk the dog! (11.4 MB)


A thoughtful Jack SeilerAt the dramatic Nov. 17, 2009 City Commission meeting, Mayor Jack Seiler kept repeating an interesting phrase in talking about the future of George Gretsas:

Seiler said he couldn't commit to "A THREE-YEAR DEAL." The implication is that just maybe he could commit to a one-year deal.

Gretsas' poor management practices and pitiful people skills have divided the city and divided the Commission. That should be all Seiler needs to know. While Gretsas may suppress his dark instincts for a time, like Nixon, he will never change. Gretsas is a Dark Force that makes the trains run on time.

Commissioners Roberts and Rodstrom say "Gretsas Must Go." They will not back down. Given that, any contract extension would mean a slow, painful demise for the Gretsas Administration. That would be very bad for our city.

One of the things I like about our Mayor is his positive spirit. He now has the power to bring that positive spirit to the City Manager's office by replacing George Gretsas. That's exactly what he should vote to do.

When a new, more open, more honest City Manager is in place, it will be a happy day for Gretsas Huggers and Gretsas Haters alike. It will be a win-win. And Jack Seiler is the man who can make that happen. — Cal Deal

Jack Seiler and George Gretsas

Commissioner Roberts blasts Gretas


(See transcript)

Download audio mp3s of Roberts for your iPod/iPhone or other mp3 player. Listen while you stroll through the Galleria!
Part 1 (10.9 MB) Part 2 (9.4 MB)

• Gretsas verbally abuses and mistreats city staff

• Either agree with Gretsas ‘or you’re ostracized, you’re put down’

• Citizens are afraid to speak against Gretsas

• Gretsas mistreats City Auditor, Swimming Hall of Fame CEO

• Gretsas berates City Clerk for ‘for embarrassing him’

• Gretsas’ top-down control stifles creativity

• Gretsas hired inexperienced people for key jobs

• Gretsas didn’t cut spending — Silva did it

• Gretsas tightly restricts economic development

• Gretsas bottles up neighborhood development

• Gretsas racked up $91 million in unused tax revenues

• 'Unethical, and borderline illegal’ conduct in Federal Court

• Use of grant money — Where’s the honesty?

• Gretsas Administration dawdles on fire alarm overpayment issue

• Multi-million dollar cost overrun in Southside School project

• Gretsas Administration failed to deal with $2.5 million HUD payback

• ‘A lot’ of Gretsas’ public presentations ‘to me are misrepresentations’

• Gretsas ignored City Commission’s hiring freeze order

• Public records requests get stonewalled

• Change ‘is not gonna happen’ with Gretsas at the helm


Click here for the transcript
of Roberts' dramatic speech

Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Bruce Roberts and City Manager Floyd Johnson in 2003. © Cal Deal

Then Police Chief Bruce Roberts, center, with Gretsas' predecessor, City Manager Floyd Johnson, right, in 2003.

Commissioner Rodstrom reveals Gretsas' 'secret' contracts with top aides
City faces possibility of huge severance payout

Immediately after hearing Commissioner Roberts' speech condemning Gretsas, Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom decided to reveal a stack of documents she had been holding back: Contracts City Manager Gretsas signed with 18 top aides [see list held up by Rodstrom].

All of them include severance packages which total in the millions of dollars. Both Rodstrom and Mayor Jack Seiler indicated that they are disturbed by that potential liability.

None of the contracts had been shown to the City Commission prior to being executed, Rodstrom said. Gretsas has the authority to unilaterally enter into such contracts.

Five of the contracts, which run for two years, were signed just before this year's City Commission election.

Gretsas has substantially increased the number of "loyal staff members" who get such contracts. Previously many of those positions were division chiefs who did not report directly to the City Manager.

Commissioner Romney Rogers looks uncomfortable

He ignores the dark side of Gretsas

How can a man like Romney Rogers essentially turn a blind eye to the passionate and anguished remarks of his colleague, Bruce Roberts?

How can he turn a blind eye to the abuse and intimidation of city employees? How can he turn a blind eye to Gretsas' oppressive micromanagement style, which stifles honest communication and drains the creative juices from our city employees?

How can Rogers turn a blind eye to the divisiveness Gretsas has caused within our city — divisiveness that has the Mayor expressing deep concern? Divisiveness that has split the City Commission itself?

How can Rogers not realize that the way Gretsas treats many people is not the way decent human beings operate?

How can Rogers ignore my own story — told face-to-face — about being the target of fear tactics by The Gretsas Team as they tried to get me to back off neighborhood causes they didn't like?

How can Romney Rogers not see that there is something terribly wrong here? Why doesn't he understand that we can do so much better than this?

Rogers' vote in favor of Gretsas shows a disturbing indifference to the dark side of our City Manager. I had hoped for better.

— Cal Deal

George Gretsas and Barney

David Hebert: All Police hat and no bullets

Gretsas put longtime P.R. flack David Hebert in charge of Police & Fire — What's wrong with that picture?

Former Police Chief Roberts criticizes appointment because Hebert lacked police experience

Click here to find out more


New York writer slames Gretsas in 2004 'good riddance' article

"City Hall will be a far less nervous place. ... He could have run a more open government, a nicer government, a government that inspired confidence instead of suspicion." SOUND FAMILIAR?

Read the article's string of criticism here.EMAIL YOUR THOUGHTS ON GRETSAS HERE



Word is that former City Manager Connie Hoffman is once again interested in the job. I've never met or spoken to her; she had the job before I was an "active" citizen. But my impressions of her tenure are nothing but positive. – Cal Deal

By former Mayor Robert A. Dressler, April 2005:

"I served as mayor [of Fort Lauerdale] for two terms, through 1985, and when I left, the city was in great financial shape, with substantial financial reserves. Our focus was on planning for the future: There was the 1986 bond issue, which funded the beach redevelopment, Riverwalk, neighborhood improvement, etc. I credit City Manager Connie Hoffman and her excellent staff for much of what was accomplished. She never let us spend a penny more than was in the budget."

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Cal Deal
1317 SE 2nd Ave.
Fort Lauderdale 33316

(954) 295-3726

Always do right. This will gratify some people
and astonish the rest.
Mark Twain