published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Warner removed from AP Police Pension Board post
By PHIL ATTINGER
AVON PARK -- Although Greg Warner was not present at Monday's meeting, the Avon Park City Council voted 3-1 to remove him as chairperson of the Police Pension Board.
They also asked City Attorney Gerald Buhr to send a letter to the pension board asking members to comply with the city's request for public records by Oct. 11.
If not, Buhr has been authorized to sue for release of those records when he returns from vacation on Oct. 12.
Councilman Garrett Anderson dissented and Mayor Sharon Schuler abstained from voting since she is running against Warner for mayor this November.
Buhr said he would be willing to work on the matter while he is on vacation.
The Pension Board is autonomous from the city, but Warner was the city council's appointed representative to the board.
The city council had hoped to see Warner or another trustee Monday, but City Manager Julian Deleon told the council Warner had said in an email that he was not interested in having a joint meeting with the city.
Deleon wanted to remove Warner at a special meeting on Sept. 4, but was told no by the council on the grounds that Warner was not there to speak for himself.
Instead, the city council set joint meeting with the police pension board on Oct. 14.
Anderson said Monday that the city should stick with that plan, especially since pension board members wanted to wait until their attorney could be present.
"So, if we already made provisions to make a meeting, let's do what we said we were going to do, give these people the respect they deserve -- the benefit of the doubt -- and have the meeting," Anderson said.
Deleon said he got documents from the City of Bartow within a week of asking -- because a member of the police pension board there had been copied on the emails.
Through those emails, Deleon said Warner and Police Pension Board Administrator Carol Knapp have been maneuvering to terminate the police pension system without other pension board members knowing about it.
Deleon said he wanted Knapp's records to find out who else was informed.
He said that although many people in the plan might not be old enough to retire, closing the plan means each vested member would get a "lump sum check" based on expected life span.
That could easily run into the "tens of millions of dollars," said Brian W. Koji with Allen, Norton & Blue, a labor and employment law firm in Tampa.
Deleon also accuses Knapp, Warner and others -- including Anderson -- of intentionally bypassing Sunshine laws by using personal email accounts to communicate with each other.
Anderson was copied on emails while Councilman Parke Sutherland -- liaison to the pension board -- was not.
Anderson said he turned in all copies of those emails and broke no laws.
Deleon asked Anderson to "enlighten us since you have a direct pipeline," but Anderson said he had no answers for pension board member's intentions.
Sutherland said he was concerned the issue has dragged on for eight weeks without "meaningful" response and didn't believe a joint meeting would be useful if the board chair had refused to attend a joint meeting.
Buhr said the meeting was to explain what was being said, but had nothing to do with the records request.
He said it appeared to be an intentional delay of releasing documents.
Whose your daddy? (by: Youza - 9/26/2013)
Avon Park has needed an aggressive manager unike most of the bureaucrats in the County. I think its good to see a no bull approach in Avon Park. Much better to see effective governance than bench warmers as AP has had for decades. Funny how some media people love smaller governement until their freinds get the machete. Maybe after the dust settles we will be thankful he did what he did. I still am convinced that its a handful of folks that want him out. Just look at the crowd any given council meeting... people who lost their jobs after years of cushy leaching of city tax dollars, people that dislike AP for not allowing a boarding house on Main Street, extememly unhealthy appearing people, and people in leadership positions from the Unions.
SpongeBob Double Dipper II (by: Blindman~ - 9/26/2013)
Not only was Bubba "double dipping" income from Avon Park with his second job, it was like a "triple dip" because the city was paying his health insurance also. When the City reduced some employee's "work hours" Bubba lost his health ins. benefit and chose not to replace it until he had a medical issue and needed it. It was then that Carol Knapp passionately appealed to the public for donations of more money from tax payers to help purchase health ins for poor Bubba. One can only imagine how Carol Knapp, Bubba, and others, might have blamed the City manager for the unfortunate events to befall on Bubba, all of which were his own personal responsibility just like yours & mine. It appears Bubba simply can't take in enough income to support all he consumes. For Knapp & Bubba to terminate the pension system would pay big money to Bubba, buy him some releif, and get him out of debt. And so what if the City of Avon Park went bankrupt in the pension payout, that would be like sweet revenge.
deleon (by: John Lorida Lies - 9/25/2013)
He is willing to bang with anyone at any time. The most combative dude that's walked this county. As John Lyce would say, "his days will be numbered as enemies mount daily".
warner is a snake (by: jammer - 9/25/2013)
Bubba wants to be mayor to screw the citizens and bankrupt the city while he exits public office with his million bucks
Anderson defends all the wrong things (by: gizmo - 9/25/2013)
Why is it that Anderson continuesly stands up and defends bad behavior? He will stop at nothing to get attention even if its bad attention. At this point he should be running away from Bubba and so should Remmick.
Village idiot (by: Been Here - 9/25/2013)
The Newssun did a very good job on explaining this issue to the public. It would be even better if they could provide the citizens copies of the emails that supposedly illustrate Bubba Warners misconduct so that we can come to our own conclusions.
SpongeBob Bouble Dipper (by: Blindman~ - 9/25/2013)
Bubba took out a large mortgage a few years back just before he retired. Then after retiring, the city graciously rehired him back again, effectively allowing Bubba to extract or "double dip" two incomes from the city's tax payers. Yes, Bubba was receiving "two incomes", aka "double dipping", yet over time he was unable to manage his own personal finances. Just last year Carol Knapp made a personal effort to launch a charity campaign appealing to the unfortunate taxpayers already supporting Bubba, for a voluntary sacrifice of even more money for him to help poor Bubba pay his bills. Of course this guy wants all his pension money now because he has been continually consuming more than than what he makes, even with two incomes. Bubba won't comply with the records request, he won't come to meetings, he can't manage his own finances... and this guy is actually running for mayor of Avon Park?
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