In last week’s paper, the “city” gave their side of the story on the issue of the McDougle Foundation being given the contract for football in the city over the longtime Packer Rattlers, saying that is “the end of the story.” However, at Tuesday’s commission meeting, it was referenced again (see Pg. 1 of The Observer, Sept. 22 issue) when the commission decided to vote to censure the mayor based on some things she said at the previous meeting when she had brought up the issue again on the agenda. Well, the mayor does have a response to this issue. She handed out 100 flyers at Tuesday’s commission meeting, she said, outlining the history of the issue as she sees it, as well as a response to the controversy surrounding it. Here is the flyer in its entirety. (This is Mayor Robb’s opinion on the issue).
The Demise of the Packer Rattlers
By Mayor Jean Robb
On March 24, Kara Petty, director of Parks and Recreation, presented a proposal from the McDougle Foundation to partner with the city to implement the Firstability youth sports program. This was similar to a proposal made to then Commissioner Ben Preston and rejected by him since the proposal outlined taking over the existing Packer Rattler program. When I asked the manager how the city got involved with McDougle Foundation, he said it was upon the proposal made by Commissioner Preston. Preston vigorously denies that allegation and points to the fact that it was never raised while he was a commissioner. Commissioner Preston told me that when the McDougles approached him, he was aware that they intended to absorb the Packer Rattles, and he knew that was not acceptable for the people in District 2 that he represented. So he told them he could not go along with what they proposed. Consequently, it never was brought before the commission while Preston as in office.
It was pointed out to the commission that the it would be saving $43,500 since it would no longer be providing funding for The Raiders or the Packer Rattlers. That should have raised a red flag as to the elimination of financial support in the future for the Packer Rattlers. Instead both the city manager and Commissioner Battle lied to the audience and to the commission claiming that such an arrangement would in no way affect the Packer Rattlers.
Then four of the commissioners voted to give the McDougle Foundation all of the fields in the city thereby leaving the Packer Rattlers with no place to practice or play.
Resolution 2016-061 presented to the commission and passed with the mayor dissenting claimed that the funding of $45,000 for the initial year of the contract would be utilized to jump start quality football and cheering programs and offset first year costs of equipment and uniforms. Was there ever a resolution passed by the commission claiming that all of the necessary expenses would be paid by the city? I think not.
Why then did the city expend $45,463.58 or public relations and equipment purchased for the Bison without the approval of the commission, who had been sold a bill of goods? Total cost with the $45,000 grant amounts to $90,463.58. Where is the savings for the city? I never got the total cost figures from the Parks and Recreation Department. They kept telling me there were no new expenses when I was asking for a total the city had spent on public relations and equipment from when the day the contract was signed.
I also asked who was collecting the registration fees that were being paid to join the Bison teams? No answer from them. Since the manager had told me that the money was coming out of the Aquatic’s budget, I had to get the Finance Director to run me a complete history of the monies paid out of that account. That was how I was able to ascertain at the very least the 45,463.58 in expenditures. But it would take a collection of all of the invoices paid by the city for all of the city expenditures for the Bison Team to determine the exact amount … And I still have not learned who collected the fees for the registration of the football players and the cheerleaders for the Bison Squad. How much did it amount to and where is it?
To add insult to injury, the staff made sure that anyone who the DPR [the Packer Rattlers] approached for a possible site were intimidated into saying no. The DPR finally ended up signing a contract with Zion Lutheran because they had become a charter school and they were not planning to field their own football team. After the first home Game, when it was obvious that the parking for the number of fans attending was inadequate, that’s when the mayor placed item 21 on Sept. 6 on the agenda begging for just one field for the Packer Rattlers to play their home games on. It was obvious that the commission was told not to respond or second the motion, which would have allowed the parents to speak. Those parents and children who had sat through the first two hours of the meeting were not to be heard, and the four commissioners did not care. The city retaliated by demanding a special events permit with the staff member telling them that without it, they would not be able to play football in Deerfield Beach.
This is the frustration I was faced with when I said the following: “______why don’t you ever support your constituents?” The blank is my taking the Lord’s name in vain. I apologize, but the forgiveness comes not from this commission but from a higher power. I think it is necessary to let the people know what the Packer Rattlers have had to endure but they were still able to enroll 276 football players and 100 cheerleaders. Does that sound like they are going away?