Konish: The City Commission does not understand HB 1645

Letter to the editor

Blinded by partisan contempt for our local legislators who bestowed Clemons’ HB 1645 upon beleaguered GRU ratepayers, the City Commission remains clueless. 

A “reorganization” of GRU governance is imminent. The Governor will appoint a new Authority that is very different from our current City Commission: The Democratic Executive Committee loyalty oath alone will no longer be enough. The members of the Authority must have “good business judgment” and adhere to “best utility practices.” 

By virtue of an unambiguous statutory mandate, the new Authority must and will:

  1. Remove all programs that are “in furtherance of social, political, or ideological interest” from the FY2024 GRU budget. The City cannot “take” one penny from GRU as of October 1, 2023, directly or indirectly.
  2. Add its own legal, auditing, and HR Departments to GRU in order to sever indirect City Commission “control” and eliminate City overcharges for such “support services,” as identified by the Auditor General. Any attorney working under the City Attorney would be hopelessly conflicted in any attempt to represent the new Authority.
  3. Accept the obvious fact that the methodology for determining the maximum Governmental Services Contribution (GSC) has been established already by the Legislature. There is no City entitlement to any GSC. What is far more critical is the fact that the new Authority must prioritize numerous other considerations expressly designated by statute before any GSC is even considered, as of October 1, 2023. No GSC for the City for a long time is entirely possible. Authority members appointed by the Governor are subject to removal just like City Commissioners if they do not get with the new program. The City Commission’s GRU agenda since January 2000 has been clearly repudiated.

I would urge the Governor to sign HB 1645 and simultaneously remove our mayor since he has no intention of facilitating an orderly transition, as will be mandated by a statute to take effect July 1, 2023.

Jim Konish, Gainesville

The opinions expressed by letter or opinion writers are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AlachuaChronicle.com. Letters may be submitted to info@alachuachronicle.com and are published at the discretion of the editor.

  • Jim, you are so, so right! Thank you for this piece! I know there will not be cooperation on the part of the city commission… and that is sad. But then that shows even more reason at that point that they are in breech of their duties. I seriously wonder what the new audit will uncover this time. What is being hidden?

  • I totally agree with you on this. It’s time for customers of GRU to get taken care of instead of the city council of wokevill

  • At what point will the commission realize what is coming from Tallahassee – and more importantly the ramifications for Gainesville?

    Are they in denial??

  • Agreed.

    Then again, they don’t understand much about anything. I’m surprised they can even tie their shoes.

  • Jim, what a realistic summary they just run away from. LaLa land is officially closed and they still don’t know it.

  • Great Letter, Yes get rid of all the non-essential programs. Let the churches take care of the homeless. Why go on exotic Missionary trips when they can travel to the Eastside and help our people. And have UF students vote absentee ballot. That way they can vote for the social programs and commissioners from where they live. I bet their Daddy will cut up their credit card then. When his taxes start going up.

  • Excellent piece Jim! The short-time powers that be over in city hall claim ignorance over the bill and loss of GRU.
    Reichert House to the private sector. BOLD, to the private sector. And all the other pet projects that former Chief Jones created that continues to drain money from the department budget. While you’re at it, there is some excess ‘fat’ on the top and bottom floor that needs trimming as well.

  • >