Wednesday, September 11, 2019
WAGE THEFT?: SA Port District Saves Money, Avoids Ethics Laws By Illegally Misclassifying "Secretary-Treasurer" ELYSE KEMPER as Non-Employee?
In 2014, a St. Augustine Record editorial stated that the St. Augustine Port, Waterway and Beach District "saves money" by not having a staff. Instead, the District has a Secretary-Treasurer, ELYSE KEMPER: is she misclassified as an "independent contractor," thereby evading taxes? In addition, Florida ethics laws do not apply to contractors. F.S. 112
Millions of employees are misclassified, violating tax and labor laws.
Courts have repeatedly found employers were tax cheats, including Microsoft and other behemoths.
Is the St. Augustine Port, Waterway and Beach District a tax cheat and a labor law violator? You tell me?
SAPWB meets at 3 pm, Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at St. Augustine Beach City Hall. Bring a friend. Bring a union member. Bring a video camera. Ask questions. Demanded answers. Expect democracy.
There are pending issues about SAPWB's unresolved conflicts of interest, financial flummery, no-contract attorney, n o-contract "Secretary-Treasurer," expired contract no-bid engineering contractor, Summer Haven River waste, fraud, abuse, misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, flummery, dupery and nincompoopery.
The District's monthly meetings are scheduled to conflict directly with the St. Johns County Commission's second meeting of each month, which is also on the third Tuesday of each month. Wonder why?
The September 17, 2019 Port meeting should be illuminating. SAPWB is a cat's paw for its no-bid contractors and grantees, including the City of St. Augustine. The Florida Statewide Prosecutor needs to investigate.\
Here's the St. Augustine Record editorial admitting SAPWB saves money by refusing to hire any employees, e.g., doing it misclassifying independent contractor as staff:
Editorial: Put Dixon back on the St. Augustine Port, Waterway and Beach District board
Posted Oct 1, 2014 at 11:35 PM
In the St. Augustine Port, Waterway and Beach District Group 5 race, we have a kind of grudge match brewing. Longtime Commissioner Jerry Dixon resigned his seat on the board after 16 years, and has challenged first-term commissioner Herb Rippe for his seat. Let’s say there are philosophical differences between the two. But more to the point, we see that as having a potentially larger effect on the makeup of the board.
You may not know a lot about this group, because it has been quietly affecting marine projects and processes for decades here. It’s important to know that it takes in around $400,000 in taxes annually and has spent them almost entirely in joint projects with the city, county, and the Florida Inland Navigation District. And from everything we’ve been able to find, this has been a growing relationship for some time.
The port board was born in the mid-1930s and tasked with keeping our inlet open and safe. That remains a priority, but the board has had a hand in the continuing dredging of Salt Run and the recent dredging of the San Sebastian River. It works with the St. Augustine Fire Department, bankrolling a fireboat for city use. It has worked closely with the police department on removing derelict boats. It’s in charge of navigational aids to Salt Run, and helped with the boat ramp there. And it has partnered with several local organizations on marine-related projects.
So it spends tax money and does good things. That’s why it’s important.
The tiff between two commissioners is a nonevent in itself. But the spat may become the wedge that opens a rift. A majority on a five-member board balances on a delicate fulcrum. And what we see is an unhealthy divide between the proverbial good new boys and the good old boys.
Both candidates come across as capable and committed. Rippe seems more about organization and process, while Dixon’s more focused getting the very limited revenue where it needs to be, when it needs to be. Both know the value of leveraging that small budget for the greatest good. It’s a shame that either is forced into leaving.
They do have differing ideas on where the board should be heading. Rippe speaks of enlarging the confined taxing district county-wide and hiring a full-time director. Dixon believes the staff member would be a waste of money. The board has never had staff, and Dixon believes it has done quite well.
We reached out to former members of partnering agencies and municipalities, and the consensus is that Dixon is right.
The partnerships have paid off for citizens here and transient boaters as well.
The relationships forged between the agencies are built through consensus over the years.
Dixon’s name came up several times in terms of his willingness to create these working associations and to strengthen them over his four terms.
Some were concerned that those relationships would be diluted if Dixon left. We did not speak to anyone who seemed dissatisfied with the way the port board has conducted its business in the unity in the past.
For that reason, we recommend sending Dixon back to the board. We hope the hatchet of contention gets buried and the commissioners get back to building consensus among themselves; forming new partnerships within the maritime community.