Commissioners get committee assignments for 2017

Palm Beach County commissioners have their committee and board assignments for 2017, with the commission’s newest members – Dave Kerner and Mack Bernard – getting spots on the Criminal Justice Commission and the Homeless Advisory Board, respectively.

In addition to serving on the Criminal Justice Commission, Kerner, who succeeded the term-limited Shelley Vana as the District 3 commissioner, will serve on the Public Safety Coordinating Council and the Value Adjustment Board.

Bernard, who defeated Priscilla Taylor to win the District 7 seat, picks up a spot on the CareerSource Palm Beach County committee in addition to the Homeless Advisory Board seat.

Mack Bernard, middle,  greets guests at an election party at Revolutions at City Place Revolutions at City Place West Palm Beach Tuesday August 30, 2016. ( Meghan McCarthy / The Palm Beach Post )
Mack Bernard

The two new commissioners will serve as alternatives on the Metropolitan Planning Organization. Their five colleagues will serve as regular members of the MPO.

Kerner
Dave Kerner

District 1’s commissioner, Hal Valeche, will serve on the Artificial Reef and Estuarine Committee. He will be an alternate on the BioScience Land Protection Advisory Board and will serve on the Loxahatchee River Management Coordinating Council, the Northlake Boulevard Task Force and the Pal Mal Water Control District.

District 2’s commissioner, Paulette Burdick, will serve on the Children’s Services Council and the Water Resources Task Force. Burdick has been chosen by her colleagues to serve as county mayor.

Steven Abrams, who represents District 4, will serve on the Kravis Center board, the Multi-Jurisdictional Issues Coordination Forum Executive Committee, the Palm Beach Broadband board, the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority and the Value Adjustment Board, where he will be chairman.

District 5’s commissioner, Mary Lou Berger, will serve on the BioScience Land Protection Advisory Board, the Palm Beach County Cultural Council and the Water Resources Task Force.

In District 6, Melissa McKinlay will serve on the Business Development Executive Board and the County Coalition for Responsible Management of Lake ‘O.’

Valeche, Burdick and Kerner will serve as regular members of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, with Abrams, McKinlay and Bernard serving as alternates.

Commissioners declare which boards and committees they want to serve on, with the mayor making the final decision on assignments.

“I’m a firm believer in, where possible, having a commissioner serving on each of these committee during their term in office,” Burdick said.

The county mayor said she also was mindful of commissioner expertise and interest such as Abrams’ extensive knowledge of transportation issues.

Ex-prosecutor: Palm Beach County government should pay criminal panel salaries

Van Arnam (Eliot Kleinberg/Post Staff)
Van Arnam (Eliot Kleinberg/Post Staff)
BarryKrischer052316
Krischer (Eliot Kleinberg/Post Staff)

Salaries for the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission should come out of a special taxing district or the general county budget, not from trust fund dollars that could be spent on crime prevention, former State Attorney Barry Krischer said Monday.

The commission’s proposed $3.63 million 2016-2017 budget – which the board preliminary approved at its meeting Monday — includes $531,383 in paychecks for Executive Director Kristina Henson and the CJC’s eight other staffers.

Of that, $241,970 comes from the Crime Prevention Trust Fund, a fund criminal defendants pay into as part of their penalties.

Krischer, who’s the commission’s treasurer, said that “for us to be taking crime prevention dollars and spending them on salaries  is unacceptable.” He said this is happening “as we have seen these grant dollars shrinking, and shrinking, and shrinking.”

Krischer said after the meeting he’s been lobbying for the special taxing district for close to two decades.

Deputy County Administrator Jon Van Arnam, sitting in at Monday’s meeting, told members the county is just now starting to assemble its 2016-2017 budget but noted that a combination of county taxes, grants and trust fund dollars will fully pay for next year’s drug court and criminal re-entry programs.

“You may not be totally pleased, but I think the budget picture is a little brighter than you portrayed it,” Van Arnam said.

“So,” commission Chair Lee Waring said, “our message to Jon and commissioners is, ’Thank you for your efforts, and keep it going, because we do need the help.”

Also Monday, the CJC voted to recommend Kevin Jones, assistant pastor at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, as its clergy representative. County commissioners make the pick.

Palm Beach County Justice commission holds retreat today

cjclogo150Members of the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission, a body already undergoing a shakeup, will spend a half day today mapping out where they want to be in the next year.

The council will hold a planning meeting all morning at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.  It will decide how it wants to tackle public safety, rehabilitation, and justice system reform.

Earlier this month, Palm Beach County Commissioners shot down colleague Priscilla Taylor’s plan for each of them to appoint someone to the panel.  In the first of two votes — a final vote is April 19 — the county commissioners went along, for now, with reducing from 12 to 10 those picked by the Economic Council of Palm Beach County. And it provisionally OK’d having a member of, or someone nominated by the Palm Beach County Clergy Alliance, with the caveat that commissioners want to learn more about how that would work.