Tavares, FL Friday, July 14, 2017 Noon
Note: This is an expanded version of an email sent to the Lake County, FL School Board and selected administrators and press just before this post.
What happened to it?
As of today, Friday, July14 at 11:45 am, four of the five of Monday’s 9:30 am five workshop budget items (except for the Capital Plan, item 3.04), including the budget update, do not have any attachments. How can the Board review or ask staff questions about agenda items when they don’t even have the attachments and how can the public review them if they are not transparent?
We should mention Harry Fix (the Capital Plan) almost always has timely attachments, however, such as his attachments for the Capital Plan. Managers at the Director level should be able to write and present professional Powerpoints and attachments three workdays before meetings and perhaps some should attend presentation classes.
The separate COUNTY Board provides most attachments in a full packet which could be 900 pages long a WEEK before their meetings, so why can’t LCSD at least meet the 3-day rule?
The LCSD Finance Office has, in my opinion, consistently failed to provide adequate or understandable written attachments, written narratives or PowerPoints for agenda items, and they should also start doing so under the new District leadership with the new CFO starting at the end of this month. It is not uncommon to be at a meeting during a budget discussion and the Board looks confused and flips through multiple computer printouts to try and keep up with a verbal report. For best practices, I suggest all LCSD administrators watch the online videos of Lake County board Budget and other Department presentations and review the quality, consistent design (no black font on blue backgrounds) of PowerPoints, and attachments provided. When they ARE provided, many of the LCSD Directors do provide good information, but it seems to be disappearing these days.
If the presentations are not understandable or readable, the Board should ask the presenter to return at a future meeting with a better, organized presentation.
The five members of the LCSD Board should require staff and the administration implement the ignored -3day rule, and perhaps expand it to five workdays before a meeting. There should not be any more situations where Board members arrive at Monday meetings and say they did not have time to review documentation because it was provided late Friday or not at all.
Additionally, external speakers rarely provide attachments or written narratives before meetings, and presentations are not always attached to Board Docs AFTER the meetings. We notice that agenda item 3.01 is an legislative update by Gray Robinson and when they presented at the County Board meeting, they only provided a VERBAL report for a $50,000 engagement, which is not acceptable. External speakers should be required to provide outlines and written reports 3-days before Board meetings for attachment to the agenda so they can be reviewed by the public and Board members.
- LCSD Administrators are not providing explanatory attachments or Powerpoints in time for the Board or public to review them before Board meetings. It is not acceptable to upload them late Friday for a Monday morning or Monday evening meeting. They should be provided as agenda attachments at least THREE full workdays before the meeting date.
- The Finance office has consistently failed to provide understandable narratives or budgets, instead relying on verbal presentations with big computer spreadsheets no one can follow and just referring meeting attendees to an online mish mash of schedules without even an outline of which ones are being discussed. This approach would never be accepted in businesses I worked at. A new CFO starts in July and should be expected to provide organized presentations and narratives like several other Administration heads.
- External presenters rarely are required to provide Powerpoints or narratives before meetings, and sometimes they are not provided later on the Agendas. That needs to change and it should be part of their deliverables in contracts to provide understandable narrative reports and Powerpoints for agenda attachment three working days before Board presentations. A good example is the pending presentation by the contracted lobbyist who is receiving $50,000 and will be speaking on Monday. They did not provide even a Powerpoint or written report to the County when presenting at their Board meeting, and they should be required to provide "deliverables: in written narrative and Powerpoint format so the both the Board and public can see them also before meetings.
- If the presentations are not understandable or readable, the Board should ask the presenter to return at a future meeting with a better, organized presentation.