RiseMagazine | Sarasota

The Premier Lifestyle Magazine of Florida's Black Communities

MAILBAG: Sarasota Leadership? (part I)

The following article was submitted by reader Valerie Buchand. Thank you for your contribution!

Since the beginning of this year I have noticed many things. Among the most important is the act of REAL LEADERSHIP. Leadership is a learned behavior that becomes unconscious and automatic over time and experience and its core, involves and works in tandem with integrity.

The true definition of “integrity” is; the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. True leaders can make several important decisions about an issue in the time it takes others to understand the question. The process of making these decisions comes from an accumulation of experiences and encounters with many different circumstances and personality types. As a matter of fact, the decision making process is a clear understanding of being familiar with cause and effect of behaviors and patterns; knowing the lay of the land and how it all connects. This allows a leader to make decisions and reach a desired outcome for the greater good, not just their own desires.

Our history shows us that the most successful leaders had acted on instinct, patience, understanding, principles and what is good for the masses not the few. Good leaders put aside their personal feelings and speak and act for the people. The Newtown community boasts many self-appointed leaders that have absolutely NO integrity, NO morals and NO principles. These self-appointed leaders continue to serve themselves and not our community.

These are the “leaders” that municipalities continue to seek direction from, even when they have been told repeatedly that these people do not speak for NEWTOWN. But what is most discouraging is the lack of local government to develop their own relationships with people in the Newtown community. I would suspect this practice continues, because they can surely pacify those folks and continue to not produce and we as a community don’t hold them accountable.

How is it that the City of Sarasota can destroy the name of a successful grassroots organization, by labeling them as being “unable to manage funding” when in the last three years their own departments have mismanaged funds repeatedly and yet nothing happens to those responsible. In April of 2012, it was reported in the Sarasota Herald Tribune, that a report conducted by Mullin & Lonergan Associates, found a high number of incidences of housing discrimination against racial minorities and those with disabilities. White, non-disabled “control” testers were also used, who did not face the same discrimination.

The problems included higher rent prices quoted and rental units that were “not available” to minorities and available to whites. (The study was conducted in the spring of 2011. It also found that in the City of Sarasota, discrimination was found in one of three disability tests and three of three race tests. So that means 33% of discrimination for disabilities and wait for it…100% discrimination for race. And oddly enough the department managing those funds (Office of Housing and Community Development), never missed a beat. On June 5th, 2013, it was reported AGAIN, in the SHT that HUD had completed its five month audit of NSP2 utilized by the City of Sarasota and the results are titled, “Finding: The City Did Not Ensure That Some NSP2 Expenditures Were Eligible.” It says the city did not appropriately review expenditures, continuously audit, coordinate with all parties or have adequate agreements with sub recipients. The city wrongfully charged the federal government $388,130, the audit found; they also found that $186,814 was used for ineligible funds. That’s $574,944! Over half a million dollars that was mismanaged and no one was held accountable.

Now watch this, they (City of Sarasota) could wrongfully accuse the Newtown Front Porch of mismanaging funds (little over $4,000), tarnish the organization’s name and all of the good work that they have done and yet no one is held accountable for over half a million dollars.

Who does that…THE CITY OF SARASOTA. Great Leadership!

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