top of page
blue sea under blue sky during daytime_edited_edited.jpg

What You Should Know Before You Vote!

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY HAS EXPERIENCED THE HIGHEST TURNOVER IN HISTORY AT THE TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE UNDER THE CURRENT TAX COLLECTOR. Since 2020, there has been a turnover of 105 employees over 11 years. In 2009, upon taking office, the staff count was 46 employees, and presently, it stands at 60 employees. As of 2023, nearly 150 employees have departed from the Tax Collector's office.

 

WHY ARE THEY LEAVING? Government job, no nights or weekends, paid vacation, retirement plan, medical benefits, or air conditioning!

  •  UPDATE: July 2021 - Another employee leaves.  She was a 15+ year employee in a frontline lead position.

  • UPDATE: June 2021 - Three more employees leave.  Two were 5+ years employees.

  • UPDATE: Post-election 2020 - Employee resignations are still rising. March 2021- Two employees leave/walk out within a week!

  • UPDATE: 4/2/20 - a 6+ year employee (HR/Payroll Administrator) resigned, and another employee just gave notice... WHY?

 

  • NUMEROUS EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) COMPLAINTS

  • POTENTIAL LAWSUIT THAT COULD HAVE COST TAXPAYERS THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS WAS SETTLED OUT OF COURT FOR AN UNDISCLOSED AMOUNT OF MONEY TO THE EMPLOYEE FILING THE DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT

  • POLITICALLY MOTIVATED WASTEFUL SPENDING AND BRANDING

  • NO REAL SUCCESSION PLAN FOR MANAGEMENT

  • EXCESSIVE UNNECESSARY TALLAHASSEE TRIPS FOR POLITICAL GRANDIZING

  • NO ACTUAL EXPERIENCED HR PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYED

 

  • QUESTIONABLE ETHICS

S

  • RETIRED, HIGH-SALARIED EMPLOYEES ARE BEING BROUGHT BACK AS INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS - INDICATING A LACK OF TRAINING AND SUCCESS PLANNING IN KEY POSITIONS.

 

To learn more about what's really going on in the Tax Collector's office behind the scenes continue reading. The details & pictures speak volumes!

Image by frank mckenna

     An important FACT about the Tax Collector's office that you may not know...
 
The Tax Collector's Office and Property Appraiser's Office are the only two (2) elected offices out of the five (5) constitutional offices that DO NOT report to the local Board of County Commission.  These offices report to the Governor, and their budgets are approved by the Florida Department of Revenue (per the Florida Constitution). 

In other words, there isn't any actual local oversight of the Tax Collector's office
.  

Pebble Stone Beach

"ASK GUY THE HAIR GUY"
Interview

Welcome visitors to your site with a short, engaging introduction. 

Double click to edit and add your own text.

The Tax Director retires June 2020, after 38+ years

1- After 38 years, there certainly should have been a person(s) being trained and mentored to assume this position. The institutional knowledge should have been passed on long before the nearing of retirement. Why didn't this happen?

2- The Tax Director has advised several employees that she will return to the office in January 2021. How can this employee return 6 months later? This is less than the one (1) year mandatory requirement of the FRS (Florida Retirement System).

3- At what rate of pay will this employee be brought back, though such return is a violation of the Florida Retirement System regulations? Current records available to the public would indicate her salary level in excess of $99,000

4- The IRS has very stringent regulations regarding the conditions that constitute a true independent contractor as opposed to an employee. The penalties for violating those regulations are rather stiff. How can we be sure that the same person, doing the same job in the same office for the same boss, will suddenly have the independence required to fulfill the requirements of those regulations?

5- Will even more taxpayer dollars be wasted to hire another outside Staffing company to manage the payroll of this purported "independent contractor"? 


UPDATE - post-2020 election: Tax Director retires, collects 6 months retirement, 7th-month thru 12th-month retirement checks stop, gets rehired for a new position the Tax Collector creates for her at a high salaried exempt position. 13th-month this employee can start collecting her retirement checks again and a nice big salary.  

 The Finance Director is in DROP (deferred retirement option program) with a mandatory requirement to retire in less than 5 years

1- The Finance Director is also alleged to be planning to return to the Tax Collector's office as an Independent Contractor after retiring. Why?

2- Who is being mentored currently, in all capacities of this position to ensure the valuable institutional knowledge is being passed on?

3- At what pay rate will this employee be brought back, though such a return violates the Florida Retirement System regulation (if less than one (1) year)?  Current records available to the public would indicate her current salary level in excess of $106,000 

4- The Finance Director can now work from home two (2) days a week.  This approach, while novel and innovative, has not been shown to improve service to the taxpayers.  Additionally, this employee is a supervisor of (5) five employees and cannot provide supervision remotely.  Forty percent of the time this department is left unsupervised under this plan.

5- Has the home been secured to receive and transmit sensitive data of the taxpayers and Tax Collector's office? AND, if so, at what cost to the taxpayer?

6- The Finance Director is a licensed CPA and also has at least two (2) known active businesses on the side.  What safeguards are in place to assure the taxpayers that work-from-home time is spent solely on the people's business? When working from home, is work also being conducted for personal businesses? 

More inequities taking place in your Tax Collector's office...

  • The current tax collector makes an inordinate number of trips to Tallahassee, always with at least one and, on occasion, two traveling companions, resulting in large bills to the taxpayer.  There is usually a standing reservation at the Double Tree Hotel in the 1st three (3) months of each year when the legislation is in session. 

  • I remind you that the Tax Collector position is that of an administrator and not a legislator or lobbyist.  As a long-time insider of the Tax Collector's office, I believe that as many as 90% of these trips are unnecessary, and the traveling companions are completely unnecessary. 

 

  • The business accomplished for our county on these trips can be accomplished mostly with phone and/or conference calls at a savings of many thousands of YOUR Taxpayer dollars per year.

Tax Collector employee

Tax Collector

cj lisa talle 2-9-18 FB adria.jpg
cj .jpg

The Double Tree, Tallahassee - the hotel of choice for the current Tax Collector 

The Hampton, Tallahassee - My hotel of choice as your future Tax Collector                                                     (only when trips are a must)

In Service Days - local Tax Collector offices closed to the public

In-service days are when a public office closes to the public for business, and employees still report to work.  The primary purpose of an in-service day is to provide much-needed training to staff that cannot take place during normal working hours.  The employees are paid their normal pay rate, and lunch is on their own.  

Before the current administration, in-service days were not required because employees weren't leaving at the record pace they are now.  

The first in-service day by the current Tax Collector was held in October 2016.  All department managers were required to conduct training on areas of concern about their departments.  I coordinated that training prior
to leaving the Tax Collector's office in November 2016.
  
The future in-service days at the Tax Collector's office appear to be more of costume parties than training. The employees should not be looked upon negatively for their participation.  They are only following the instructions of the leadership.  Here are examples of the In-Service days since 2016:


NOTE: (all photos were retrieved from Facebook and Tax Collector's Facebook page)

The important questions that should be asked of the current administration...

  • With the highest turnover in the history of the tax office and all of the institutional knowledge that has left the office, why would so much work go into themed, over-the-top costume parties rather than the much-needed training?

 

  • What was learned from crayon coloring the turtle, and how can that be applied in the frontline employees' responsibilities?

  • Who paid for all of these expenses; food, decorations, games & coloring material, paper products for the food, etc.? According to the strict rules of the Department of Revenue, to which the Tax Collector's office reports, the office is not even permitted to buy coffee or donuts for customers.

  • How much valuable training was completed?

  • Who is in charge of Human Resources, and were they present during some of these very suggestive activities?

  • There are many other ways to provide team-building workshops/activities that are far more appropriate than stuffing balloons down pants. 

 

With what is required of a new hire to learn to issue or renew a driver's license, among so many other areas of importance, intense training is a must.  Closing the office to the public for an entire day only to spend this time in the manner that it has been shown is a huge disservice to the employees and the public.

8-30 opening.png
cj comment 8-30 hrs.png

And...  after all of that, the staff still needs additional training.  So now the office is closed to the public every Wednesday an additional half hour for training.  What can really be accomplished in a half hour at the cost of inconveniencing the taxpayer? 

More inequities taking place in your Tax Collector's office...

Let's go to Lunch on the Taxpayer's Dime... 

Monthly, the current Tax Collector attends all Taxpayer Association lunches and Indian River County & Sebastian Chamber lunch meetings.

While it is good for an elected official to attend these luncheons to represent the office in which they are elected, is it necessary to have an entourage of employees in attendance at the expense of taxpayers?

Chamber April Luncheon 2 TC (2).jpg
tp lunch.png
32152398_1830263123692501_11687170371118
tax p crew.jpg

= Employee

= Tax Collector

scfl.jpg
IMG_6706 (2).JPG
2020-03-28%20(4)_edited.jpg
IMG_7107 (2).JPG
tcplw.jpg

This may appear to be a petty concern to post about until you do the math...

The combined salaries of the three employees and the Tax Collector =
$165 hourly (close estimate)
They average 3 hours out of the office for each of these lunches = $495 per lunch in salaries.
There is a total of 3 monthly lunches = $1,485 monthly in salaries
Which totals $17,820 annually just in salaries to attend these lunches. 

How does the tax office benefit from their attendance? 


And you, the taxpayer, are paying for the memberships and the lunches...
Annual Membership for three employees to the Taxpayer's Association =
$75
Lunches = $960 annually. 

What is the necessity of 3 memberships?


Annual Membership to two Chambers =
$1,385 (close estimate)
Lunches =$1,060 annually (close estimate). 

Why should taxpayer money be used to provide these monthly meals? 


So, when you do the math (close estimate),
$21,225.00 of taxpayer money is being spent wastefully annuallyThat is around the cost of a frontline employee's starting salary.

The most disturbing part of this is that the frontline clerks in any of the offices (except the newly opened beach office) rarely get an hour's lunch regularly because of the busyness of the offices. The supervisor over these frontline clerks is always out to lunch with the Tax Collector. 


NOTE: No other Indian River County Elected Official brings numerous employees to any of these lunch meetings.


The "out of office for lunches with staff also includes monthly partisan lunches at three different Republican clubs that also last 2-3 hours out of the office. The Tax Collector and employees use their office emails for communications with these partisan clubs. As a matter of ethics, the Tax Collector's office should not have any association with partisan clubs, and tax office email accounts should not be used for correspondence to and from these clubs. The Tax Collector's office is not a Republican or Democratic office. It is the office of the people of Indian River County. 

Unnecessary liability to the County

IMG_7109 (2).JPG
pam car tpl.jpg

Friend of the Tax Collector

Not only does the Tax Collector have an employee entourage, but she also includes a friend to be transported to the Taxpayer's Lunch meetings in the county-owned vehicle.  This exposes the county to an unnecessary financial burden should an accident occur.

= Employee

= Tax Collector

InkedRV signin.jpg
2020-04-01 (2).png
IMG_E8183.JPG
IMG_E6441.JPG
rwir1.jpg
employees on taxpayer dime at republican
Inkedsign in vets_LI.jpg
IMG_6497.JPG
patio lunch scott.jpg
rwir l.jpg
IMG_6513_edited.jpg

Agriculture Commissioner Candidate Denise Grimsley, guest speaker

grimsley.jpg
Image by frank mckenna

When I become your next Tax Collector...

I intend to attend the Taxpayers & Chamber monthly luncheons, as I currently do as a citizen, to stay well-informed. However, as the next Tax Collector, I commit to personally covering the costs of my lunches and memberships.

Drawing from my experience at the Tax Collector's office, I can confirm that excessive employee attendance and multiple memberships are unnecessary at these luncheons. While these organizations contribute greatly to our community, my presence at such events will primarily serve to be available for any inquiries related to the Tax Collector's office. I can fulfill this role without needing an employee entourage, minimizing expenses and complexity.

As a Republican and member of two Republican clubs with monthly lunch meetings, I will continue attending these gatherings. Importantly, Tax Collector employees will not be required to accompany me to these meetings. If a request arises for representation from the Tax Collector's office at these events, I may allow an employee to attend as a guest speaker to share their expertise. Furthermore, I would extend a similar offer to any other partisan club interested in our presentation.

I am committed to keeping my Tax Collector office email account strictly for professional purposes and will not engage in personal business through it. Additionally, I will use my vehicle for lunch meetings, reserving the office/county vehicle exclusively for official business. Non-employees will not be permitted to ride in any office vehicle.

A well-defined succession plan will be in place for all key positions, ensuring a smooth transition in leadership.

 

Most importantly, my tenure as a Tax Collector will be dedicated to serving the community and prioritizing your needs and interests.

bottom of page