Ahead of this week’s jam-packed meeting schedule, the whereabouts of one Wilton Manors commissioner is being called into question.
“Where in the world is Gary Resnick?” writes Wilton Manors resident Jake Valentine in an email to the Gazette. “Maybe with Carmen Sandiego? Maybe with Waldo? My bet is Waldo…”
Waldo is a reference to the popular children’s puzzle books where kids search for a bespectacled, toboggan-wearing character. Attached to Valentine’s email was a spreadsheet showing Resnick absent for eight commission meetings since 2019.
“If Wilton Manors is going to require someone to live in the City to run for commission, does that mean they can move as soon as they are elected?” Valentine wrote. “Do we want part-time residents as city commissioners?”
Asked to respond to Valentine’s charges, Resnick denied being an absentee commissioner.
“I haven’t missed any meetings and I still live in Wilton Manors,” Resnick said.
The majority of Resnick’s meeting attendance this year has been virtually via Zoom as the commission adhered to COVID-19 protocols. Resnick said he has used the video conferencing platform to attend Broward League of Cities and National League of Cities meetings.
“There have been more meetings this year between the city and league than any prior year,” he said.
Being in the room, however, is a different experience. This week’s schedule is loaded with the two commission meetings, two budget workshops and an Island City Foundation meeting.
“It’s inappropriate for him to be missing meetings in person,” said Doug Blevins, vice-chair of the Wilton Drive Improvement District. “He’s not getting the full effect of people coming to comment and a good sense of what’s happening as a governing body.”
Blevins is a longtime Resnick foe, having come up short in a couple of attempts to oust Resnick from the dais. Blevins called Resnick a smart attorney with a passive-aggressive style.
“He’s lazy,” Blevins said. “He avoids any direct confrontation with the other commissioners and if he doesn’t like the discussion he’ll log off.”
Blevins is alluding to last month’s five-hour meeting when Resnick decided to exit before the stroke of midnight.
“He took his ball and went home,” Blevins said. “It was immature and disrespectful to fellow commissioners.”
Valentine said it's time for Resnick to enter the arena and face the public.
“It’s time to have some accountability for Wilton Manors commissioners for missed meetings and long stretches away from the City, especially in times of crisis, not to mention rezoning, etc.”
Valentine also wants commissioners who use Zoom to disclose their location.
“Commissioners should NOT use the chamber backdrop in video meetings if they are not in the city!” Valentine writes. “While the records show many missed meetings by Resnick, was he even in the state during the Zoom meetings he did participate in?”