Yesterday Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller, Sharon Bock put the kibosh on paying out $5,000 of tax payer money for county officials to attend Palm Beach County Mayor Priscilla Taylor's extravagant gala black tie event. Bock has always been a trusted steward of the public's money and wrote Taylor on Monday that she would not be cutting a check for the $250 per person dinner to pay for 20 tickets to the charity ball. In the letter, Bock wrote, “Because the comment section had no description of this topic, there was no opportunity for public notice or public comment,” adding that she did not feel the expense was for a public purpose which is required. She also says she is not permitted to pay money for such sponsorships and she paid for her $250 ticket with her personal money. Bock also mentioned she was basing her decision on a prior Florida Attorney General opinion and that the vote was brought up and taken during Commissioner comments. It should also be noted that Bock is also on the Host Committee for the event.
Taylor has planned, through one of her favorite charities, the Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County, to host The Mayor's Ball which will include a virtual Who's Who of Democratic Palm Beach County elected officials. The few Republicans expected are Co-Chair Florida CFO Jeff Atwater and Florida House Rep Pat Rooney. Since it became public earlier this month of Taylor's request for tax payer money to pay for Palm Beach County officials to attend the event, there has been a firestorm of controversy.
Bock's decisions seems to resonate with Palm Beach County residents as they sounded off online yesterday after hearing of the news on the Palm Beach Post website. FlaNative79 stated, "My thoughts EXACTLY. Good for her! You're absolutely right.. our tax money isn't so that commissioners (who already get paid ridiculously) can attend a mayors ball." Avlas posted, "Hats off to Sharon Bock! I choked on my coffee when I first read about the "Mayor's ball". Now maybe Taylor can get over herself and get busy doing the work she was elected to do."
Although none wished to be quoted, every person I have spoken with about the issue were appalled to learn tax payer money would be used to pay for $250 a plate dinners and dancing for county officials. They were further angered that the public did not have an opportunity to voice for or against the expense.