MY VIEW: Boyd: Olszewski Q&A inaccurate

This is in response to the “Meet the Candidate” profile submitted by Robert “Bobby” Olszewski that ran in the Aug. 25 West Orange Times & Observer.

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  • | 4:00 p.m. August 26, 2016
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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By S. Scott Boyd
Orange County Commission, District 1

This is in response to the “Meet the Candidate” profile submitted by Robert “Bobby” Olszewski that ran in the Aug. 25 West Orange Times & Observer and Windermere Observer.

As the current board chairman of MetroPlan Orlando, I was surprised to read some of what Mr. Olszewski had to say about the Municipal Advisory Committee. This committee comprises elected officials from cities and towns throughout our three-county area. 

The Municipal Advisory Committee has been a very active forum for developing policies, plans and programs to shape our region’s transportation system. Effective July 1, 2015, the MetroPlan Orlando Board granted the committee a voting seat on the board to further strengthen their role in our regional partnership. 

In an effort to shed some light on a recent campaign advertisement having to do with Mr. Olszewski’s involvement with the Municipal Advisory Committee and inferences made in his profile piece, I asked MetroPlan Orlando’s staff for background information. As a result, I learned that Mr. Olszewski was disappointed that he was not elected to serve in a leadership position with the Municipal Advisory Committee back in July 2015. Since then, he has not attended any committee meetings.

MetroPlan Orlando neither gets involved in political campaigns nor controls political advertisements. The content of the piece submitted by Mr. Olszewski suggested otherwise and I felt this needed to be corrected. 

S. Scott Boyd 
District 1 commissioner, Orange County 

Source: MetroPlan Orlando

• Commissioner Olszewski was appointed to represent the City of Winter Garden on the Municipal Advisory Committee in June 2012. 
• He was very active member in 2012, 2013 and 2014. 
• Commissioner Olszewski was elected to be the MAC’s second vice chairman in June 2014. 
• At the MAC meeting on May 7, 2015, the MAC Chairman, Mayor Charles Lacey, appointed a Nominating Committee to recommend people for committee leadership positions starting in July 2015. Members were: Mayor Rebecca Borders (city of St. Cloud), Mayor Dale McDonald (city of Maitland), Commissioner Sid Miller (city of Lake Mary) and Council President John Dowless (city of Edgewood). 
• The members of the Nominating Committee met immediately following the MAC meeting on May 7, 2015. Mayor Lacey also attended as the meeting was open to the public. The slate of officers recommended by the Committee were: Mayor Charles Lacey (city of Winter Springs) to serve as chairman; Mayor Gary Bruhn (town of Windermere) to serve as first vice chairman; and Mayor Rebecca Borders (city of St. Cloud) to serve as Second Vice Chairman effective July 1, 2015. 
• Staff was surprised to learn that the Second Vice Chairman Olszewski was not being recommended to move up into the First Vice Chairman’s position. As a courtesy, staff informed Commissioner Olszewski so he would not be surprised when the agenda package went out for the next committee meeting that included the Nominating Committee’s recommendation. When he was told about this, he was angry (because), in his opinion, the outcome from the Nominating Committee was politically motivated by its members. Commissioner Olszewski felt that staff should do something about this. It was explained to him that other nominations — even self-nominations — could be made from the floor at the next full committee meeting so these could be considered along with the Nominating Committee’s slate. 
• At the next meeting in July 2015, Commissioner Olszewski indicated his interest in serving as first vice chairman, but there was no support. Therefore, the Nominating Committee’s recommended slate was unanimously approved. 
• Following the July 2015 meeting, staff spoke with Commissioner Olszewski on several occasions about his absences from MAC meetings. Each time, he indicated he would be attending future meetings. Therefore, Commissioner Olszewski’s absences were recorded for the record but not treated as a vacancy. 
• Staff spoke with Commissioner Olszewski on June 16, 2016, at which time he informed us that he would not be returning to the MAC, thus creating a vacancy. Again, as a courtesy, staff informed Commissioner Olszewski that a letter needed to be sent to Winter Garden Mayor John Rees notifying him. A letter was sent to Mayor Rees dated July 20, 2016 noting the vacancy. To date, there has been no response to that letter. 

Inaccuracies in the piece that appeared in the West Orange Times & Observer and Windermere Observer
1. Commissioner Olszewski stated that, “The MetroPlan Municipal Advisory Committee is just that, an advisory committee that does not have any actionable voting authority or power.” The MetroPlan Orlando Board gave the MAC a voting seat on the board effective July 1, 2015. MetroPlan Orlando has four Advisory Committees and the MAC is the only one that has a voting seat on the board. 

2. Commissioner Olszewski stated that, “I can only assume that Mr. Barley discussed this directly with MetroPlan Board Chairman and Orange County District 1 Commissioner Scott Boyd.” At the time of the election that upset Commissioner Olszewski (May 2015), Commissioner Boyd was MetroPlan Orlando’s Vice Chairman. MetroPlan Orlando staff had no discussions with Commissioner Scott Boyd in his role as Board Vice Chairman in 2015 or Board Chairman in 2016 regarding this matter until late July 2016 when a campaign mailer was brought to our attention regarding Commissioner Olszewski’s lack of participation on the MAC. 


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