Broward commissioner’s dad keeps $225,000 no-bid job

 

The father of County Commissioner Martin David Kiar will stay on as attorney for the Value Adjustment Board for as long as five more years.

BrowardBulldog.org

With no debate, Broward’s Value Adjustment Board voted Monday to rehire the father of County Commissioner Martin David Kiar as its $225,000-a-year lawyer, without going out for competitive bids.

The contract extension, for as long as five years, means that Monroe Kiar’s will continue to receive annual pay that’s tens of thousands of dollars above the yearly salaries of Florida’s Attorney General, Supreme Court justices, Circuit and County Court judges and administrative judges.

The 4-0 vote included Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief and Commissioner Stacy Ritter, both VAB board members. Sharief, Ritter and colleague Martin Kiar are all Democrats.

“I certainly have full confidence in your ability to do the job,” VAB Chairwoman Ritter told Monroe Kiar before the vote was taken. She will now negotiate a final agreement that will include a term of three years, with two additional one-year options.

VABs are independent authorities that hear taxpayer appeals regarding assessments and other adverse decisions by county property appraisers.

Monday’s vote closely followed the release of a critical audit by the Florida Auditor General’s office that raised questions about the independence and objectivity of VABs in Broward and other counties across the state. The audit said property tax appeals in those counties appear to have been rigged by local government officials more concerned in preserving tax revenues that fairly assessing home values.

Counties and school boards dominate VABs. Two county commissioners and a school board member serve on their boards. The county and the school board also pick the VABs two citizen members.

Monroe Kiar won a competitive process to serve as VAB counsel in 2009 while his son was a state legislator. This time, however, he’d asked the board to rehire him without advertising the post.

Legal services are exempt from county procurement rules. Still, the VAB’s vote to forgo a competitive process when hiring a county insider creates appearance issues that could become politically problematic.

State rules say VAB legal counsel “should avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest.” Kiar’s contract contains similar language.

While serving as VAB counsel in 2012, Kiar was a member of a committee that held a re-election fundraiser for Broward Property Appraiser Lori Parrish’s husband, Geoff Cohen. Cohen is a Broward Circuit Court judge.

Kiar and his son, Martin, also contributed to the campaign of Parrish’s husband.

.

Broward Bulldog is a not-for-profit online only newspaper created to provide local reporting in the public interest. www.browardbulldog.org 954-603-1351

Read more Broward stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category