While the Fort Ord National Monument designation certainly qualifies as a â€œbig winâ€ for FORA, the institution has been under fire recently for decisions going back a few years. There have been a number of lawsuits filed against the Authority including one in which my opponent was implicated in receiving inappropriately funded meals and entertainment.
With FORA under increasing scrutiny, while Mayor I worked diligently to ensure that (full) board and executive board meetings were as productive and transparent as possible. One way to ensure appropriate results is to assure board members they will have adequate time to discuss their concerns. One of my efforts to reopen discussion of a hastily dismissed issue is chronicled on the video page in my motion to reconsider a formulaic approach to setting development fees.
The formulaic approach is certainly valid, but so was County Supervisor Jane Parkerâ€™s request to discuss it fully. As a result of my efforts on the FORA board, Jane opined in 2012:
â€œFelix has proven to be a strong leader at FORA where he is advocating for better board process, ensuring that the Board and the public have an opportunity to really understand the issues and voice their opinions.â€
There is currently some controversy over compensation at FORA. There is a request to increase the Executive Officer'â€™ salary to $228,443. Meanwhile, per capita income in Seaside is only about $21,500, more than ten times less. The FORA board is split on how to move forward.
At the same meeting, analysis was presented that another open FORA position (Economic Development specialist) is not authorized for a high enough salary: â€œfour finalists for the job thought the offered salary of $90,000 to $115,000 was too low.â€ A seasoned CEO with decades of business and real estate development experience contacted me that day and said he would gladly apply for the position at the currently established salary . . . now that the availability of the position is known.
Hopefully FORA will learn to expand its human resources search efforts in the future.