The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 26, 1998 · Page 125
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 125

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Thursday, March 26, 1998
Page 125
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Page 125 article text (OCR)

6A THE PALM BEACH POST THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 1998 MSL Fancy meals, side trips cloud resignation OVERSTOCKED Selected Name Brand SPORTCOATS Silk Wool SilkWool j-- Ia Assorted Sues & Styles Reg. 395 to '450 aw 189 ers and their secretaries received raises higher than those granted union employees even though the city had a policy banning merit pay, the audit said. The raises lifted the pay of 10 employees above the maximum for their position, Isaacs said. She also questioned Wright's decision to use money from water and sewer customers to pay the city marketing director's $70,000 salary and another $80,000 over three years to maintain the Centennial Fountain. While disputing wrongdoing, city officials agreed to pay for the fountain with general revenues. Staff writer Marcia Gelbart contributed to this story. Mayor Nancy Graham criticized Wright for the way he handled the $7,500 bonus she authorized Aug. 15. But she said she had no problem with his travel record, including three trips with his wife, Karen, Graham's executive assistant. Among the trips: a visit by the couple to Sacramento, Calif., in May 1996 for a two-day telecommunications workshop. Graham said she told Wright to visit Car-mel, Calif., to look at landscaping. Wright extended the trip for three days, writing the city finance director that it saved $968 in airfare. During that time, the couple visited coastal Monterey and Napa Valley wine country. Wright billed the city $1,116 for the trip; his wife paid her own way. However, she didn't take any vacation days, which Graham has since instructed her to do. Isaacs also questioned $40,000-plus payments to each of three former department heads, among eight city officials paid $193,000 to leave in the last two years. In the absence of a policy, Wright negotiated settlements with several employees who agreed not to sue the city or talk publicly about their departure. The payments, which did not undergo city commission review, violate a state statute that says the city can't pay people after they stop working, the auditor wrote, a finding city officials rejected. Additionally, high-level staff By Joel Engelhardt Mm Beach Post Staff Writer " WEST PALM BEACH While City Administrator Mike Weight plans to resign today over hi$ own $7,500 bonus, he also has been hounded by allegations that the city acted improperly by allowing high-cost meals and unjustified travel, large payouts to remove top employees and raises foi1 favored administrators. His departure would be the first major fallout from the investigative report by Internal Auditor Imogene Isaacs. The audit cited a lauk of local policies and violations of state law that resulted in employees running up $36,321 in restaurant and catering bills. As city administrator, Wright is charged with setting up such policies. Special Purchase POPLIN SLACKS a fnr$ Plain or Pleated ror 110 Full Selection of Portly Sportcoats Available Mon.-Sat. 9:30-5:30 655-0546 "Alterations available at cost. if i : JI1IIHI1 II -., --!,.. - .....: 1 Among the most critical findings: Wright added a $120 tip to a $658 bill that already included an 18 percent gratuity. That increased the cost of dinner for 15 at Sforza a Clematis Street restaurant just a block from city hall to $778. "This meant the tip' was actually $224.55 or 41," the audit said. --' State statute, which doesn't allow reimbursement for local J i . Mim. n in."' .1 Ml meals, applies because the city has no policy of its own, Isaacs said in a finding disputed by the city. Despite the yearlong investigation, Wright charged $102 for groceries to make 3 gallons of chili, the trophy winner in a cook-off that raised the city $615. ill pii jiHi i '1 b -a '.a J M ITS! j .. 1 1 f Medicaid Application lievealed ruse Sale 27.99-29.99 13 off Sale 2 for $60 Dockers and Savane Pure cotton and wrinkle-free styles with plain or pleated fronts. Reg. $38-$48 Sale 32.99 ea. Sale 19.99 Knit shirts Selected patterns and prints in great colors from Tribute and Club Room. Reg. $26-$30 Spring suits and sportcoats Geoffrey Beene & Club Room Suits. Reg. $300-$475 Sale 199.99-315.99 Save on all Geoffrey Beene wrinkle-free and Sportcoats. Reg. $165-$300 Sale 109.99-199.99 Club Room pinpoint styles. Reg. $35-$45 CHARGES , From 1A Last month, however, McNamee applied to the state Department of Health to be a physician in its Medicaid program and listed two pieces of information on his aDolication that state offi cials found were fraudulent: his mtdical license number and a number from the Drug Enforcement Agency, which authorizes a doctor to prescribe narcotics. The cae was then turned over to the attorney general's office. j'Vacco said that McNamee submitted a falsified version of the legitimate medical certificate So 1 ) 1 ' lAA u i U izz:-- " - '-.'it; Jo I 1 of his wife, Patricia Zambelli, a doctor of osteopathy legally licensed in both New York and Florida. Officials said they were investigating whether Zambelli kn,ew of her husband's actions. Officials and colleagues at Bf'ooklyn Hospital were confounded Wednesday in trying to explain why a talented, well-liked doctor would forge his creden tials. Many young doctors fail in their first attempt to pass the intense licensing exam which requires that a doctor pass the fifst two parts before even being allowed to take the third part. If they fail, they can get a limited temporary permit, allowing them toeontinue practicing until they talke the test again. State and hospital officials said they did not know whether McNamee failed the test or never took it. 0r off 50 Sale 39.88 Dr. Martin Kohn, chairman of the hospital's department of emergency medicine, called Mc-Namee's actions "a very unfortunate mistake in judgment" Any size 89.99 Dan River Strada bed-in-a-bag Includes everything you need for the perfectly coordinated bed. Reg. 119.99-149.99 25-30 off Kids' dress up Dresses, -blazers, trousers, polos, separates and more. Reg. $28-$70 Sale 19.60-$49 Atlantic Infinity II luggage Satchels, garment bags, canyons, pullmans and more. Reg. $100-$400 Sale 44.88-189.88 Meyer 8-piece cookware set Milano set designed with nonstick surface for easy clean-up. Orig. $100 USE THESE COUPONS But state officials emphasized that for the sake of public safety, McNamee was in no way permit-tod to practice even the most minor medical procedure, despite his medical education and previous temporary licensing and his legitimate honorific. ""The hour after your permit empires, you lose the right to practice," said Johanna Duncan-Pditier, deputy commissioner for I 1 I o I thfe office of the professions in the state's Department of Education, which licenses doctors. "It's like a driver's license only obviously more important If it expires, you lose the right to drive." - JL 1 off 50 40-50 off 2nd Royal Velvet towel set Pure cotton in great colors. Bath, hand, wash. 3-piece set. Reg. 25.97 2nd Sale 12.97 Oneida flatware sets 20-pc. sets for 4 a 45-pc. sets for 8 with 5-pc. hostess set. Reg. $66 $ 165 Sale $33-99.99 toy WfeM SWT WKJI 324 macys Find the vehicle of your dreams in The Post Classifieds. See Classification 90. PEG A0 CiG "cicrs 0f;fCT OHTSiv; PoictS W Sv'iv:,S V VI B BS-r ON CTLi. SiES (CVtRTifj iT:VS V Bf Ocrf f Z IN rLtjl fVfVS i-r S.. r N I' '-.irn B,i

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