A Petition Calling for the Resignation of Mayor McCann and Commissioners Benton, Elliot, and Johnson
Resignation PetitionRead the petition
In light of recent events and findings, we, the undersigned residents of Winter Springs, are calling for the immediate resignation of Mayor McCann and Commissioners Benton, Elliot, and Johnson. Our concerns stem from a series of grave issues that have adversely impacted our city and its residents, as well as posed significant harm to the environment. We believe that their continued presence in leadership roles is detrimental to our community.
Misuse of Funds: A recent County audit has revealed that the City misspent at least $10 million in Penny Sales Tax revenue. These funds, which should have been used for critical infrastructure maintenance, were allocated in a manner that compromised the integrity of our bridges and other vital infrastructure during Hurricane Ian. This misuse of funds was conducted in secrecy, contravening the clear will and intent of the voters who approved the sales tax referendum and has severely eroded public trust.
Toxic Workplace: A recent audit by the State Audit General, JLAC, highlighted the City’s failure to address allegations of a negative workplace environment in City Hall. This hostile atmosphere led to a mass exodus of key city personnel. The City Commissioners were directly involved in fostering this toxic workplace by expressing a vote of confidence in the then City Manager, despite widely publicized complaints and a letter from multiple former city commissioners calling for his resignation.
Water Contract Violations: The City failed to hold its water contractor, Veolia, accountable as contractually obligated. This negligence resulted in a two-year delay in fulfilling contractual obligations to audit the contractor’s behavior and actions, as well as a 20-month delay in hiring an independent engineer to conduct an evaluation. These failures directly contributed to critical wastewater system breakdowns and extensive environmental damage suffered by Winter Springs residents. These findings were corroborated by findings of the State Auditor General.
Failure to Notice Residents of Water Problems: The City did not adequately follow protocols during water system failures and emergencies with residents, which led to a lack of public awareness regarding potential violations, increased exposure to potential health risks, and environmental concerns.
Environmental Damage: The City failed in its contractual obligation to residents to properly maintain wastewater systems, resulting in repeated violations of Florida Department of Environmental Protection rules. These violations caused numerous spills of hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, contaminating the environment, and resulting in multiple Consent Orders that imposed hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
Financial and Accounting Violations: The City did not perform the required 2021-2022 fiscal year financial statement audit and failed to file it with the Auditor General and Florida Department of Financial Services as mandated by law. This audit remains incomplete, even as the commission approved a budget for 2023-2024. Additionally, the City allowed unpaid invoices to accumulate with their water management vendor, incurring default interest at a rate of 8% for at least $1.2 million dating back to November 2022.
Public Records Failures: The City repeatedly failed to respond promptly to residents’ requests for Public Records and neglected to adopt policies requiring timely disclosure of information as requested by residents.
Purchasing and Spending Malfeasance: The City disregarded written purchasing policies, resulting in $15.7 million of taxpayer funds being spent out of compliance with City Ordinances. This included the hiring of Veolia as the water system contractor and the allocation of $197,000 in taxpayer dollars to a marketing firm for politically charged messaging during an election year, directly countering concerns raised by residents.
Fraud Detection and Reporting: The City did not establish policies for the detection, investigation, or reporting of known or suspected fraud, increasing the risk that allegations of fraud would not be properly investigated.
Given these substantial issues, we, the residents of Winter Springs, firmly believe that Mayor McCann and Commissioners Benton, Elliot, and Johnson should immediately resign from their respective positions. Our community deserves leaders who prioritize transparency, accountability, and the well-being of our city and its residents.