2 new hires in Plantation

Plantation has two new department heads: Samira Shalan is the new city engineer and Bill Gale will lead the building department as our new building official.

Both start their jobs on Monday, Dec. 7.

The city council approved both hires at its Dec. 2 meeting. Shalan, who lives in Plantation, called her hiring “a dream job.” During our phone chat, she said she is eager to help educate the public on how the engineering department works and will evaluate traffic calming options – but noting each case will be evaluated separately.

“It’s not cut-and-paste,” she said. Her previous city experience includes stints at Tamarac and Sunrise.

Gale has been a building inspector with the city since 2008 and before that worked for Broward County and for private businesses. He will oversee a department of about 25.

Overall, the building department is awaiting a system upgrade that will make tracking requests and projects more digital-friendly. Gale says he expects the upgrade to help customer service in the department.

Meeting times

The city council also discussed meeting times during its Dec. 2 gathering.

Pre-Covid we met at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. Now we meet at 5 p.m., which the mayor says helps our department heads because they don’t have to wait around.

The council’s concern is about public input. We want residents involved and the meeting to be convenient for people. So, does the time of the meeting matter to you all? (I’m retired, so I don’t really care.)

We also note that Zoom has brought about greater attendance and plan to keep that; right now we can’t open up to residents.

Email any comments you might have to NSortal@Plantation.org.

We reached tentative agreement to hold the meetings at 6 p.m. Wednesdays in 2021, with the plan hopefully finalized during the council’s Dec. 16 meeting.

Utility boxes

The city is embarking on a small beautification project: We are placing decorative wraps around 10 8 utility boxes along and near State Road 7.

The wraps will consist of photos and the cost is $12,280. Depending on how the project is received, more wraps could be added in other portions of the city.

Playgrounds (we get it)

The council and Plantation administration discuss whether to open up city playgrounds at nearly every meeting. While most of us, including me, are frustrated because of the pandemic, each time our resolution has been this: We just can’t.

City CAO Jason Nunemaker points to the positivity rate for Broward, which has been well above 5 percent for quite some time. We need it below that number to be comfortable.

Nunemaker also provided a summary of Broward County, which indicates about a 50-50 split. That said, yes, we understand the frustration of the residents, and believe me, we want to reopen our facilities as quickly as we can.


The virtual opening of “Light Up City Hall” was held Dec. 5 on the city’s Facebook page. City Hall is adorned with displays marking December holidays of all ilks, and last year the lighting was the centerpiece of a community event. This year, because of Covid-19, the opening ceremony was virtual, but patrons are encouraged to drive by and see the display through Jan. 9. (Unnecessary note: It’s better at nighttime.)

The city will conduct a food giveaway at 9 a.m. Dec. 18 at Plantation Central Park. The event, aided by Feeding South Florida, will be similar to giveaways conducted throughout the summer. Visitors do not have to be Plantation residents to receive food.

Yoga in the Park has resumed, at 9:30 a.m. Saturdays. The Covid-related twist is that participants must sign up beforehand. Go to //plantation.org/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/118/17, download the waiver and email to JSchick@Plantation.org. The venue rotates throughout the city.

Movies in the Park, a new endeavor, is slated for 6 p.m. Dec. 18 at Plantation Central Park. Each party will be assigned a “safety square” in order to maintain social distancing. The movie is “Elf,” starring Will Ferrell.

Questions? Email me at NSortal@Plantation.org.