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Ruane seeks council re-election to continue his work on finances

By Staff | Jan 22, 2009

Serving as the Sanibel City Council’s unofficial financial wizard, Vice Mayor Kevin Ruane announced last week his intentions of seeking re-election to the Council seat he has held for the past four years.

Although Ruane moved his family to Sanibel only five short years ago, it is clear that he wasted no time getting involved in his community, with a list of community service endeavors that would rival that of any individual who was born on the island.

In addition to his service as City Councilman and Vice Mayor, Ruane also serves as President and Treasurer of The Sanibel School Fund, Auditor for the PTA at The Sanibel School and served as President of the committee for the new Sanibel Recreation Center, an accomplishment of which he says he is particularly proud.

“The overwhelming popularity of the new Recreation Center I supported has enriched the lives of our children, seniors and families who enjoy a variety of healthy activity programs,” he said.

As a City Councilman and Vice Mayor, Ruane has served as council liaison to a number of different boards and commissions, including the board of Community Housing Resources, the Police and General Employee Pension Plans, the Tourist Development Council, and the Audit Committee. He was also a member of the Florida League of Cities Taxation and Finance Committee.

When asked about his occupation, Ruane was quick to begin his extensive list of professional experience with the one job that has been most important to him.

“My most important job is as a father and husband,” he said.

Ruane said that he spent the greatest part of his career in finance and business management, where he served as a chief financial officer of a Fortune 100 company, operated and expanded his family’s CPA business and started his own finance company – serving as its president, financial manager, financial officer and accountant.

When citing his most important accomplishment in city service, Ruane pointed to the recent liquidation of millions of dollars of invested city funds. Drawing from his extensive knowledge of accounting and finances, Ruane urged the City to liquidate its $27,500,000 deposit in the SBA Local Government Investment Pool, when he sensed during 2008 that conditions in the national financial markets were deteriorating, exposing a wide range of investment funds to increasing risks.

“As a result, we protected Sanibel taxpayer dollars from the subsequent serious losses that impacted other governmental units causing critical funding shortages and disruption of their vital public services,” he noted.

The state of the American economy, and its effect on the City of Sanibel and its finances, is the one issue that Ruane sees as the most important challenge facing the City today. Revenues will continue to decline due to falling property values and decreasing state and federal project funding, said Ruane, while expenses such as employee health insurance, among others, continue to climb at an exorbitant rate.

Ruane said he hopes that Sanibel voters will allow him to continue to pursue the revenue-building, cost-cutting measures he has already helped to initiate, including working with City staff to cut the budget wherever and whenever possible, while continuing to provide a sound level of essential services to residents and property owners.

When asked about his most unforgettable moment in public service, Ruane said that there had been a few.

“The gratitude of gaining the confidence of Sanibel voters who put their faith in me as their elected Council representative and being honored by my council colleagues as Vice Mayor,” he said in reply. “And the satisfaction of knowing that critical taxpayer dollars have been saved from the erosion of the SBA Local Government investment pool.”

The election will be held on Tuesday, March 3.

(Editor’s Note: Five candidates have qualified for candidacy for the three Sanibel City Council seats up for election in March. Those seats are currently occupied by Mayor Mick Denham, Vice Mayor Kevin Ruane, and Councilman Marty Harrity. All three incumbents have filed for candidacy, as well as Dr. David Berger and David Bath. This article is the second in a series of weekly profiles on each of the candidates.)