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Debate over possible fuel savings gets heated

By Staff | Nov 8, 2010

Differing opinions on how much the city can really save on fuel via an observation by one of the city manager’s consultants caused tension on the dais Monday, as Gary King and Councilmember Marty McClain locked horns on the issue.
Bill Towler, organizational program effective consultant for the city manager’s office, said last week that the city could save nearly $20,000 if single fuel purchases were made from a different provider.
City Manager Gary King said Monday night if the city purchased fuel from Evans Oil Company — which is currently serving Lee, Collier, Charlotte counties, and the Lee County School District — then the mark up on the fuel would be less.
He also said the city could achieve “modest” savings through use of Evans Oil Company.
McClain said he had not received any reports on the issue, and doubted the savings amount touted could be achieved. He said Towler had not provided any documents to support his claims.
McClain said, too, that he had doubts about information coming out of the city manager’s office.
“I have repeatedly asked that documentation be provided … Towler should have provided it to the rest of council,” McClain said. “We’re asking for the entire investigative story to get out in the public.
McClain also told King, “I don’t trust anything that comes from your office.”
King said the cost savings were about “cost avoidance” and not overall price.
He accused McClain of trying to “discredit” his numbers, and said McClain used 10 staff members from the city manager’s office to get the information he sought.
Regarding McClain’s statement that he didn’t trust information coming from his office, King said, “I stand on a full career of integrity and accomplishment that speaks for itself. I don’t have to defend myself to anyone.”
A full report of Towler’s three month investigation of the city’s fleet management is due soon.