Public hearing set for new utilities division
A public hearing on March 28 has been set for an ordinance that would create a utilities division within the Public Works Department.
The brainchild of City Manager Gary King, the division would feature a newly reclassified position of utilities director, the requirements of which has drawn the attention of local engineers.
The job does not require a professional engineer’s license, according to the description on Cape Coral’s website.
City Manager King said previously that engineers “are not the best leaders” and, their skill set “does not drive leadership.”
Councilmember Pete Brandt was also critical of the PE license, calling it merely a revenue generator for the state of Florida.
Brandt, a career aerospace engineer that taught engineering at the Naval Academy, also said America’s space program was successful without the benefit of engineers having PE’s.
Pay range for the position is $81,307.20 to $134,139.20.
Patrick Day, president of the Calusa Chapter of Florida Professional Engineers, told council on Monday that some professional engineers prefer not to be in leadership roles, but the “blanket” statement by King was simply untrue.
“Not all doctors are leaders … there are plenty of PEs out there who’ve done the job and know how to do it,” Day said.
Forty-year Cape resident and professional engineer Lynn Kirby said a PE license isn’t simply a way for the state to make money, instead it’s continuing education that allows engineers to remain able to ensure the public’s safety on and in structures.
He called Brandt’s and King’s comments “irresponsible.”
“I’d rather him have a PE and say we don’t need one than not having one and saying we don’t need it,” Kirby said of Brandt.