Commission rejects plan to swap staffing positions
The Captiva Erosion Prevention District’s commissioners voted down a proposal for changes related to the administration’s staff, as well as one for a feasibility study of a lot for possible additional parking.
At its Aug. 12 meeting, the commission was presented with a plan to reassign current Deputy Administrator Joe Wagenti to the head staffing position occupied by current Administrator Carolyn Weaver and vice versa. The proposal also entailed salary increases for both contract positions.
The district’s hiring company, Hans Wilson & Associates, spoke on the changes.
“This is the result of multiple sources of information,” Hans Wilson said.
He explained that after considering the performance of the administrations, listening to input from commissioners, and consulting with Weaver and Wagenti, the team came up with the change as a way to better utilize the staffers’ individual strengths and weaknesses with a redistribution of the duties.
“We’re just trying to apply the right people to the administration based on input,” he said.
Secretary Harry Kaiser voiced how he was surprised to hear about the proposal.
“The both of you, in my opinion, are doing a great job,” he said, adding that he wanted to ensure Weaver and Wagenti were both happy and comfortable with the plan. “I want it to be right.”
Both staff members thanked Kaiser for his concern.
“Joe and I work very, very well together,” Weaver said. “We get along great.”
She explained that when they sat down with their current job descriptions to compare their strengths and weaknesses and likes and dislikes, however, they found that a job swap would be appropriate.
“It became apparent that the actual higher-level position would be more suited to Joe,” Weaver said.
“I’m good with it,” she added.
Chairman Mike Mullins questioned why the commission was even approached for an opinion or vote on the issue, explaining that he thinks Hans Wilson & Associates should make any staff decisions.
“Just being very open – as far as administration changes,” Hans replied.
Mullins also questioned the salary increases tied to the proposal.
Hans explained that with the approved job swap, the $61,250 increase to Wagenti’s contact and 3 percent increase to Weaver’s contract will bring both up to what is considered industry standards on salaries and benefits. He noted that as contract employees, neither are eligible for benefits typically attributed to government positions, like health insurance, retirement funding and related benefits.
The change would reflect a $60,106 increase in the company’s contract to $290,106.
Hans added that staff recently assumed additional duties associated with the agreement with the Lee County Tourist Development Council as the CEPD is now providing beach maintenance services.
“Based on what they (staff) provided us and what we researched, they are underpaid,” he said.
Commissioner Dave Jensen voiced his support for the changes.
“I’m for what you’re offering to do and so forth,” he said.
A motion to approve the proposal failed in a 2-1 vote, with Mullins dissenting. While most of those present voted in favor, a motion requires a majority of the full commission to pass – three in total.
Vice Chair Michael Lanigan and Treasurer Bob Walter had excused absences.
Staff intend to bring the proposal back at a later date when the full commission is present.
Also at the meeting, Wagenti presented a proposal to conduct a feasibility study of the lot at 15295 Captiva Drive for possible acquirement. In an effort to increase the amount of federal and state funding available to the district for beach renourishment projects, staff has begun exploring adding parking.
Funding is closely tied into public access to the beach, which is where Captiva falls short.
In his report, Wagenti noted that staff recognizes the importance of securing community support, particularly from the surrounding property owners, but felt looking at costs versus benefits should be the first step to determine if the idea is even feasible. He added that the study would cost nothing.
Mullins said he did not want to invest any money without the community’s support.
“We need to understand the community’s reaction to being adjacent to a parking lot,” he said. “I think most people in general do not want to live next to a parking lot.”
Wagenti explained that the buildout proposal for the site would involve an aesthetically pleasing building to the community, with public restrooms, shower facilities and pick-up/drop-off for shuttles to businesses and restaurants, along with the CEPD’s headquarters in a visible permanent location.
Jensen disagreed with doing a study before talking to adjacent property owners.
“I’m going to vote no. I think it’s better to find out what the community thinks first,” he said, adding that although the study will cost the district nothing, it will cost the staff their time and energy.
A motion to approve the feasibility study failed in a 2-1 vote.
The commission directed staff to gather public feedback and bring it back for further discussion.
ALISON HAGERUP BEACH PARK
Also during the meeting, Wagenti gave an update on the Alison Hagerup Beach Park improvements.
“The initial site plan has been done,” he said, explaining that there are some elements he does not like, but he wanted the commission to have a chance to look over the draft before he makes the changes.
“So I’m about the make a bunch of changes to it,” Wagenti said.
He noted that they worked to put the majority of the project within the public parking area.
Wagenti reported that the 41 parking spaces might go down to 38, but the district can install bicycle racks in and around the lot to make up for the lost space. A few motorcycle spots were added in.
He anticipates sharing a more finalized site plan at next months’ meeting.
IN OTHER NEWS
– The commissioners voted 3-0 on a resolution to approve the Local Government Funding Request for fiscal year 2020-2021, which allows the district to request funding from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
– Staff reported that the CEPD’s website was not ADA compliant and it recently updated the information to put it in compliance. The information on the new site will be the same as what was located on the old site, just more organized and user friendly. It was set to launch in 10 days.
– Mullins told the commission that he has approached the Southwest Florida Southwest Florida Regional Resiliency Compact about allowing the CEPD to become a member of the group.
“We’d like to be part of the more regional committed effort,” he said.
– The commission tabled until next month decisions on a resolution to approve a new standard operating procedure for appointing a commissioner to a vacant seat, on a resolution to update the standard operating procedure for providing administrative assistance to commissioners, and on a resolution to move excess funds into investment funds instead of the current checking account.