Captiva’s erosion district bids farewell to commissioner
As Captiva Erosion Prevention District Commissioner Dave Jensen participated in his last meeting before retiring, the board discussed proposed protocols for appointing commissioners and tied up loose financial ends, as well as revisited a proposed change related to the administration’s staff positions.
The Sept. 26 meeting marked Jensen’s final one after serving the district for 25 years. He had previously announced in March that he would be retiring from the commission in the fall.
Jensen and his wife are moving to Italy to begin their next big adventure in life.
His fellow commissioners, along with Administrator Carolyn Weaver and Deputy Administrator Joe Wagenti, expressed appreciation for his years of service to the CEPD and offered up best wishes.
Related to Jensen leaving, staff presented the board with two resolutions: one to remove him from financial institutions that the CEPD works with, including the Bank of the Islands and Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, and approve another commissioner in his place; and another to close an American
Express credit card for the CEPD in Jensen’s name and open a new card for any nominal expenses.
The commission voted unanimously 5-0 to remove Jensen from the financial institutions.
As for the credit card, some on the board had questions. Treasurer Bob Walter asked why staff was proposing closing the American Express card to open a Chase Mastercard Visa card instead.
Weaver explained that they inquired about changing names on the American Express card and were told it could not be done, that a new card would have to be opened and a new credit check done.
Chairman Mike Mullins voiced concerns about putting a staffer on the card – outside of one of the commissioners – and what liability it may open the CEPD up to if there is an instance of fraud.
After some discussion, the board voted to close the American Express card but remain with the company, putting Mullins and Walter on the new card for purchases not payable by check.
Also at the meeting, the commission discussed a resolution to approve a new standard operating procedure for appointing commissioners to vacant seats. According to the SOP, staff proposed setting up a point system for ranking and selecting replacements if more than one person shows interest.
Vice Chair Michael Lanigan voiced support for the system.
“You vote, you put your numbers down, that’s our candidate,” he said. “That’s what I think.”
Lanigan noted however, that there is no language for if there is a tie.
“We need to come up with a process to break a tie,” he said.
Mullins agreed with other sections of the SOP, including that candidates should submit letters of interest and present themselves before the CEPD to provide their background and answer questions. He also suggested including within commissioner “requirements” a set number of excused absences.
“Normally, people don’t miss more than three meetings in a year,” Mullins said, adding that setting a number will officialize what is permitted though. “But I don’t know what the number should be.”
As of the meeting, four interested candidates were eligible to replace Jensen on the board.
Two of them, Rene Miville and Richard “Dick” Pyle, were present.
The other candidates are Linda Laird and John Silvia.
The commission offered those present a few moments each to address the audience.
Miville explained that he has been on the island for 33 years and has watched the evolution of the beach renourishment program since its start. He also serves on the Captiva Community Panel.
“What I want to do with the board is be the guy who has the political will,” Miville said, explaining that he has in place or can build relationships with decision-makers on local to national levels.
“It really takes a team,” he added. “We have to work together.”
A former fashion photographer, Miville currently serves as a hedge fund consultant.
Pyer explained that he has been on Captiva since 1998, moving to the island full-time in 2003.
“I’m interested in giving back to the community,” he said.
Pyer reported that he helped to create and build The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company, which he retired from as president earlier this year. He noted that his wife also is retired and wants to get involved.
“We’re looking forward to being full-time participants in the Captiva lifestyle,” he said.
After some back-and forth discussion, the commissioners decided to table the vote on the proposed SOP until next month. They also chose to hold off on appointing a replacement for Jensen’s seat.
Mullins noted that it would give the other candidates a chance to speak, too.
On a side note, Lanigan raised the idea of establishing emeritus positions for the CEPD.
“When you have people (former commissioners) that may not have the ability to serve, but they have the knowledge to share,” he said.
Mullins voiced support for creating non-voting honorary positions.
“I think it’s a great idea,” he said.
The commission directed staff to bring forward a proposal at next month’s meeting.
At its August 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.
With only three on hand, the board decided to table a decision until all five were present.
At last week’s meeting, the commissioners were presented again with the proposal.
During a lengthy discussion, Mullins – who was present in August – questioned again why the commission had to vote on what he feels falls under the purvey of the district’s hiring company, Hans Wilson & Associates. Hans Wilson recited language within the firm’s contract as reason for the vote.
With an excused absence in August, Lanigan had a list of questions for Wilson, Weaver and Wagenti, including clarification of job duties and tasks, record keeping procedures, and time management.
Jensen offered his thoughts on the matter.
“I think our job is to look at what needs to be done and what that requires,” he said.
After more discussion and questioning, which became heated at times, Mullins and administration staffers agreed to get together and go over the proposal in an attempt to come to some solution.
IN OTHER NEWS
– The commission voted down a proposal to pay off the Fifth Third Bank, 2013-2014 beach renourishment loan with monies sitting in an account not collecting interest. Instead, it voted 4-0 – Walter had stepped out – to work with staff to put together an investment plan for the funds.
– The commission approved a new insurance plan with Public Risk Insurance Advisors.