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CEPD extends contracts, fills seat and more

By Staff | Nov 19, 2019

The Captiva Erosion Prevention District’s board allocated funds to extend its staffers’ contracts on an interim basis, appointed a new commissioner to fill a vacancy, created an emeritus commissioner position and placed an ongoing project temporarily on hold at its recent monthly meeting.

On Nov. 12, the commissioners voted 4-0 to designate up to $24,999 to extend the contracts of Administrator Carolyn Weaver and Deputy Administrator Joe Wagenti beyond a Nov. 30 deadline to keep them employed with the CEPD while the board works out the longer-term staffing details.

Recently, consulting firm Hans Wilson & Associates had tendered its resignation to terminate its contract – which includes the sub-consultant contracts for Weaver and Wagenti – with the CEPD effective at the end of November. HWA had served as a consultant for the district for seven years.

Since HWA’s announcement, the commission has been discussing its options, including hiring Wagenti’s consulting company to take over the two existing contracts, contracting individually and directly with Weaver and Wagenti as consultants, or bringing them both onboard as employees.

At the meeting, Chairman Mike Mullins recommended that the board approve a certain amount of funds to extend the staff contracts through the year’s end so it could work out permanent details.

Weaver suggested keeping the amount under $25,000 if the others agreed to prevent the need for a resolution, which could only be drafted and presented at the December meeting at the earliest.

Mullins reported that staff had provided him with a proposal to review, as they had agreed to try and find a solution together. At the meeting, he directed them to provide copies to the rest of the board.

Staff also were asked to leave the room briefly so the commissioners could exchange thoughts.

“How do we, as a board, want to see this structured moving forward?” Treasurer Bob Walter asked.

Vice Chair Michael Lanigan and Secretary Harry Kaiser were in favor of a staffed office.

“I’d like to have someone in that office all the time,” Lanigan said.

Walter pointed out that such requirements can change what the position is.

“It goes from being a contractor to an employee,” he said. “Being an employer takes on a whole other responsibility.”

The commission also floated possibly re-advertising the positions.

“I want to open this thing up to new talent,” Lanigan said, explaining that there is a list of mistakes by the staff. “I would certainly consider them for employment, but I’d like to see other people as well.”

Walter suggested first reviewing and digesting the proposal staff drew up.

After some discussion, the board leaned in favor of employee over contract positions.

Mullins noted that he wanted the staff to know where they stand.

“There’s no surprise that there’s board members who feel they might not be the right staff,” he said.

Both he and Walter said they want a weekly breakdown of what staff has been doing.

Also during the meeting, the board voted 4-0 to appoint Richard Pyle to the seat recently vacated by former Commissioner Dave Jensen. Jensen had served the CEPD for 25 years before he resigned.

In addition, it voted 4-0 to add an emeritus commissioner position to the board.

Lanigan initially brought forward the idea.

“I think we’ve got a lot of talented people with a lot of experience,” he said, noting that the CEPD could retain that experience and history. “I think Harry (Kaiser) would be a prime example.”

“There are a lot of emeritus positions out there, and they’re useful,” Lanigan added.

Also at the meeting, Wagenti reported that he had revised the site plan for the Alison Hagerup Beach Park in order to get the project moving. He explained that he removed the installation of the pavers from the design to focus on the bathroom trailer and handicap spots, adding that those can go in later.

Walter voiced concerns about not having a clear idea of where the project is at.

After some discussion, the board requested that staff provide a full review of the project at the December meeting. In the meantime, it directed staff to hold off on permitting until then.

On Nov. 12, the CEPD also had to rehold its second and final budget hearing, which was originally held in September. Weaver explained that the legally-required advertisement had contained the wrong figures, but the information filed with Florida Department of Revenue had had the correct numbers.

As a result, the state required a revote on the millage and budget for 2019-2020.

In two separate 4-0 votes, the board approved an operating millage rate of 0.4291 – a 45.7 percent increase from the rolled back rate of 0.2945 for last year – and general fund budget of $646,666.

IN OTHER NEWS

– The commission voted 4-0 for a new Standard Operating Procedure for both appointing a commissioner to a vacant seat and setting up emergency beach cleanup guidelines for fish kills.

– The commission voted 4-0 to approve the 2019-2020 capital projects budget.

– The commission voted 4-0 to approve contracts with Mauldin & Jenkins for audit services.