CEPD votes on Sanibel agreement, parking fees
The Captiva Erosion Prevention District’s commission approved a new assistance agreement with Sanibel related to sand placement that had expired years ago, as well as adjusted parking fees for one beach lot, re-approved month-to-month contracts for staff, and more at its recent monthly meeting.
On Jan. 13, the commissioners voted 3-0 to approve consultant APTIM Coastal Planning & Engineering’s draft proposal for the Captiva and Sanibel Beach Renourishment Project Construction Services Assistance Agreement up to $150,000 for the first few tasks listed on the proposal.
Administrator Joe Wagenti reported that the total cost of the proposal is $509,000.
“We did not want to make a commitment for all of it at this point,” he said. “We also are trying to include Sanibel in this initial phase.”
Chairman Mike Mullins explained that an agreement between Captiva, Sanibel and Lee County regarding sand placement expired in 2015. It had allowed Sanibel to use the CEPD’s permits.
“There was no renewal of the agreement,” he said.
APTIM was asked to draft a new agreement that Sanibel could use for its north end.
“It’s beneficial to all of us that that area is protected,” Mullins said.
The agreement approved by the CEPD covers three out of 10 tasks proposed by APTIM. The tasks green-lighted so far include: public hearing, design survey for Captiva and Sanibel, and plans and specs and pre-construction services for both islands, to include the development of draft plans and specs.
Mullins, Treasurer Dick Pyle and Secretary Harry Kaiser voted in favor of the proposal.
Vice Chair Bob Walter and Commissioner Michael Lanigan had excused absences.
Also at the meeting, staff proposed changing the parking fee structure at the Alison Hagerup Beach Park from $5 per hour per vehicle to $10 for up to two hours, $15 for up to three hours, and $30 for all day. Wagenti explained that it would increase parking fee revenue and reduce the traffic congestion.
“Fifty percent of all tickets bought are just for one hour,” he said. “If we make that one little change, it’s going to greatly affect our revenue.”
Mullins added that the CEPD has received complaints from an area property owner that there is consistently a queue of backed up vehicles lining the street to get into the lot. The neighbor asked if a sign could be put up at Turner Beach to alert drivers of when the Alison Hagerup lot is full or not.
He continued that the CEPD could not install a sign, but the idea of adjusting the fee structure was raised as a possible solution. After studying the data, Wagenti found a change would be possible.
The proposed changes passed in a 3-0 vote.
Also during the meeting, Wagenti presented the commissioners with month-to-month contracts for himself and, as a part-time hire, John Riegert Jr. He explained that the contracts would enable them to provide administrative services to the CEPD while the permanent employee positions are finalized.
In recent years, the administrator and assistant administrator positions have been contract positions filled through a third-party consultant hired by the CEPD. As of the end of November, the consultant’s contract with the CEPD was terminated, which in turn terminated the staff sub-consultant contracts.
The commission has been allocating funds on a monthly basis to pay its staffers as it discusses a solution. The commissioners have voiced support for employee rather than contract positions.
At the recent meeting, Wagenti offered a contract of $4,000 every two weeks for at least a 40-hour workweek Monday through Friday to continue serving as the administrator. In addition, he proposed a contract of $22 per hour for Riegert – who has recently come on board – for part-time assistance.
The commission voted 3-0 to approve up to $25,000 per month for administrative services.
FORMER ADMINISTRATOR INVOICE
Also at the meeting, the commissioners discussed an invoice from its former administrator, Carolyn Weaver, who marked her last day with the CEPD on Dec. 12. Wagenti, who was promoted from deputy administrator to fill the vacancy, reported at the time that Weaver and the commission could not “agree on terms of further employment.” The CEPD’s hiring consultant had recently terminated its contract.
According to the document, Weaver submitted an invoice for 30-day termination – for Dec. 10 through Jan. 9 – for four weeks at $2,000 per week, for a total bill of $10,000 to the CEPD.
Mullins told the other commissioners that the invoice should be no more than $8,000 based on what Weaver had been receiving as a subcontracted employee through the CEPD’s former hiring consultant. He continued that when the consultant and sub-consultant contracts were terminated, he sat down with staff to discuss the next steps. Mullins added that Weaver rejected the pay and a five-day workweek.
“I basically said this is what we need, you have to make a decision,” he said.
Mullins continued that according to Wagenti, he and Weaver spoke afterward and she decided not to accept what had been discussed. He added that Wagenti gave Weaver her “notice” a couple of days later.
Mullins also reported that he spoke with the CEPD’s attorney upon learning about Weaver’s invoice and asked if the CEPD owed her anything. The attorney told him that the CEPD has no obligation to pay.
“In my opinion, I don’t think she needs to get anything further from us,” he said.
The others on the commission voiced agreement.
“I don’t think she should get anything at this point,” Kaiser said.
“I feel the same,” Pyle said.
No vote was taken on the submitted invoice.
Weaver responded to the panel’s discussion and decision.
“I’m very disappointed the board has chosen not to pay any of my final invoice,” she said. “The board previously agreed that Joe and I should give/receive 30 days notice; knowing that, I continued to work on good faith without a signed contract.”
“I was informed on Dec. 10 by Joe (Wagenti) that the chairman wanted me gone effective Dec. 12. It wasn’t until I read in the newspaper that I learned it was because I didn’t want to work from the office five days,” Weaver continued. “The chairman never reached out to me personally after an email I received from him on Thanksgiving Day stating I would be required to work five days from the office, as well as the coming weekend, for less pay than we had verbally agreed on previously.”
She added that she did not respond to the email from Mullins, but was informed by Wagenti that she was not needed over the weekend.
“I came to work expecting to be there at least through the end of December,” Weaver said. “After devoting a year and a half to the CEPD, I really believe I deserve more than two days notice.”
IN OTHER NEWS
– Wagenti reported that ads have been circulating to fill the vacant deputy-assistant administrator position, with about 80 resumes received to date. Currently, six candidates have moved on to the phone interview process. While all six candidates are from off island, a couple are familiar with Captiva.
“I would like to hire somebody in the next two to three weeks,” he said.
– Wagenti reported that the Fifth Third Bank account was in the process of being set up for the CEPD to begin investing in T-bills. Last month, the commissioners voted to transfer about $3 million from the district’s checking account – where it was gathering no interest – into an investment account.