Vero News

Craig Fletcher – Challenger

Name: Allen Craig FletcherAge: 68How long living in Vero Beach: Most of my life.  I was in Miami for 12 years; Europe for 1 year; Vietnam; Titusville, Fla., 10 years; Washington, DC, 1 year.Place of Birth: Vero BeachOccupation: Retired Design Engineer for McDonnell Douglas Missile SystemsMarital/Family Status: Married to Arlene; three grandchildren, Jacob, 12, Bennett, 10, Owen, 5.

Please list Civic and Volunteer Leadership Experience including title & position and Organization including dates and locations.

City Code Enforcement Board for two years.

County Planning & Zoning Board for two years.

Emergency Services Review Board for two years.

Metropolitan Planning Organization for two years.

Co-Chair of the Environmental Committee for legislative action

Florida League of Cities two years.

Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council for three years.

Currently on the P&Z for the City of Vero Beach

 

What issues motivated you to run for this office and what do you hope to accomplish during your term?

I continue to see too many issues the current and past City Councils simply refuse to answer, or are completely unable to answer or take action to solve.

The signing of the Orlando Utilities contract is littered with inconsistencies.  The contract with redacted statement being presented to the Council, “for the security of the contract” is a travesty.

I find the council’s denial of Mr. Headys’ request to place items of direct concern to the business of the City on the agenda as a “TAKING” of an elected officials right and responsibility to represent those that voted for him.

Sell the Utilities and or power plant and form a Countywide Utilities Company.

 

What is your position on the potential sale of the Vero Beach electric utility? If the price and conditions were right, would you support selling? What would keep you from supporting a possible sale?

Yes the City should sell the utilities system.

The first thing that must be done is for the City council to take a vote to “SELL” the utilities.

This is what is known a “setting” policy. This is the manner the council controls the actions of the City as a Corporation. Council sets “policy,” the policy is to be implemented by the charter officers.  From the vote to SELL the utilities the charter officers now must set their policy for staff to implement planning to sell, not salvage the utilities.

General points:

The scale-of economy for such a small facility will never be efficient enough to compete with main stream electric production.

The power plant may be of some use to a buyer but the property should not be sold but leased to the buyer. This will bring a steady stream of revenue back into the general fund.

If the plant is not an economically viable business the unit could be sold, literally at whatever the going price of scrap iron is and the units sold for any market price available.

Do “NOT” sell the property!  Even if we were to get twenty or thirty million dollars for the site any City council would find it impossible to resist spending the funds for some short term issue.

The waterfront property is worth a fortune as a marina and or dry boat storage in the existing building or any number of other commercial viable businesses.  This business again would bring in a steady flow of money to the general fund thru a long term lease.

The Transmission & Distribution, (T&D), section of the utilities department has a great deal of value.

Whoever buys the system they will need the facilities equipment and the personnel to operate the system.

The facilities are the property of the City and will again bring in revenue to the city through a long term lease and should be defined in the contract.

The inventory, trucks etc all have a strong market value.

The maintenance system is valuable department that will be kept.

FP&L can absorb the personnel as part of the contract along with their wages, and what I call “legacy” cost such as retirement, medical, vacation, etc. This again will relieve the City budget of a very large reoccurring overhead that will relieve pressure on the budget.   All of this will have to be settled in the contract negotiations. This is where there must a lead agency to handle negations.

The City is now advertising for a new Power Plant Manager and this is simply absurd. No one of any real long time interest is going to take the job. We must hire a contract engineer to lead the sale of the Utilities as a unit.

No more than five (5) people on the committee! No one should talk to FP&L or any other buyer than the five members of this committee. The Mayor, County Commission members, individual members of the City council meeting with a potential buyer is absurd.

This is a business and the past three city Councils have demonstrated their appalling inability to deal with this as anything other than a passing interest.

 

Do you support considering the possibility of merging the city’s water and sewer system with that of the county’s? What factors would you consider in making a determination whether or not such a merger should happen?

Yes, specifically the Water and Sewer.

I also believe, with the pending sale of the utilities, the County and Municipalities should form an Electric Utilities co-op to purchase electrical power as a single entity.  The ULTIMATE goal is to save money by lowering rates throughout the County.

Bulk power purchase will be much more efficient than each Municipality trying to make its’ separate deal.

Basically the reason for combining departments is to reduce duplicity of effort, thereby saving the overhead of one department.

 

The city is currently looking for a new City Manager to replace out-going Jim Gabbard. What qualities would you look for in a viable candidate?

Someone who will follow the policy of the Council.

 

How do you plan to work with Councilman Heady if elected to the dais?

The “LAW” is clearly defined under the City Charter the “order of business” of the meetings.  The charter also defines the actions available to the Mayor and or City Council to control members.

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