An eerie silence


“Even our Representatives to Congress have two year terms. I fail to find any justification for increasing terms for City Council members.  More than ever before, Council members must be held responsible for their actions and face you the voter.” 


Richard Winger

It has always been said that 15-20 hours a week of “homework” was necessary for a City Council member to do the job.  I found this to be true from the very beginning. But recently there has been very little paperwork of any kind coming to my In-Box. Therefore no homework or study required.

This has been going on for a while now, and departs from past years when my 50 years experience with Fortune 100 companies was called upon for financial planning. It was especially troublesome when this year’s Budget session was approaching.

The Budget session has now ended leaving the City of Vero Beach underfunded and in deficit spending. This Council majority dismissed the long term financial planning that recent Council instituted, and for the third time they rejected Council Member Young’s request to have the Finance Commission study the proposed finances of the Electric Utility sale and its’ impact upon the City.

This sale of the City’s biggest asset, which is owned by the taxpayers, needs the brightest minds to examine the details. We have them, they sit on our advisory Finance Commission.  Yet a majority of Council prohibits it.

Is the Council majority not aware they have a responsibility for the City’s financial future?

It is bad enough the Council failed to keep their promise to fund a solution to protect the Lagoon from pollution, but they left a $2,000,000 shortfall for each of the next 5 years for our infrastructure in need of repair: streets, culverts and buildings.

Now we learn there is an effort by these Council members to extend their terms from two to three years.

Admittedly, a new Council member has much to learn to come up to speed; but I did it, as did many others before me. Even our Representatives to Congress have two year terms. I fail to find any justification for increasing terms for City Council members.  More than ever before, Council members must be held responsible for their actions and face you the voter.

Given the silence, private meetings, the suppression of voices, the financial ineptitude, the failure to keep promises and now the effort to remain in office by extending terms-  it is time to start seriously worrying about the City’s future.

Editor’s note: Richard Winger is a member of the Vero Beach City Council.


  1. Still hoping we won’t be mourning the demise of Vero Beach as a separate entity. It is hard to understand what is going on when there appears to be so many behind-closed-doors sessions – not open to the public. The sound of silence is overwhelming. Hang in there, Mr. Winger! Wish we had 3 others on the Council with your experience!

  2. Any attempt to extend the terms of the city council is doomed to fail; voters will not permit this “power grab”. The Vero council majority of Moss, Howle and Sykes must be pessimistic about their chances of being re-elected, and there are plenty of reasons for their pessimism.Here are just a few:Failure to develop a responsible budget- Failure to address lagoon pollution- Failure to allow open discussions from residents-Failure to allow legal committees to function- Failure to act independently with regard to the sale of Vero Electric to FP&L —- Need I say more?

  3. Certainly gives significant cause for pause!

    So…where / when does this proposed concern for blatant ineptitude and financial mismanagement… evolve from mere supposition to full fledged investigation??

    I for one, detest false allegations and the unfounded efforts of some, to malign without measurable, undeniable proof of wrong doing!

    Likewise and even greater, I deplore the Peter-principle stupidity and good old boy political nepotism that has encouraged a marginally functional “leadership” ( lack thereof), to have the authority to direct a hapless community into the very sewer system that has been (remains) it’s Achilles heel for decades..a literal and figurative cesspool that has “reeked” foul for years, due to systemically toxic , short sighted decisions (purportedly made by local yokels…of which I am one), that have ultimately left this citizenry to consider “how” to repair and replace the landmines of neglect mired into the fabric of our community infrastructure and economy…by an ignorant few who have wielded, for years, the self serving power of their own agendas.

    Who will stop this travesty? When will it end?

    Thank you sir, for recognizing and bringing voice to this very Real and long-standing ” concern”.

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