Will City leaders kill the goose that laid the golden egg?

COMMENTARY

For six years money has been diverted from maintenance of the City Marina, Leisure Square, the bathrooms at Humiston, the RiverHouse, and other properties.

KEN DAIGE

Kenneth Daige

Outsiders decided they had to get tough and show Vero Beach how wrong Vero was about ownership of their city assets.

Blogs full of extreme rhetoric pushing for the electric sale were written and emailed out to the voters.

Vero Beach was hit over the head with media articles berating the residents with frequent slaps and rebukes for not accomplishing the electric sale faster.

Campaigns were backed by Florida Power & Light through PACS and campaign mail outs.

Outsiders in Indian River Shores and the Moorings backed their chosen candidates who were willing to accomplish these outsiders’ goals.

Vero Beach stood beaten and accused.

It took a particular type of candidate and a particular type of elected official to sell the electric asset.

To comply with the outsiders wishes, in 2012 Vero Beach contracted with outside attorneys to sell the electric system and most efforts by the city’s elected officials has since concentrated on the coveted goal of the electric sale.

This particular type of leader chose not to question FPL’s offer. Instead they shut down the utility and finance committees and hired a firm to handle the utility transaction.

Are these the type of leaders we want moving us into the future once that is done?

The city residents have not been given clear and straight-forward answers to specific financial questions about how the city will operate after the sale. This has all the implications that there is very little or no money from the electric sale.

The sale of Vero Electric to FPL has not been finalized and money is still being diverted to accomplish that sale.

For six years money has been diverted from maintenance of the City Marina, Leisure Square, the bathrooms at Humiston, the RiverHouse, and other properties.

Planned repairs and maintenance were not able to stay on schedule.

The media position backing the city council inaction does not hold water – if the sale of Vero’s electric system was a sound financial decision there would be none of this deflection.

The barrage of sarcastic innuendo blaming city employees for the results of city councils choice to divert funding has got to stop.

The pretense of concern and care is shameful coming from those who insisted on smaller government and fewer employees. The comments from the dais show lack of understanding of employee’s position or original hire status. The city council has no business expecting employees to do the work of three and with a pay cut.

There are those who may take exception to putting employees in harm’s way. There are strict protocols employers have to follow about health, safety, and general welfare – the same protocols the city council has to follow in their responsibility for the residents and employees of the city.

When you hear city council say they ‘just want to explore’ cost cutting ideas – it usually means – how much more can they slash department budgets and reduce the number of employees while requiring them to do more, and how many more departments can they eliminate.

Editor’s note: Ken Daige is a former member of the Vero Beach City Council.

2 comments

  1. Blaming Vero’s employees for what has transpired is pathetic. The ones I’ve met have had such a wonderful attitude and willingness to do a really good job, I can’t imagine them being the cause of any of the problems. But it is always easy to point the finger at the hard-working employees. Unfortunately, they surely must feel like workhorses who’ve done their best but are still spoken harshly to until they no longer care or are embittered by the treatment received. I don’t know how some in this little city can sleep so soundly, knowing the path they are leading us all on is not toward Paradise (we’ve had that all along) but more like another set of problems, especially for those not in the top of the ranks…….the workers who serve all the rest. Humiston Park restrooms, repairs to city streets and sidewalks, places such as Bethel Creek House for meetings/events, and all the wonderful parks…….these are important. The museum is important. The marina is important. How many of today’s residents or regular visitors came here via their boats? Vero Beach has a lot to offer everyone….not just the few.Thanks to Ken Daige for being one who has spoken up over the years.

  2. Yes, and because We The People dared question what they were proposing, calling out their methods, questioning their math, they called us “Special Interests.” How rich is that? A terrible precedent has been established — the City of Vero Beach can be bought for a mere $100,000 in outsider campaign contributions. There are influential and powerful people out there who have taken note of that. Let us hope next we don’t fall under the control of condo and resort developers.

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