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Re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic?

March 14, 2014
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

To the editor:

(Response to Editor's Notes to "Did city get bang for its buck?")

To the editor of the Cape Coral Breeze thank you for confirming the cost of two of our mayor's trips outside the state of Florida. But can we take your footnotes a little further what was the benefit of our mayor's attendance at the Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C.? Granted the total reimbursed cost of $1,247.03 is a marginal cost but shouldn't we also look at the opportunity costs or lost cost of not having our elected representative present to oversee council activities and city issues? What was learned and what are the expected benefits the citizens of Cape Coral can expect from this particular junket?

You reported on two junkets which were $1,247.03 and $827.90 respectfully. However, you didn't footnote the expense for the Harvard junket in November of 2013. Oh, I know, someone will tell us that the "Harvard and Mayoral Institute" paid for the entire seminar. Council voted to reimburse Mayor Sawicki $1,247.03 for her attendance at the Conference of Mayors, the trip to D.C. She initially paid out of pocket but Council voted to reimburse her "as they thought it was an important conference for the mayor to attend." Mayor Sawicki was absent from the Feb. 10 meeting due to a scheduling conflict. She, and other local officials and mayors, traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with federal legislators on the flood insurance rate increases. The legislative trip with the mayors of Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel and Lee County Commissioner Larry Kiker was $827.90. But the cost to our city with not having our mayor present to oversee the operations of the city has a cost that must be calculated and expressly shown the cost benefit of these junkets.

But again, there were three trips count them November 2013 attendance in Boston for the introduction to the Harvard and Mayorial Institute. The second trip was to the Conference of Mayors January 2014, Washington, D.C. The third trip was again to Washington, D.C., to attend a seminar or conference concerning the FEMA delay in increased funding for flood insurance (granted this was also attended by our Gov. Rick Scott) as such, this was an important meeting for our mayor to represent us However, there is now a fourth trip to San Antonio, Texas this is a seminar according to our mayor's announcement at a Council meeting was going to be fully paid for by the Harvard and Mayoral Institute and it dealt with a beautification process for a city to use in the proper placement of benches. OK this is fantastic . our city leadership is now learning how to "re-arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic!"

Some items that would further interest me from our illustrious mayor and City Council:

1. What was the cost of the November 2013 seminar? To include the lost opportunity cost of our newly elected mayor being out of town for training.

2. What was the cost of the San Antonio, Texas, seminar for March 2014? To include the lost opportunity costs of our mayor for being out of town for training.

3. Who supports and finances the Harvard and Mayoral Institute? Who are the major contributors?

4. Does the state of Florida through the governor's office have such a reach out program for local governments and communities?

The goal here is to count the trips and trace the money as to where it is from who are the major influencers of this training and is it necessarily going to benefit the people of Cape Coral.

Not a lecture, just a thought.

Dick Peppe

Cape Coral



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