Comments on 6-3-2014 Council Meeting
Last night at the council meeting Ted raised questions about the reclaimed water system. I don’t think they were answered correctly While it was true that Donna submitted a report last year on the history and status of the reclaimed water system, that’s all it was. It was a slightly watered down, incomplete, politically correct report. Several of us employees and our consulting engineers along with some discussions gave written input to Donna which she used to compile the report. Not everything made it into the report. The report did not go into much detail on wasted money on useless parts of the system nor did it offer real solutions to the problems
From what I remember after the report was submitted to council it was decided that the CM was going to hire a engineering firm of his choice to do a comprehensive analysis of the entire reclaimed system and come up with some sort of plan to get us to a good fully operational system and council decided that they wanted to do a work shop that was put off until cooler weather because they didn’t want go out to the reclaimed lakes during the summer heat.
At that time some of us dummies with a few hundred years of combined experience in utilities recommended to management that instead of hiring an expensive engineering firm that the city could use the FRWA (Florida rural water association) to do the analysis. They are a non profit organization of top utilities professionals and utilities engineers that have done this type of work for other entities. They would have done it for a donation. Our recommendation fell on deaf ears. As usual management would rather bury their heads in the sand, let time pass and hope the problem goes away.
There are more problems and inadequacies in the reclaimed system than the lakes. I had a post on here recently called reclaimed 101 that detailed some things that need to be considered with the improvement project at the reclaimed lakes.
I also heard last night that there is a committee or board that is evaluating engineering firms for possible contract with the city. Was that publically announced? Who is on this committee? Are they well experienced utilities people that know what to look for in a utilities engineering firm? Our current consulting engineers are pretty good, they just need better direction and control from competent utilities management. Whatever engineering firm the city uses they must have good direction and control by experienced, knowledgeable utilities professionals (internal controls). Our problems in that area as it relates to utilities have always been due to our politically driven utilities management and city utilities engineers with no practical utilities experience or operational understanding. There is a difference between doing what is perceived as politically correct or politically driven and doing what is right for the city. One thing that made me unpopular with management was that I didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear, I told them what they needed to hear. That is the philosophy that management should have with the council and citizens. And back it up with true facts.
Myself and some of our utilities employees could greatly assist council and the city with information to help them with difficult decisions. All they have to do is ask but they would have guaranty that no action would be taken against the employees by management. Fear of management was also brought up last night. Fear of management does exist big time! Employees do not trust management and are in constant fear of losing their jobs. I know some utilities employees that have been threatened. I was threatened on numerous occasions. The work environment was unbearably hostile and stressful for me and was greatly effecting my health, contributing to worsening my disability I stay in contact with my former colleagues and from what I’m hearing the work environment is quite hostile.