When Mayor Bill speaks we all listen!

Naples Mayor Bill Barnett

It is always challenging for me to write an article when it covers four months and today is June 24th. With that being said I can’t help but comment on a tiny paragraph in the Saturday June 23rd edition of the Naples Daily News under their Kudos & Kicks section which they write every Saturday and it was a kick about our City Council.

Specifically, they squawked about the fact that we break for the summer on June 13th, and we don’t have another meeting until August 13th. They also carried on about a raise for City Council and for the Mayor. Had this been the first time they had brought this up I most likely would have responded in a different way. This is at least the third time they have made a statement of how displeased they are with the above and they just can’t let it go so maybe a little Naples history for them might be in order.

The year was 1984, and I was a newly elected Council member. The format was the same but the major difference was the communication. I candidly remember my Mayor Ned Putzell and his wife Dorothy would go to France and stay with their friend Julia Child for the majority of the summer break. He would call in once a week to see
what was going on. There were no cell phones, or e-mail and long distance phone calls were expensive. Even back then, our City was a 365 24-7 organization which remains the same today. Are they really that naïve to believe that we just exit the building after our last meeting in June and disappear until August 13th? I sometimes

In reality with all the means of communication available to us we are never out of touch. I have always thought that our staff breathes a sigh of relief when our summer break begins. We leave them with a huge list of projects to work on including the budget, which we deal with upon our return in August. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t speak with our City or Assistant City manager. I would candidly invite the Naples Daily News to
send one of their representatives to spend a summer day with me at City Hall and I’ll show them what the word quiet really means. The phones don’t ring, my e-mails are at a bare minimum, and it is indeed a rarity that someone wants an actual face-to-face meeting with me. The one thing that has not changed in 30 plus years is that Mother’s Day is the start of the quiet season and that will last until the beginning of October.

I noticed that when the Naples Daily News was once again showing their dismay with our pay raises they failed to mention that we hadn’t had a raise in over 10 years and they never mention that our County Commissioner’s salaries are in the high 70’s. It was pointed out to me that the County is way bigger than our City and that justifies their salary. Never mentioned is the simple fact that there are five County Commissioners one for each of
the five districts. Also not mentioned is that each of them has their own administrative assistant. Do they work harder than I do, or put more hours in than I do, I don’t think so. Am I complaining? No I’m not but I am
just a little tired of being “kicked” by the Naples Daily News when they have nothing better to write about.

The construction of our new Fire Station No. 1 is moving along at a good pace. With any luck at all the rebuild of our Pier from the damage caused by Irma might be completed by the end of August. For those of you that haven’t had a chance to visit our new City Dock this is a great time to do it. It really came out spectacular. Baker
Park is fast becoming a reality and is going to be a beautiful addition to our City. It has never been a secret that my wife Chris and I have a nine-year-old rescue Old English Bulldog named Zsa-Zsa and two rescue cats Ava and Maggie ages unknown. Today was the day that the ugliest dog in the country was announced. Not only
was she a Bulldog but, her name was Zsa-Zsa. Ugly? I think they are beautiful!

Once again, a great big thank you to all of our City employees that do so much for all of our residents and visitors alike. I am constantly receiving compliments about our City in every way imaginable. My answer is always the same, “It’s because of the wonderful employees that work for and care about our City.” Enjoy the rest of your summer and if you’re bored and have nothing to do then by all means e-mail me at mayorbill@naplesgov.com      I do respond.
Mayor Bill

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