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Wastewater Issues and Conflict on Monroe County Board of Commissions March 2005

 

 

1. Conflict Continues on the County Commission
 The Monroe County Commission voted last week to replace Commissioner George Neugent with Commissioner Murray Nelson on the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council. Why? Apparently because of Neugent differed with Nelson as to how state funding for water quality improvements in the Keys is determined.

However, it would appear that County Commission exceeded their authority and Neugent will retain his position.

"I will not give up my involvement with the sanctuary. I'm not going to walk away. It's an issue of passion," Neugent is quoted as saying in the Key West Citizen.

Neugent has been Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council chair on many occasions and a member of the since 1999.

County Commissioners who voted for the Nelson resolution received criticism from Debbie Harrison, Sanctuary Advisory Council member and World Wildlife Fund South Florida project coordinator. Harrison praise Neugent and labeled the County Commission's vote a "very disingenuous act. What they did is terribly unproductive. Neugent was embraced by this council because he's such a positive partner."

Duck Key resident, Bruce Popham, currently chairs the SAC's Water Quality Steering Committee. Commissioner Nelson is upset because Water Quality Protection Steering Committee, co-chaired by the Florida secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection and the regional director for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggested that state funding for water quality improvements in the Keys follow recommendations made by the Project Delivery Team of the Florida Keys Water Quality Improvement Project and not be decided by a Committee of Mayors.

 

 2. Letter to Editor

Breaking Sunshine Laws?

 It is clear by their unanimity in attacking the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority that [state Rep. Ken] Sorensen, [County Commissioners Murray] Nelson and [Sonny] McCoy have had extensive conversations that will impose a heavy burden on those of us who live on Big Coppitt and elsewhere. There is clear circumstantial evidence that these elected officials are acting in concert. Is it proper to ask if these conversations, held in secret, are a violation of the Sunshine Act.

 

3. Editorial in the Upperkeys Reporter

In an editorial from the Upper Keys Reporter , the conflict between Commissioners is described as a wrestling match "Commission grapples 'literally' over wastewater". The editorial is accompanied by an unflattering cartoon of Commissioner Neugent.

The cartoon and the text of the opening paragraph make it apparent that the writer's sympathies favor Nelson, McCoy, and Spehar,

"In one corner is the Committee of Mayors defended by county commissioners Murray "Bulldog" Nelson, Sonny "The Real" McCoy and Mayor Dixie "The Voice of the South" Spehar.

In the other corner is the Program Delivery Team (PDT), a group formed to disburse federal money and is represented by commissioners George "Pretty Boy" Neugent and David "Power Hold" Rice."

 

 

 

 

 

 
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