From KeysNews.com: Gastesi requests contract extension.
I don’t care much for Gastesi. I think he’s sleazy and I don’t like how he operates. He’s been caught in numerous false statements and questionable acts – more than enough to terminate him for cause. In my opinion at least.
Here’s a partial list.
- Attempted to divert federal wastewater funding away from Key Largo to areas that were already paying less.
- Falsely claimed that Key Largo was “overfunded” when it comes to wastewater.
- Failed to resolve the high kill rate at Upper Keys Animal shelter.
- Over $20,000 worth of iPhones and iPads were stolen on his watch. He, in fact, paid cash several heavily discounted devices. A grand jury recommended that he be relieved of his duties, but the BOCC kept him on.
- Cudjoe Regional exceeded the initial bid cost by $43 million and spawned numerous lawsuits from angry citizens.
- Cost of Upper Keys court house doubled.
- Provided deceptive information to the state regarding wastewater funding.
- Lied (or was negligently uninformed) about the swap agreement with the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District.
That said, he’s done a decent job in at least one respect. He was part of the team that initially got the ball rolling again on state funding in 2012. He organized and strengthened the county’s lobbying efforts overall. He deserves credit for that. Unfortunately, this doesn’t erase the wrongs that have been so damaging to taxpayers Keys-wide. A more responsible, more transparent, and more ethical county government is sorely needed. Gastesi will never get us there.
There’s a strong team in place to secure state funding now. The county alone spends well over one-hundred thousand dollars on lobbyists and other professionals. They have a full-time employee dedicated to legislative affairs. Each entity in the Keys has their own lobbyists and a terrific advocate in Rep. Raschein. Gastesi is no longer needed, and the taxpayers of the Keys can no longer afford to take the bad that comes with the good.
What’s needed now is a chief executive who….
- Can get and keep the county’s capital projects on track.
- Can provide the vision needed for a county government that is fair to all.
- Will be truthful with the taxpayers, the state and the federal government.
It’s time for the Keys to move on. No drama. No hard feelings. The BOCC simply needs to decline renewal of the contract. Pay the man his severance. Throw him a nice going away party. Find a chief executive who can lead Monroe County into a successful future rather than keeping it bogged down in its troubled past.