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July 24th, 2014

Manager not recommending Sustainability Director

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illage Manager John Gilbert isn’t recommending the city hire a Sustainability and Procurement Director, which the city’s Green Committee requested, but he and other local officials were clear last month on their commitment to the committee’s proposals.
Derek Duzoglou, Green Committee Chair, recommended the position last month to oversee the implementation of environmental initiatives in his group’s Sustainability Plan as well as Village-wide procurement. He reiterated the request at the Village Council’s June 17 budget workshop, suggesting a salary range of $60,000 to $75,000.
While Gilbert said he isn’t recommending the position because he wants to see if the committee itself – working with existing Village staffers – can handle the tasks instead, he said he will be watching the situation closely and making sure the Sustainability Plan is utilized.
“If this gets dropped, it will be long after I’m gone. It’s not going to get dropped on my watch,” the Manager promised.
Mayor Frank Caplan agreed, noting the committee has buy-in from the Council, Manager and department directors. Therefore, he said, Duzoglou’s concerns that the committee wouldn’t have the “clout” to push projects through won’t materialize.
“We’re all striving to improve. If there’s a good idea, you aren’t going to have problems with access,” Caplan said.
While the Sustainability and Procurement Director position was not part of Gilbert’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2015, which runs October 1-September 30, 2015, some local leaders said they would consider the addition.
Council member Theo Holloway, Council liaison to the Green Committee, noted the Village Goes Green environmental program had widespread administration and Council support seven years ago, but still stalled after a while.
He’s afraid the same thing will happen with the Sustainability Plan if there isn’t a specific point person devoted to its implementation.
“I’d to see the Village make the commitment to having someone dedicated to this,” he said.
Meanwhile, Council member Jim Taintor remarked, “I don’t think it’s a bad idea they’ve come up with. No one wants to see their work go down the drain.”
Ultimately, though, the Council indicated the Village should see what can be accomplished with existing staff before moving forward with a new position.
Gilbert promised to talk with Henny Groschel-Becker, the longtime Key Biscayne resident who spearheaded the Village Goes Green initiative and now handles the Village website, about assisting with plan implementation.

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