Recker is fifth to announce Marco City Council candidacy

Editors note: This is the fifth in a series of interviews with candidates who are announcing they will run for election to the Marco Island City Council in 2008.

Frank Recker joins a list of Marco City Council candidates who were announced during the summer: Joe Batte, Roger Hall, Butch Neylon and Ken Allen.

The five are now vying for four available City Council seats, two of which are being vacated by Chair Mike Minozzi and Councilor Glenn Tucker because of term limits. The other two, held by councilors Bill Trotter and Terri DiSciullo, are up for re-election, though neither councilor has announced a final decision on whether they will run again.

What may set Recker apart in the minds of voters is his stance on sewers, which he says are a foregone conclusion on the island. However, his main agenda item is to foster better understanding between political opponents and bring them together, an issue which he believes is foremost on the island.

"If I walk into a courtroom and another attorney is trying to annihilate me, he's using facts, law and persuasion. He's doing his job," said the 61-year-old attorney. "But we can leave and be friends. It should be no different in city government."

Recker says one motivating experience in his decision to run was when he took his 13-year-old son, Mac, to a City Council meeting several months ago. He realized the tenor of debate there was unsuitable for his child to listen to.

File photo
Frank Recker, October 2007, said fostering better political compromise between the Marco Island's opposing groups, bringing more residents into an active role with city government, were his priorities. Recker is the current vice chairman and may be re-elected Monday, March 16, 2009.

Photo by LESLIE WILLIAMS HALE, Eagle staff

File photo Frank Recker, October 2007, said fostering better political compromise between the Marco Island's opposing groups, bringing more residents into an active role with city government, were his priorities. Recker is the current vice chairman and may be re-elected Monday, March 16, 2009.

"I was embarrassed," he explained. "I didn't want my son — whom I've always encouraged to get involved in student government — I didn't want my son to see what he was seeing."

Mac is Recker's only child still living at home. Recker and wife, Saundra, together have six grown children from previous marriages. They have lived in Marco full-time since 1997.

Recker says that experience was a defining one in how he is shaping his candidacy. Despite the cat calls and booing he witnessed that evening with his son, Recker says he sees the potential in Marco Island's city government for people to come together in an environment of shared respect, creating the kind of exchange between people and elected leaders that children and grandchildren could be proudly exposed to.

"My biggest issue is you can't solve problems in an environment where you have to duck all of the time," he said. "Who's going to stand up and say, 'Let's talk. Let's all return to civility, calmness, rational discussion?' "

Recker comes from a background of two seemingly incongruous professions. However, he says his professional experiences have lent him an ability to bridge gaps between human emotion and logic.

Recker made the jump from dentistry to law in 1986, after attending night school and practicing both part-time for a number of years.

"People come in a wide spectrum of sizes, shapes and perceptions of the world. What one person sees as black, another person will see as white," he stated. "You learn a lot about people in dentistry. Law is less concerned with people's feelings as opposed to facts and what the law is. You can blend the reality of knowing that a person can see things, which they believe to be factual, with what one person can see is the opposite color ... bring them to a common perception."

Recker now specializes in medical licensing law. He also comes from a background of diverse board and committee positions. He served on the Ohio State Dental Board from 1979 to 1985, sat on the board of directors for the Marco Island Civic Association from 2000 to 2003, and the board of directors for Marco Community Bank from 2004 to 2007 and served as the Vice Mayor of Madeira, Ohio from 1991 to 1995, to name a few positions.

Recker says Madeira was like Marco in both size, population and organization of city government, with a city charter and police and fire departments.

As president of the Marco Island Marina Association from 2002 through 2005, Recker says he developed understanding for yet another segment of the population that he would not have otherwise.

"That taught me a lot about the interests of boaters — their concerns, what they want, what their perceptions and concerns are," he explained. "It's another area of exposure that directly relates to people on the island: the boaters. Some people could care less about boats. Other people live only for that."

Issue number two on Recker's agenda is the Septic Tank Replacement Program, which may be the item that decides January's election.

"I believe that if you went to every person on this island and said, 'Would you rather flush your waste to a treatment center or have it on your property?' there's no one that's going to prefer septic," he said. "What most of us would say is, 'I don't want disruption in my life, I don't want the noise.' "

While he says he recognizes how contentious the issue is, he believes that if the city does not act now to replace septic tanks, a higher agency will make it a mandate at some point in the future where the cost will be much greater to residents.

Recker himself is currently on septic, and just recently signed his 20-year lock-in agreement.

"I'd rather bite the bullet and deal now rather than have my kids or my grandkids deal with it," said Recker. "I'm convinced that a government entity in the near future is going to tell us this must be done."

Part of Recker's platform advocates finding a way to reduce the financial burden and disruption for residents. He says he would like to explore new options, such as splitting up assessment districts into smaller chunks or more effectively lobbying the Florida Legislature for financial assistance.

"Let's just accept reality," he proposed. "Let's just accept it collectively and figure out the best way we can do this with the least amount of pain."

Education and recreation for the island's children is another concern of Recker's, and he emphasizes the need for greater returns from the Collier County Board of Education on the property tax dollars it receives from Marco Island. He also proposes the retention of board of education-owned Tract K on the island as a site for educational or recreational opportunities.

For the most part, Recker is reserved in his appraisal of the current City Council and city staff. He says he is not personally familiar with any of the current council members.

"Unlike some people, I don't think there's one person on this City Council who hasn't worked hard to accomplish what they thought was right," added Recker.

However, he said, he does believe the council needs to set more clear ground rules for exchanges between residents and council members.

"If I bring my child there and he witnesses cat calls, booing and negativity, who controls that environment?" he asked. "I don't see (council) exerting that control."

Meanwhile, he explained, when he looks at past appraisals of City Manager Bill Moss by the council, he sees a city manager who is very capable in the eyes of his council.

"I can't personally criticize someone I have never worked with. I have never been his boss," he answered when asked his opinion of Moss. "I do find a disconnect between 10 years of (positive) council evaluation and those who are somehow anti-city management."

Referencing attempts by political action committee Preserve Our Paradise to subject the city manager's job to a voter referendum, Recker says that while he doesn't support that avenue, he does see value in setting up a citizen committee to evaluate senior city management.

"The point of a committee would be at the grassroots," he added. "That viewpoint is probably not available to council."

Though there has been much conflict in the city's 10-year history, the city and its leaders have accomplished much according to Recker.

"They've had to address within 10 years time the 30-plus years of neglect by Collier County," he stated. "So consider the tiny window of time within which our councils have had to work. They have done a great job."

Now, he said, the city simply has to find a way to return to a level of political debate that embraces tolerance for opposing viewpoints and fosters participation from all sides.

"Let's all be friends," he concluded when asked what his ultimate message is to voters. "Let's all respect each other. Let's all move forward together. I don't think that's pie in the sky. I really don't."

© 2007 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 19

tptcolumbusway writes:

Mr. Recker, welcome to the race. The single biggest issue facing Marco Island is honesty and accuracy in government. Many people on this island have been deceived by the City Manager and the disingenuous city council. Your statement that sewers will be mandated by the state is simply false. Have you asked many people on this island if they prefer septic to sewer? It is clear you have not.

I recommend that you support some of your rhetoric with fact. Have you been following the news with what has been happening on Sanibel and sewers? The mayor states that the pollution in the water is from failing sewer treatment facilities not septic tanks. I have written to the city council many times about septic tank monitoring. I have never had one reply form them. You are traveling down the same path as the current council. "I think I am right, therefore I am right". I don't know if you are as arrogant as Minozzi, Trotta, DiSculio Tucker and Popoff, but you sound like you are pontificating from the same throne.

You talk of bringing consensus building to the decision making process on Marco, except on this one issue you are going to impose on the people. I don't know what letters to the editor you are reading, but the majority of the ones I have read are not in support of sewers.

Hawke1 writes:

Welcome to the race Mr. Recker. A piece of advice. Stop talking down to the people you want to support you. We do not require lectures from someone that makes unsupportable statements and has little knowledge of what this City is going through. I refer to your statement about a "higher agency mandating it." If you want to be creditable then stop with the rhetorical statements. You want to "accept reality" then accept the fact that the State and County have no money to give us. In case you haven't heard the state is mandating revenue reductions. State education is also about to take 1 to 1.5 billion dollar hit. I doubt very much that a city that has exhibited such heavy spending during the past two years will be taken seriously when asking for money. You claim the city simply "has to find a way to return to a level of political debate that embraces tolerance for opposing viewpoints and fosters participation from all sides", I share that observation. Unfortunatly you go one step further and imply that it is our citizens in attendance at our council meetings that are out of line and not the council that ignores them shows a lack of sincerity. We do not want another politician that intends to beat down their opponents with a gavel but one who is willing to listen and work for concensus prior to imposing financial burdens. Work on your interviews Mr. Rector, stop with the ego trip, you will be more likeable.

lauralbi1 writes:

Asbestos Fiasco??????????????????? That was a Totally Politically motivated issue that was perpetuated by Ed Foster and Butch Neylon. It cost the Taxpayers of Marco Island over $300,000 and should never have been an issue in the first place. It was, in fact, a non-issue and always has been. The only thing that made it a fiasco were those that had, and still have, alterior motives.
If you have any doubts, read all the evidence and read all the depositions and read the Court documents. Oh, that's right, evidence means nothing to you.
Ed Issler

lauralbi1 writes:

MY GOSH, A CANDIDATE THAT HAS ACTUALLY LIVED ON MARCO ISLAND FOR AT LEAST TEN YEARS AND HAS A CIVIC LEADERSHIP BACKGROUND !!!!!!!!!!!!!! What are we to do when we can choose candidates that have no leadership background, have done nothing positive for our City and candidates that have not lived here at all as permanent residents or have been here less than 2 or 3 years and cost us taxpayers bunches of money for their "pleasure". Boy, that is a tough decision.
Ed Issler

tptcolumbusway writes:

Mr. Issler, can you be serious? The asbestos issue was about looking out for the public's best interest. Would you have been satisfied if some one was injured or made ill by the mishandling of a hazardous substance not to mention that the handling of the asbestos was not done in compliance with state and federal laws? You speak of the dollars wasted on the response to the opposition of many of the islands ongoing unnecessary capital improvement projects. Yet you do not address why all of these projects are under way. The millions that are being spent on unnecessary infrastructure is for one purpose, to allow for an expansion of the real estate boom. Mr. Issler, stop with the acrimony, character attacks and the rhetoric. No correlation exists between time spent here as a full time resident and common sense, honesty, integrity and fiscal responsibility. Four of the candidates, (we don’t know enough about the fifth yet), have integrity, common sense, have worked very hard to educate themselves on the issues facing this island and vowed to be fiscally responsible. I appreciate their willingness to serve and work for my future and the future of paradise. I suggest you consult with the US Constitution in particular get familiar with the first and second amendments. If you don't know what they are you can Google "US Constitution" and get a copy that way.

JohninMarco writes:

Just what Marco needs, another person who doesn't get it. Where is all the money coming from? Can anyone take a ride around the city and see all the for sale signs. Even the city manager and police chief are trying to get out.

Lolala writes:

Leadership? I have seen no evidence of leadership put forward by this candidate. Being a member of a civic association is not evidence of leadership. What is a vice Mayor? Is that the fellow that makes the coffee for the Mayor? You would think Issler would know that a Colonel in the Air Force doesn't need to give further evidence of his leadership skills. You would think that the owner of a successful firm that employes hundreds of employees would not have to prove anything to Issler, You would think that a Federal Employee that supervised hundreds of employees and implemented policy that impacted on the lives of thousands would not have to prove anything to Mr. Issler. But then with the limited work experience that Issler has, what is one to expect?

MarcoNo1 writes:

Dear mr Columbus,
Just to get some facts straight, the Sanibel situation is not about the City's central sewers. It is about private systems, including septic, that are not meeting federal and state guidelines. WINK has done several reports on this subject should you care to take the time to check out. Since I know you and your favored four candiates would never knowingly be dishonest, selectivly use facts out of context, or misinform; something else must be at play out of your control. Makes you wonder what would happen if the Sunshine Laws covered the workings of those on the outside of the process too.

Lolala, be careful with your objectivity and definition of "leadership" here. It would be nice to let the man present his qualifications himself and be given more than one article to do so. It is interesting how much fervor just one new face has added to the debate. Could it be that another voice not solidly in the "Anti-STRP' camp is raising the uncomfortable possibility of not getting a four vote majority?

Back to qualifications, if one was to look at the "Gang of Four" (sorry, couldn't resist) candidiates I would suspect you could build just as superficially daming case as Lolala just did with this candidiate.

Sad to say the dominance of the partisans on this message Board doesn't allow for much debate of the issues and facts. Attacking peoples background, credibility, motives, time on the island, etc. is so much faster and easier. What passes for constructive debate has degenerated into a few people shouting at others and agreeing with themselves. Based on that, these Boards can hardly be relied upon to accurately gauge the majority opinion, however unconfortable that may be to some. You may be hearing your own echos and confusing that with a crowd. Let's not forget that 80% of the island is already on the sewer system and they want to be represented too. So the process will unfold, let's just hope we can get beyond the posturing and pontificating and try and raise the bar a little this time around. It has been said many times, you get the type of representation you deserve.

15yearsmarco writes:


80% of the island may be on sewer but the part that is not are single family homes where most of the year round residents live. How do you think the people living in the districts that are now on sewer are going to vote after being forced on the sewer system? Condos were already on sewer but very few are year round residents compared with single family homes.
I do agree that it should not matter how long someone has lived here to run for office, you are ether a resident or you are not, something Ed Issler does not understand.

Lolala writes:

Several condos in one building are owned by one landlord, others are owned by investors, most are empty during the summer months. Some are owned as investments by signle family homeowners on the island (I am one but I only get one vote). Few are homesteaded. Even fewer are owned by registered voters. That is not the case with the majority of our single family homes. Even the snow birds that own them have established residency requirements and are homesteaded. Because their property is their home, they participated in the election process. There are 2,000 to 2,500 registered voters that have taken action to sign petitions attempting to change the course of our current government. I wonder how many of those 2,000 to 2,500 are going to vote for Allen, Batte, Hall and Neylon? Many more residents have been exposed to gas, roadwork, unrelenting noise, water outages and general hardship during the past year. I wonder how many of those will vote for Allen, Batte, Hall and Neylon? We will find out soon enough. I wonder how many registered voters will stay home not vote at all?

EdFoster writes:


You are either the most s----- or most ignorant man on this island. You say that the asbestos issue "was perpetuated by Ed Foster and Butch Neylon ... and cost the Taxpayers of Marco Island over $300,000." Neither Butch nor I crushed asbestos; we didn't mishandle it; we didn't hide it; we discovered it (or rather, Butch and Roger Hall discovered it). The city denied everything until the evidence was so overwhelming that even the FDEP had to insist that the place be cleaned up. The cost should have been on Quality Enterprises shoulders but our city manager took responsibility on the city - for one cleanup after the next until more than 4 feet of soil had been removed from Site C.

You say: "If you have any doubts, read all the evidence and read all the depositions and read the Court documents." Issler, it is you, not the citizens of Marco Island for whom "evidence means nothing." I was at the depositions; you were not. You haven't read them because the city has refused to release them although that was part of the mediation agreement. If you had read them, you would have learned that the QE's on-site manager had absolutely no experience handling asbestos, nor did any of his workers (a clear violation of federal regulations) until CARES discovered it. You would learn that Rony Joel claimed not to be able to distinguish between asbestos pipe and concrete pipe.

Had you attended the mediation, you would have known that CARES' demands were entirely pro-city: that QE undertake the full cost of the cleanup; that QE cover all the city's legal exenses; that QE also cover CARES asbestos-related legal expenses; that QE indemnify the city against future legal expenses and claims that might arise because of the contamination; and that QE contribute $250,000 towards the development of Veterans' Park. Most of these "demands" were no more than our insistance that QE fulfill its written contract; I viewed the Park contribution as a "fine" for misbehavior and gave Mr. Enman authority to negotiate the exact amount.

In the mediation, Marco's City Manager argued against CARES and on behalf of Quality Enterprises. He did not insist they fulfill their contract; he did not insist that they pay to cleanup Site C or to pay the city's legal expenses; and, he did not ask QE to indemnify the city against future liability for possible health issues. If you want to know who cost the city $300,000 (if that is the correct amount), his name is A. William Moss, not Butch Neylon, not Ed Foster and not CARES, Inc.

You suggest people read the "court documents." Issler, the matter never made it to court so there are no "court documents." Had I been permitted into the mediation (the mediator threatened to slap CARES and me with sanctions if I so much as set foot into the building), I would not have signed the agreement and the matter would have gone to court. When the mediation document was signed by my deputy, I resigned as Chairman of CARES.

Ed Foster

pepsipattyfl writes:

Oh no!! Another one who just doesn't understand the current climate on Marco. Everyone will "make nice" when we are allowed to VOTE on the STRP. Then perhaps we can move on. The current problems are just the tip of the iceburg. Just wait until we go bankrupt!

waterday writes:

Do we really need another attorney elected to City Council, we have seen how arrogant the one elected has been. He communicates so well,he must have confused himself with God. I would like to see councilors that listen to the local residents who live here and do what the majority of voters that have put them in office want done on this island. Think hard and really look at all candidates this year when you vote, if you truly want your voice to be heard. We need to be much more careful when selecting the councilors who decide our fate on this island.

exposed writes:

Another one being groomed by the Dark-Side.

Oracle writes:

Mr. Recker has made a living attacking his opponents "another attorney is trying to annihilate me, he's using facts, law and persuasion. He's doing his job," He has been very successful at spinning the facts, the essence of a successful mal practice attorney. He announces his candidacy with scare tactics about septics: "I'm convinced that a government entity in the near future is going to tell us this must be done (central sewers)." When, in fact, there isn't any govenmental agency that is even comtemplating this legislation. Do we want another attorney spinning the facts trying to anihilate the citizens that are opposed to his agenda? Another Tucker! Wasn't one attorney enough?

Avenger writes:

Saw both Dr. Guidry and Mr. Recker on this Wink Newscast:

Mr. Recker has been well trained by the “blame everything on malcontents” gang. Check out the article and video. He disputes the validity of Dr. Guidry’s data, and laments all the negativity on Marco, which is being “caused by a handful.” I’d rather have Dr. Guidry on council—he’s trying to help people.

Oracle writes:

Mr. Recker displays his intolerance for opposing views in the above link. Rather than accept there may be a problem he procliams a conspiricy by a few mal contents. Another Tucker clone. I wonder if he has photographic evidence to prove it.

Vote for people that care about our citizens, Dr. Guidry, Batte, Hall and Neylon.

waterday writes:

Dr. Guidry, Batte, Hall and Neylon .. you definitely (at the moment) have my vote. Good Luck with your council seats. I believe you will all four prevail as Marco Island has started to see the sunshine. It is what it is. I am certain that we do not need another attorney for dictatorship. Recker, Tucker.. hmmm both attorneys.

EdFoster writes:

Gentlemen, gentlemen:

Please show Mr. Frank Recker, DDS, Esq. the respect he deserves. After all, he did attend ONE council meeting before jumping into the race. And he was on the MICA board where the good Bill Trotter, PhD, and his estimable wife Beverly could convince him to run for city council, defend the reputation of those who came before him and save the STRP. (Drum roll, please!)

If those aren't reasons why not to vote for him, I don't know what are! Whoops! I take that back. The quotes in the article show him to be a pompous pseudo-philosopher who can't tell black from white, fact from fiction, truth from falsehood, and is proud of it. The consummate lawyer! Those are the real reasons to reject him at the polls.

Ed Foster

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