MARCO ISLAND — While the electorate is in the middle of one election, another is occupying the thoughts of some on the island. On Nov. 6, in addition to selecting the President, a U.S. Senator, and many other races, Marco Island voters will elect four City Council members from a pool of nine candidates.
The nine, including three incumbents, all qualified by submitting 126 valid petition signatures, representing one percent of the vote tally in the last general election, in addition to a 10 cent per signature verification charge, and a $60 filing fee to the Supervisor of Elections, making the cost to run for the Marco Island City Council a minimum of $72.60.
Each winning candidate will serve a four-year term, with elections staggered so four or five seats are open every two years. After two terms, councilors are term-limited; Dr. Bill Trotter, an incumbent, is not able to run again, so his seat is open in November.
In upcoming issues, the Marco Eagle will spotlight each of the candidates with a brief bio, plus why, in their words, they want to be on the council and why the voters should want them there. Each candidate was asked, via email, the same list of questions, to ensure a level playing field. Today, we present the first three profiles. Look for the next three profiles next Friday.
Larry Sacher is perhaps best known to Marco Islanders as president of the Marco Island Property Owners, which he co-founded. With Judy, his wife of 42 years, he has been a full-time resident of Marco Island for 12 years, and part-time for 20-plus years.
Formerly from Ohio, Sacher has extensive experience in financial planning and personnel management, serving as lead executive for a $55 Billion financial services organization prior to retirement.
The number one issue facing Marco Island and the City Council, said Sacher, is "the vision and direction of Marco Island's future – tourist attraction or stay true to the Mackle Brothers/Deltona vision." Additional key questions, he said, involve spending issues from utilities to the Mackle Community Center and the Smokehouse Bay Bridge.
Sacher was compelled to run, he said, by what he saw as "how dysfunctional our city government is, the lack of transparency, and over-the-top spending." He is troubled by the "apparent disconnect between Council and residents."
Why should Marco voters elect him to the City Council?
"Because I have the business, financial, and management experience to oversee an enterprise with a $20,000,000-plus operating budget and a $26,000,000-plus operating budget for Marco Utilities," said Sacher. "Furthermore, I've demonstrated by commitment to improving Marco through both my activities in the Marco Island Property Owners as well as getting an in-depth understanding of Marco issues by constant attendance at meetings."
Sacher is also a patron of the Marco Eagle Sanctuary Foundation, and member of the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island, Marco Men's Club, Marco Police Foundation, the Marco Bay Yacht Club, and Marco Island Country Club. He has a website, www.larrysacherforcitycouncil.com.
Frank Recker has both DDS and JD after his name. He combines the two in his professional life, engaged in the full-time practice of law representing dentists and dental organizations nationwide.
Recker is a current incumbent city councilor, where he has served as both chairman and vice-chairman, elected to the posts by his peers on the council. With his wife Sandy, he has been a permanent resident of Marco Island for 15 years, moving here from Ohio.
Looking ahead, Recker anticipates a greater focus on infrastructure and growth management.
"The present Council has been fiscally prudent, and that is a matter of public record," said Recker. "Our spending CAP, although the only one in the State of Florida, is workable and has proven to be a deterrent to unnecessary spending. Any anticipated expenditure requiring large amounts of money, such as a new park and recreation building, should be decided by referendum, but only after all the facts and options have been publicly discussed and analyzed."
Why should Marco voters retain Frank Recker on the City Council?
"I think voters only need to review my voting record, and consider my unwavering penchant for governmental transparency, a reduction in government regulations, and my propensity to ask tough questions and then come to my own conclusions, regardless of any single voter or special interest citizen group," said Recker.
In addition to Marco's City Council, Recker has served as vice mayor and city councilor for Madiera, Ohio, president of the Marco Island Marina Association and the San Marco Residences Condominium Association, on the board of directors of MICA and Marco Community Bank, and is a member of the Marco Police Foundation.
"I have attended more council meetings than the incumbents," said Ken Honecker, who is a regular at city meetings. With his wife Diane, who works for the Marco Eagle, he has been a full-time resident of Marco Island for 11 years, coming from Maryland and New Jersey prior to moving here.
Honecker served as chairman of the Marco Island Utilities Advisory Board, as well as the city's Ad Hoc Utility Advisory Committee and the Ad Hoc Rental Housing Committee. He is something of an expert on water and sewer-related issues, and has engaged City Council members in passionate technical debates about how utility rates are calculated and assessed.
Professionally, Honecker has a background in finance, acting as controller for a commercial refrigeration business, with experience as an engineer and project manager for the U.S. Navy. Along with his years of involvement in city government, he said this eye on the bottom line, along with a desire to make government more responsive to the people it serves, is why he has chosen to run for elected office.
Honecker is running for City Council, he said, because "the Council does not listen to the citizens." He sees the major issues facing the city and the council as STRP district financing, development of the downtown district, and balanced growth.
Why should the citizens of Marco Island elect Ken Honecker to represent their interests on the City Council?"I have a background in project management and finance," said Honecker. "I have attended more council meetings than the incumbents. I will listen to the people and not the special interests. I am ready to start the job on day one."