'Daily NewsMakers with Jeff Lytle' Outgoing Collier County commissioner; new chairman of Estero Council of Community Leaders; and chief of new regional VA clinic in Cape Coral

Outgoing Collier County Commissioner Jim Coletta, the new chairman of the Estero Council of Community Leaders and the chief of the new regional VA clinic in Cape Coral are guests on this week’s “Naples Daily NewsMakers with Jeff Lytle” program on ABC7 this morning at 10.

Coletta is asked what difference his likely successor, Tim Nance, will make on strained relations on the board.

Nick Batos of Estero sizes up problems in Lee County government.

Keith Neeley previews what the VA upgrade will mean for local veterans.

Video highlights will be posted Monday at naplesnews.com/newsmakers.

Here are excerpts:

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Collier County Commissioner Jim Coletta on NewsMakers 10-21-12.

Collier County Commissioner Jim Coletta on NewsMakers 10-21-12.

JIM COLETTA

Lytle: Let’s talk straight here.

Coletta: Sure.

Lytle: What’s the deal with this Ian Mitchell thing in the county commissioners’ office ... what has him ticked off? Why does he want to leave? Bottom line.

Coletta: Well, there was David Jackson, now Ian Mitchell and probably Penny Phillippi (from the Immokalee redevelopment effort) will follow, and numerous other people there. There’s some sort of witch hunt that’s taking place on the part of Commissioner Georgia Hiller. And her ultimate goal is to replace all these people with some people that may be more friendly to her. That’s the only thing I can suppose.

It has been an unrelenting — what do you want to call it? — a purge that’s been taking place. I mean the amount of work she keeps heaping on these people, the demand for records. It’s just unending. And they serve no purpose other than to tie up staff.

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Nick Batos, New President, Estero Council of Community Leaders on NewsMakers 10-21-12.

Nick Batos, New President, Estero Council of Community Leaders on NewsMakers 10-21-12.

NICK BATOS

Lytle: You have a lot of retired business expertise in your organization. Can you bring anything to the table in terms of guidance or clarity or not avoiding this mistake again, like we see for VR Laboratories. That must make some of you guys crazy.

Batos: It does. We have been working with the county and the Horizon Council.

Lytle: Yes, you have.

Batos: We have within our own communities probably 150 people who have volunteered their time and are retired executives who have enormous amount of experience. And they volunteer their time and expertise to help the county find the right way of bringing in the right people.

Lytle: And they have great contacts.

Batos: Yes, they do. And a lot of them are still involved on boards and corporate structures. I feel confident that if the county is willing to work with them, they will be helpful in bringing in the right kind of companies to help diversify our economy.

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Keith Neeley, New VA Clinic in Cape Coral, on NewsMakers 10-21-12.

Keith Neeley, New VA Clinic in Cape Coral, on NewsMakers 10-21-12.

KEITH NEELEY

Lytle: Will (the new VA clinic) cut down on the wait time for services if I’m a veteran in Naples, for example, or Fort Myers? Can I get service more quickly in this new facility?

Neeley: Well, let me first say that our wait times here are some of the best in the health-care system when you consider this clinic as part of the Bay Pines Health Care System. In Naples, Port Charlotte and Sebring, in the area that will be served by this new clinic, our wait times are in good shape. But the short answer to your question is yes. Our wait times will continue to improve ... .

Lytle: And I can get more services locally without going to St. Petersburg.

Neeley: Right. I think that’s an important component too, because we will open the opportunity for no more trips to Bay Pines VA Hospital in St. Petersburg for some of the things that will be able to be done at this facility.

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