CARLESIMO COMES KNOCKING AT MY DOOR.
“Who’s that knocking on my door, who’s that knocking at my door….” Actually the door- bell rang and I opened it to find standing there, Emilio Carlesimo, accompanied by a nice, young tv reporter.
It is hard to know who jumped backward, startled, first, but Carlesimo did say, “Wrong number” or the equivalent. Since he was holding a petition-like document in his hand, I assumed he was gathering signatures for his ill-considered petition to have a referendum denying his fellow Council members the opportunity to purchase medical coverage in the City plan, or allowing them to do so at 102 percent of the cost to the City.
I asked, (perhaps rhetorically), “is this still necessary?” since Council acted last week to end free medical coverage for retirees and current council members if they serve long enough to retire, (state law calls for six years to vest in the retirement plan). In fact, granting the authority to set rates to the City, the costs for retirees as of January will be $200 for single coverage, $400 for coverage of spouse $ 621 for family coverage, according to the City Administrative Office. He said, “yes.” I left it there, (clearly he has the right to petition his government under the First Amendment, even if he is part of his government.)
Further, the City has agreed to have a seven member committee to make recommendations on compensation for Council Members, (including retirement, health, etc.) and then go on to review the City Charter and consider if changes are to be recommended. Carlesimo made an appointment of his choosing to that committee which should make recommendations on compensation to appear on the November ballot.
So why pursue a flawed referendum, which is, ludicrous in my mind, since it gives citizens a choice of not allowing council members to have insurance, or to charge them 102 percent of cost. There is no explanation about why citizens would want to punish the people they elected. The issue of free or low cost health coverage, begun more than a decade ago, has long since been rejected by the last two councils.
The only justification for Carlesimo’s efforts and the band of "strangers" who support him, is that he is looking for unthinking voters at the expense of his colleagues. Carlesimo, a former fireman in Detroit and Sarasota County, has not participated in the City plan, but assumedly has his retirement and health coverage paid for generously by taxpayers. He has not shared that information with the public.
(note: The writer did not participate in the City health or retirement plan and has no financial interest in this issue, only a long-standing interest in good and sensible government in Venice—keep hoping!)
Posted By Ed Martin at 7:42 PM in Category:Inside Venice
29 Jun 2011
I find it almost laughable that Carlesimo would not know that he was knocking on your door. Do you think that someone "set him up"?? At any rate, I would think the Gondolier would be interested in learning about his health and retirement benefits. But, even more important is that I can't figure out why he is making this such a big issue...............and why he has to prey on local citizens on this issue. He'll probably be able to easily get the 1,600 signatures because of the tenuous economy and the likely unsympathetic sentiments of the public at this time.
Surely, he has the right to pursue this referendum, but it makes little sense to me.
24 Jun 2011
Emilio is a very clever fellow. He retired here to Venice already collecting a Michigan fireman’s pension. Then, in his late 50s, he joined Sarasota EMS. Why they hired this high school graduate near senior citizen over younger, thus more fit, and better educated candidates I don’t know. Perhaps because he was active even then in promoting the Firefighters Union. I’ve heard that the Union threatened an age discrimination suit and the county caved in. Now if EMS is like the Sarasota Fire Department workers get vested in the pension plan after 10 years (at about half pay) and get to collect 25 years after they started the job. Emilio left EMS just after getting vested and, since he was over 65, didn’t have to wait 15 more years but started collecting his Florida EMS pension (along with his Michigan pension) right away. Consequently, his outrage over Venice city council health benefits is really amazing hypocrisy. But that’s why they call him “Amazing Emilio.”
24 Jun 2011
The point at issue which triggered our Committee petitions is the impropriaty, to say nothing of the illegality, of Council voting themselves benefits that belong more properly on a referendum ballot provided for voter input.
What took the biscuit was Council dragging their feet and eventually agreeing to pay $10 a month for health insurance. That was a mere sop to Cerberus. The Citizen input volunteered to me on this one is unprintale in a public forum...
We very nicely are not characterizing your accomplishments your pet projects, or your actions. It would be nice if you returned the
23 Jun 2011
You refer to his band of strangers, while you know full well I am one of them. Additionally another city resident and former advisory board member is also on this referendum committee. Emilio is only one member of 6 registered city voters on this committee, and he is neither a spokesman nor chairman,tresurer, or secretary.
It is something you seem to forget, citizens have rights even if you ridicule or make fun of it. About the charter review committee even you have made the comment its a stacked political group so how much justice do you think will come out of its decisions. Just because your hand picked defeated candidate for Mayor is on this elite committee what hopes have you have in its actions.
The publisher of the Gondo in his editorial considers an 80% vote in favor of the petitions passage, once it gets to the voters. It will get to the voters regardless of the roadblocks being thrown at the committee and the city attorney's actions in trying to sandbag it at every step. Don't you think that somebody that receives benefits from the health plan should refrain from trying to control and rule on the language allowed? This citizens referendum will be the first one ever, as stated by the city attorney. When this referendum is successful it will be a roadmap for other organizations to correct some wrongs which council lacks the will power to do.
Open you mind, Ed,keep remembering we aren't operating under what you think any longer but what is allowed for voters trying to change a benefit that should have always been a voter issue. If I were Emilio I would have offered you the opportunity to sign when you answered the door, care to sign mine I will come to the house so you can sign it?