Gateway Sun

When you get your water bill, do you ever open it up and search inside the envelope hoping there’s an autographed picture of Supervisor Gary Neubauer inside?

Surely that can’t be just me, right?

Anyway, we continue with our Supervisor “report cards” for the first half of 2015. The next time we’ll hear from the Supervisors will be at the July 9, 2015 GSCDD meeting so it’s a good time to reflect on the the work they’ve done for us so far this year.

Today is Seat #2, Gary Neubauer and I remind you that these report cards are purely subjective and my own opinions.

Gary Neubauer: B+

Neubauer was difficult to peg when I first started paying attention to the GSCDD. He was only marginally responsive to my inquiries and for a very brief period Neubauer seemed to be swayed by another Supervisor’s opinions that the costs of the Sherman Soccer Complex outweighed the community benefit and therefore the soccer fields’ existence should be questioned.

That didn’t last long.

Neubauer changed course suddenly and rapidly, even declaring that serving the residents was the “most important thing we do” and from then on he has been supportive of the community’s amenities.

He was in favor of hiring a Recreation Manager but only if he knew what the job description would be before the hiring was authorized. Three other Supervisors decided that the job description could be written up as part of the hiring process, but that wasn’t good enough for Neubauer. He held his ground and voted against the hiring based on the fact the job description wasn’t pre-set.

It was obvious to everyone in the room that three Supervisors were going to vote in favor of the hiring meaning the motion would pass, and while Neubauer could have gotten on board with the “winning” side he stuck to his guns and voted no based on his principal.

Generally, I’m in favor of the Recreation Manager (although I want a sales-focused role while the GSCDD is looking at a facilities management role) so I didn’t agree with Neubauer’s vote – but he scored major points for voting against the grain because he felt it was the right thing to do.

Neubauer has consistently showed annoyance with the GSCDD – board, staff and management company – for the way things are always delayed. When the Tetra Tech engineering contract was fowled up in February because not enough notice was given for bidding he wondered how that was even possible. He was an important part of the GSCDD’s new approach to consistently reviewing the timing of upcoming contract so nothing is able to slip by the group in the future.

With Mainscape it was a bit of a different scenario. While the awarding of the landscaping contract was also delayed, it was the fact that Mainscape’s bid cost more money than the Luke Brothers Inc bid that caught Neubauer’s (and everyone else’s) attention. Neubauer pressed the Landscape Advisory Committee and GSCDD staff for an answer as to why they’d pick a more expensive bidder. People danced around with answers, and even though he didn’t seem satisfied with the reasoning he was given Neubauer relented and voted in favor of the Mainscape recommendation. It probably wasn’t his proudest moment as a Supervisor but at the time there was a general feeling of just moving on from the topic.

Two areas where Neubauer’s opinions were aligned with ours were on the cost of the staff’s health insurance plan and the ridiculous idea that briefly came forth about a $57,900 GSCDD newsletter. As we chronicled, the newsletter thing should have never made it to a board discussion – but it did and Neubauer slammed it. As for the insurance, even from the outset Neubauer hasn’t been comfortable with it and has seemingly been biding his time for another opportunity to do something about it. Fortunately for Neubauer (and all residents) that opportunity will be on July 9.

During the Royal Palm tree debate Neubauer mostly stayed quiet until the end. Once the final three proposals for the trees were presented, then Neubauer sprang in to action trying to combine the best elements of two separate plans. His ideas made a lot of sense to me but the fact was the fate of the trees had already been decided by others and Neubauer was wasting his breath trying to change minds. Neubauer was getting bulldozed in the meeting, despite probably having the better idea, and he seemed to sense it and eventually quit trying to convince anyone and he simply voted with the other Supervisors.

The moment I enjoyed most from Neubauer was at the June 4, 2015 meeting where he basically said enough is enough with the GSCDD’s apparent apathy and systemic underperformance for the residents. He demanded the GSCDD staff prepare a comprehensive report of all district projects and outline the mistakes that have been made, and highlight the future plans for those projects. It really symbolized what I feel is a bit of a turning point for the GSCDD.

More than any other Supervisor, based on what I’ve seen, when Neubauer speaks you can tell he’s thinking two steps ahead. So of all the Supervisors it will be Neubauer who I’m most interested to watch on July 9, 2015 when Joe DeCerbo’s HR audit/How Joe Would Save Gateway report will be discussed by the Board.

Neubauer is the GSCDD’s longest serving board member. He was elected to Seat #2 in the 2008 election squeaking by Ed Tinkle, and then also beating Vince Sardo, Joseph D’Elia and Patty Yennish by a wide margin. Neubauer ran unopposed in 2012.

If he chooses to run again in November 2016 it will be his third term. I’d have to wait to see who would run against him, but right now I’d have no problem recommending people vote for Neubauer again – especially if he keeps up the recent determination he’s shown to get the GSCDD to improve itself.

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The next Supervisor report card will be Seat #3, Pamela Gill which we will publish on Saturday, June 27, 2015.

About Jeff Kuntz

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Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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