Punta Gorda salutes city councilmen
PUNTA GORDA — City Councilmen Harvey Goldberg and Charles Wallace, who leave office Nov. 7 after six years on the council, were praised for their support for downtown businesses and fostering partnerships to accomplish many premier projects, during a council send-off Wednesday.
“It was a strange feeling this morning getting up and getting dressed — and realizing this would be my last (full) council meeting,” said Goldberg, a retired AT&T executive who served as mayor or vice mayor through most of his tenure. “It’s been a humble honor and a privilege to serve this city as a member of this council.
“We have accomplished a great deal,” he added.
Both he and Wallace first won their District 4 and 1 seats, respectively, in 2006, after serving on Team Punta Gorda. Team had been formed to spur recovery from Hurricane Charley.
Since then, the city completed Laishley Park Marina, the Herald Court Centre and several Harborwalk and Linear Park segments. All this despite a frustrating economic downturn.
Goldberg attributed those accomplishments not just to city organizations, but also to caring individuals who contribute through nonprofit groups.
“It’s been a collective effort,” he said.
Mayor Bill Albers called serving with Wallace and Goldberg an “extreme pleasure.” The period was one of “unprecedented continuity” in council makeup, he noted.
“This is a council to be proud of,” added Ray Rose, a Punta Gorda Isles Civic Association board member. He praised Wallace for bringing the concerns of the “city center” to the council’s attention.
Wallace, a historic district resident, moved here from Naples to start River City Grill on Marion Avenue in 2002.
He also served as the city’s liaison to such groups as the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, New Operation Cooper Street, and the Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies, Albers noted.
Albers described Goldberg as “without a doubt the most enthusiastic and dedicated council member that has ever served.”
Goldberg served as the council’s ambassador to the Charlotte County Airport Authority, the Charlotte Metropolitan Planning Organization and Main Street Punta Gorda.
Patti Allen, general manager of Fishermen’s Village, became choked with emotion during her remarks about Goldberg.
“You are a mentor, Harvey, to me,” she said.
Ed Wotitzky, an attorney who was born in Punta Gorda, praised the two council members for fostering downtown business without sacrificing the district’s “down-home character.” That keeps the city attractive to “quality businesses,” he said.
get top marks
Also Wednesday, the council ratified its annual evaluations of City Manager Howard Kunik and City Clerk Sue
Foster. Both were given performance ratings
near the very top of the scale. Kunik averaged
37.5 points and Foster 38.9 points, on a scale with 40 being the maximum possible.
Kunik exhibits “extremely strong leadership,” noted Councilman Harvey Goldberg, who was the only council member to give Kunik “exceptional” scores in every category. He cited the manager’s strategic-planning and budget-vetting processes.
Kunik also “emphasizes partnerships” involving such groups as area chambers of commerce and economic councils, Goldberg wrote.
“Sue’s leadership fosters a friendly, helpful and efficient operation,” wrote Albers, the only council member to give Foster all perfect scores. “I frequently receive compliments on the way she does her job.”
Kunik earns $129,068, and Foster $81,896. Neither has had a raise in five years, just like all other employees, according to city officials.