This past week has been a whirlwind of activity for Trish Pfeiffer. No sooner had she won her campaign this past Tuesday, April 1, to succeed Wayne Lewis on the city commission, she jetted off to Washington, D.C., along with the other members of Leadership Bartow Class XV. Regardless, Pfeiffer, who at this point appears to be indefatigable, said she is ready to begin readying herself when she is sworn into office on May 5.
There were several areas of concern Pfeiffer focused upon as she campaigned. While a number of them were issues of which she was already aware, in some instances it was the matter of degree to how far her knowledge extended.
“When you’re running for office, you’re hit with so many aspects,” Pfeiffer said, speaking from the nation’s capital. It is not possible to be totally proficient on each and every issue. She is confident that will change now that campaigning is over. “Now I can immerse myself and bring “things to the table with conversations about matters.”
She commented upon one of them on election night after it became official she had won the race. One of the first areas she said she would focus upon was the study being conducted on city employee pay.
“This was the top issue I heard repeatedly,” said Pfeiffer. “The pay structure I have heard so much much about, mostly from the employees.”
Toward that effort she said she will be getting together on Monday, April 7 with City Manager George A. Long. The city manager, she said, will explain to her what the process is that is going into the study.
“That’s partly how to educate myself,” she said on the issue. She added that she knows the city manager is not and does not want to drag out the issue of the pay study. However, among the concerns she was approached with on the study was the complaint by a number of employees who claimed they were not being kept abreast of any progress. In that regard, Pfeiffer felt better communication is needed.
Another key issue Pfeiffer would like to see resolved concerns the CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency). At this time it appears as though matters are stagnant, with little, if any, progress taking place. She attributed this in part to the lack of a director.
“At the last meeting, which I attended, that was not brought up and I was surprised it was not brought up,” she said.
Pfeiffer said she currently does not have a position either way in what structure the CRA should be. In many Florida communities, the CRA is a semi-autonomous body, while in other communities CRAs are composed of the town or city’s commissioners. Regardless the structure, something needs to be done.
“The CRA needs to go where it’s most productive,” she said. “It cannot have a board or commission that is not active.” To that she added her belief that the city commission needs to bring things to the CRA. Pfeiffer also said that when her mother, Mamie Clark-Burdin, headed the CRA, that while discussions could sometimes grow heated, at least it accomplished things. She cited several examples, such as the alignment of a particular street, plus street lamps going up in a number of neighborhoods.
One area in which she will be thrown into from the start once she is sworn into office is the matter of the budget for fiscal year 2014-15. It begins in May and June. While Pfeiffer expects she will be brought up to date by Long, she expects she will also be meeting with David Wright, the city’s finance director.