NEWS

Harvey, Giganti talk about issues at DFCD public forum

Annie Blanks | 315-4450 | @DestinLogAnnie | ablanks@thedestinlog.com

Two of the four candidates for Destin Fire Control District seats 2 and 4 participated in a public forum Thursday night at the DestinCommunity Center.

The forum was hosted by Steve Menchel and sponsored by National Active and Retired Federal Employees. Harvey and Giganti’s opponents, incumbents Rick Moore and Tommy Green, respectively, opted out of participating in the forum at the advice of district lawyers, though they were present in the audience.

Menchel opened the forum with a harsh rebuke for the incumbents, stating that in any of the public forums he’s hosted, “This is the first time that candidates have ever refused to participate."

The district lawyers cited “potential public perception of Sunshine Law violations” as well as ongoing collective bargaining negotiations as the reasons for Moore and Green not to participate.

After Menchel’s rebuke, the rest of the forum went to Harvey and Giganti, who spoke about their respective experiences in management and military and laid out their plans for repairing the embattled DFCD.

Giganti, an Air Force veteran, focused heavily on a strategic overhaul of current DFCD procedures, including imposing term limits on commissioners, reworking the pension plan and “involving all input at multiple levels” to resolve disputes, among other things.

“You get things done through an amalgamation of all ideas to achieve a common goal,” Giganti said. “When you think about different things, you have to analyze the problem that you have and how it’s going to affect everything that’s around you.”

Harvey cited his 30-plus years of budgeting experience with UPS, talked about developing and implementing a five-year plan and focused heavily on morale reform within the fire department. He laid out plans to allocate more resources to provide for first responders, including new vehicles and equipment, while being transparent and fiscally conservative with taxpayer funds.

“I have 38 years of budget experience,” Harvey said. “I’m the best candidate based on my decisions, my recommendations and my business experience in my career at UPS.”

Early voting begins Monday, October 24 and the general election is Tuesday, November 8.