EDITOR’S NOTE: The Santiva Chronicle publishes opinions and letters on topics that are important to Sanibel and Captiva. They may be submitted via our email contact form.
There are three reasons why I’m running for the Island Water Association Board. The first is I think they need a more technically experienced person on the board. Right now, none of the current board members are Engineers or do they have any manufacturing experience. I have a chemical engineering degree with a business degree, and I’ve worked in manufacturing for over 40 years. It’s very important when you’re making a product like water that you use up-to-date production methods. Things like Quality Systems and worker suggestions are key in today’s world of manufacturing.
The second reason is I think water should be treated as a resource not a commodity. It seems like now the water board is about making water and selling it to make money. I see water as a limited natural resource. We are impacting the aquifer in Florida. Water should be a resource that we use only as necessary. Wasting water by watering streets and Lawns while it’s raining and overuse by and large companies on our delicate Island is not good for our natural resource.
The third reason is the workers at Island Water Association are the most valuable asset that the company has. There are workers that have over 15 years of experience. They are the reason the IWA has maintained its excellence in the field and have won national awards. The workers have honed their skills by getting certification in important areas of water purification. Such things as certification on how to handle the dangerous chemicals and Hi-Tech maintenance.
The board has lost sight of what the workers contribute to the wellbeing and efficient use of the water processing system. Over the past year the Board has taken away health benefits and salary benefits that have significantly impacted the workers. These benefits have existed for over 15 years. Why would you want to impact the well-being of the worker and their families? The IWA operates below budget, they are in a strong financial position with millions of dollars in the bank, and there hasn’t been a water rate increase for over 20 years. It has become such an extreme situation that the workers decided to unionize to protect not only themselves but the needs of an efficient high-quality water system.
Chet Sadler, Sanibel