Bielarski: All commissioners should stop working after 20 hours

Letter to the editor:


In response to a motion to REPEAL the City of Gainesville Ordinance that nearly doubles City Commission salaries, At-Large Commissioner Reina Saco said, ”If I’m going to be paid for 20 hours, I will stop working on the 20th hour and you will be down a Commissioner.” I’d like everyone to think about that comment for a while.

My take may be different than most people, so here goes: For the past two decades, City Commissioners have operated OUTSIDE their lane. Instead of showing up at City Commission meetings to do the business of the City, where they should approve well-thought-out contracts and deliberate on SMART goals and balanced budgets, they want to CHANGE THE WORLD. In doing so, they don’t even do their jobs, which are part-time jobs.

Reina Saco’s comments border on delusional. The City Charter never envisioned full-time city commissioners. Stop acting as though you are doing such righteous work for the poor, disenfranchised, and those of higher needs. You aren’t. You’ve destroyed the financial and fiscal balance of the City, voting on outrageous resolutions (Net Zero by 2045 with no consideration to cost); an amended solar contract at 33% higher costs; pulled money out of GRU more effectively than a bank heist to the tune of over $100 million; hired charter officers without a competing search, leaving you with a General Manager of the Utility with ZERO electric industry experience who, in a public forum in Tallahassee, told the Joint Legislative Audit Committee that he wouldn’t have brought the deal that saved the city $1 billion to the commission. OUTRAGEOUS!

I suggest that all commissioners put in their 20 hours of work on the business of the City and then stop! Then go home and watch MSNBC, Fox, or whatever polarizing political claptrap you can find to satisfy your need to be a political animal. The City of Gainesville needs less political dogma and activism affecting its policies and more business-like, practical, economic solutions.

I hope the folks at JLAC are looking at this spectacle.

Ed Bielarski, Gainesville

Ed Bielarski was General Manager of GRU until he was fired on January 27, 2022, in an effort led by now-Mayor Harvey Ward.

  • The JLAC should recommend to the Governor to replace Ward and appoint Ed Bielarski as the mayor.

  • OMG! Well Said Ed. That is the real deal and Pulitzer Prize worthy. The JLAC must be in Jaw Dropping disbelief on how the Commissioners and Staff are reacting in total failure and implosion . They are so unqualified and clueless.

  • Bravo Mr. Bielarski. Thank you for all of your thoughts on GRU. After your termination, you justifiably could have left G’ville for greener pastures. But that you continue to live here just shows how much you care about the community.

  • Perhaps she will require another six-week leave of absence to recover from this latest public meltdown episode. I hope she doesn’t find Pizzo and/or Caruso and shake her middle finger at them for costing her so much money.

    • I was among the crowd that Saco flipped off with her pudgy middle finger. So unprofessional.

  • So, it’s all about the money Saco… If you don’t like it, resign.You knew what the job entailed and what it paid when you ran for the seat. You act like a tyrant and wear that face diaper. We don’t need your fascist Marxist ideology here. Do us a favor and quit. if you don’t like the pay, move to Cuba….

    • Desantis should replace Saco immediately…she doesn’t want to do the job she was elected to. If she was my employee, she would be fired and replaced.

  • I voted for you in the last election, we need someone with common sense. Laws on affordable rental housing that will make it more expensive. Turning down a $15,000,000 affordable housing project. New garbage laws for commerical that will double the price. Trying to be the first in the nation with an idiot idea to make a name for themselves.

  • I’ve had the same account with GRU for 46 years, my total bill averages $250 a month. I did not get a bill for 3 months, then it was $1000. My next bill for 1 month was $1115! 94,000 gallons of water a 45 foot cube, (I might have noticed a leak.) 3 times my normal electric use. The thing being they automatically deducted the amount from my checking account. Fortunately I have plenty of money so this does not effect me financially but what about the majority of people that live paycheck to paycheck? Do you think they need some better oversight?

  • Exactly Ed! Just like Congress in D.C., if they’re in session, they’re spending money we don’t have. Raising property taxes? AGAIN?? Outrageous!! They simply do not understand the difference between government functions and charity. One more election ad, if you or someone like you is not elected I am definitely moving, even though I don’t want to.. It seems that we overwhelmingly keep voting for the same Waco bozos who will not stay out of our wallets 🤡💰✈️🌎💸

  • Back in the middle of the last century, Gainesville was a very different town and governing was less complicated. Commissioners serving part time was adequate. Having served on the commission in this century I can say that although it was originally intended to be part-time, the demands of the job and the commissioners’ abilities to best serve their constituents in the 21st Century require full time work. I served on the 2019-20 Charter Review Commission and increasing commission pay to reflect full time employment was discussed and supported favorably. The CRC was made up of former city and county elected officials, local community leaders and good government activists. We carefully weighed the pros & cons in the context of our current times, not what the standard was 50 years ago.

    • She makes $20 an hour plus lots of benefits. Free catered food, etc. That’s about what she would make as a public defender or school teacher. Given her poor attendance record and hate-filled outbursts toward the elderly, she should be happy with what she has or just quit. It’s not like anyone sane wanted her to run.

    • Stop gaslighting people with false narratives. The CRC (a board of hand picked City Commisison appointed political lackeys) rejected DOUBLING the salaries for the Mayor and City Commisison.

      Glad that you were voted out of office.

      Get back on your broom stick and fly back into hiding like the Biomass Queen.

    • The problem with this comment is that you miss the point entirely Susan. It is you and others like you that blew Gainesville up and into the world wide authority on all things woke and even beyond that absurdity. You decided to wander so far off track with what city government is actually there for and that is the problem today. Let’s get back to basics and take care of NOW in Gainesville and the people that have lived here and paid for all that garbage for decades.

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