Randy Clair served as a Longboat Key commissioner from March 2005-2009 and again from April 2017-March 2020.
The Longboat Key Town Commission will be different after Election Day on Tuesday.
“I’m 80 years old, and we changed the two-year terms to three-year terms,” Clair said. “So, I thought [in] three years, I’ll be 83. That’s starting to push it.”
In April 2017, Clair filled the District 1 seat after Armando Linde resigned. It marked Clair’s second time serving on the commission.
“You never know, when something comes up, an issue comes up before the commission, whether it's going to be earth shattering or it's just a run-of-the-mill type of decision,” Clair said. “What you have to do, at least I always tried to do, is make the best decision that I thought was in the interest of all our citizens and not any vested group at all.”
During his first stint from 2005-2009, Clair played a role in the effort to reform the town’s pension system. His efforts helped keep the town from financial ruin due to unfunded pension liabilities.
“I was sort of instrumental in getting changes made to our pension plans and in trying to reduce the unfunded liability, so that it would not be increasing at such a fantastic rate,” Clair said. “Obviously, not all the employees were happy with that, the policeman and the firemen.”
Clair said his plan caused the members of the Longboat Key Fire Rescue Department to campaign against him in 2009, when he lost a re-election.
After Hurricane Charley in August 2004, Clair also played a role in Longboat Key’s revitalized emergency response plan.
“It was sort of interesting when you looked at it and read it, and then thought about what they’re trying to do, there’s a lot of marvelous words and who’s responsible?” Clair said.
As a commissioner-elect, Clair said he and Longboat commissioners met with Sanibel city councilmembers to find out what lessons they could learn after the Category 4 hurricane devastated the state of Florida.
“Some of the lessons we learned were you have to have a good emergency response plan, pre-plan, as to how we’re going to respond,” Clair said. “You have to think about how are you going to service your citizens that are there with water, with electricity [and] structural improvements to the damaged homes? How do you get rid of the debris from something like that?”
Clair also said Longboat Key’s zoning code was “out of date” until recently. He expressed concern about the code’s “archaic” language and its amendments.
“When they made the amendments, they didn’t go back and always use the same terminology for the subject matter,” Clair said. “So on one place they use one word for it, and the next time when they made the amendment, they didn’t use the same word.”
The former AAMCO lawyer didn’t mince his words when asked what he wanted people to remember about his two tenures.
“I didn’t sell the town,” Clair joked.
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