The only declared candidate thus far is Mr. Laurence Sacher, an Ohio native who moved to Marco Island. He is co-founder of the Marco Island Homeowners who recently changed their name to Marco Island Property Owners. Mr. Sacher has written a letter explaining his reasons for deciding to seek elective office:
Marco Island needs a new City Council and I’m volunteering!
I first came to Marco Island some 20+ years ago for a series of semi-annual golf trips with friends, one of whom owned some condos that he was gracious enough to allow us to use. From the first time I crossed the bridge, I was in love with Marco Island. Over the years, I finally convinced my wife Judy that we needed to buy a place here, and we started with a condo of our own, which subsequently became another one, and then some jet skis, followed by a boat, and before we knew it, we built a house and wondered why anyone would ever leave this Island paradise! I owned my financial services business and was technologically literate, thus, I felt that I could successfully commute between here and Cleveland (while Judy and the dog lived here fulltime) and still run my business, which I did for 5 years. After I sold my business my intent was to live here without interruption, however I was given an incredible opportunity to be a senior executive for a Wall St. area based insurance company, and for another 2 years I continued to commute, but to New York and all over the rest of the country rather than Cleveland. When I finally retired the 2nd time, in part due to some back issues, I was here to stay.
I’ve always been an observer of politics, both local and national, but never had an opportunity to get involved since I felt that providing for my family (we have 2 now adult children) and building my business (starting from scratch I became one of the largest independent firms in the country) took priority. As I’ve now been home fulltime for almost 4 years I’ve not only continued to observe first hand how our City has both grown, and on the negative side, become a contentious and poorly managed enterprise. About a year and a half ago Ray Seward and I decided to do something about the negatives and formed the Marco Island Homeowners (since renamed to Marco Island Property Owners to better reflect our position that whatever happens on Marco affects all property owners equally). From an initial exploratory meeting with 25 of our friends, we’ve grown our Membership to over 1,000, and have become a consistent voice in Marco politics and City operations. Our goal then, as it is now, is very simple: we care about Marco and we are not happy with the direction that the current and past administrations have taken us, therefore we’ve made a best effort to inform our Members so that they can make their own choices.
Having gotten deeply immersed in understanding the various issues that our wonderful Island faces, ranging from the seeming never-ending debate regarding Marco Utilities to the proposed Mackle Park project, as well as the density, fireworks, and other issues, it is clear to me that if we really want to see our Island be ‘all that it can be’, we need to make some changes, starting with our City Council.
In this November’s Council election, 4 out of the 7 seats will become available. Dr. William Trotter is term-limited and cannot run again, while 3 incumbents (Chairman Gibson, Councilor Recker, Councilor Waldack) could choose to run again. It is my belief that none of the incumbents have demonstrated that they should have the opportunity to serve again. Rather than go into all the various issues, ranging from increased debt to seemingly un-checked spending and a host of other issues in between, I can’t but think that the question we have to ask is one that Ronald Regan used so effectively in his campaign for the Presidency: “Are you (especially Marco Island) better off today than we were 4 years ago?”
I would challenge the incumbents to name one achievement that they can proudly point to and say, “Here, look what I accomplished”. True, under their watch they maintained the completion of the STRP plan, although there seem to be some serious questions about the financing that our City Administrators either can’t or won’t address. In an era when most property owners have found that their valuations have decreased by more than 50%, we actually had a budget increase in fiscal year 2010 over the prior Fiscal Year approaching 20%. We’ve witnessed the unfortunate death of a resident due to a bureaucratic boondoggle, while our properly equipped ambulance sat idle, literally, directly across the street. Two weeks ago there was a boat fire (remember, we live on an island and in addition, have some 200 miles of canals) that our converted Fire Department fishing boat could not contain because it is so ill-equipped (as the Fire Chief indicated during last week’s Council Meeting some of his Staff were injured trying to assist, it’s almost impossible to rescue someone from the water, and the pump is so ineffective that he has taken it out of service!). Our police force is out of control; our new Chief just had to make a public apology to a citizen for the poor handling of a questionable arrest, while we’ve also had to settle for a $50,000 payment to a prisoner one of our Officers beat during an arrest (and yet continues to serve on the force), while another was fired for responding to an accident while off-duty and for traveling on Collier Blvd. at speeds judged to be in excess of 85 mph, causing an accident with another vehicle and almost killing an elderly resident, yet his appeal to be reinstated as an active duty officer continues). Our City Finance Director can’t answer Council’s questions about whether or not our alleged $5 million reserve from the Utility Surcharges is actually available, while at the same time, can’t seem to account for a more than $4 million deficit that the Utility consultant found. The Finance Director has also consistently deferred or ignored public records requests regarding the financing of the completed STRP districts, and tried to console us during the last Council Meeting that although cash flow from annual payers for sewer connection is insufficient to meet financial obligations of the Districts, the City, which has consistently maintained there is no comingling of General Revenues with Utility Funds, has now indicated that they lend money, at no interest to the under-funded STRP districts and that ultimately, the Districts will balance out (while acknowledging that because of those who have outright deferred any payment for 20 years, added tothose who don’t even have to start paying for 10 years if they have a special type of sanitation system and could then start deferring for another 20 years).
Lastly, as we saw yet again this past Council Meeting, our City Council Chairman once again displayed arrogance and rudeness to Members of our Community who had the courage to get up and speak during the Public Forum. What especially irked me is the disingenuous comments about the Mackle Park Project; our Organization had a great presentation by City Director Bryan Milk updating us on the status of the project and his intent to present a full business plan at an upcoming Council Meeting, yet our Chairman dismissed Citizens who tried to talk about this subject using the tired old excuse of “how can we talk about something that hasn’t come before us” while City Staff is actively working on plans, soliciting bids under a very debatable financing scheme known as “Public-Private-Partnerships”, and is also soliciting donations.
In my wildest dreams I never imagined that I would want to run for Public Office. Yet, for all the many reasons outlined above, I am going to submit the necessary paperwork in the hopes of getting our communities support and become a City Councilor Why do I feel I’m qualified? I’ve got over 40 years of experience in financial services and planning; I’ve built a multi-million dollar business from scratch; and I’ve even been recognized by my industry as “Best in Class”. When I compare my resume to that of our incumbents, I believe they pale in comparison and I look forward to sharing my agenda and beliefs with the Citizens of Marco Island.
Laurence (Larry) Sacher
Laurence I. Sacher
President, Capital Planners, LLC
As the recently retired President of Capital Planners, Inc., a Beachwood (Oh.)-based financial Services Company, Larry Sacher has an extensive background in business and personal finance management and planning. A graduate of Suffolk University (Boston, Ma, 1970, BS in Marketing, with Minors in Accounting and Psychology), he started his matriculation in the Boston University College of Basic Studies, a program for gifted students who chose not to declare a Major, and also participated in post-graduate studies at the University of Bridgeport (Conn.).
Upon graduation, Larry started his business career with NCR Corporation as an Account Executive in the Boston, Mass. area selling Point-of-Sale Cash Management Systems. Larry had the unique distinction of having been appointed a Territory Manager after just one year, a position that typically required five years of experience before attaining this designation. Larry subsequently joined Perma Steel Corporation of Brooklyn (NY) as a Territorial Manager for New England and New York where he was responsible for selling display shelving and check-outs for major retail chains and supermarkets based in his territory. In 1972 Larry joined John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company (Boston, Ma.) as a Sales Representative. Recognizing that a “qualitative approach” made more sense to him than a “quantitative approach” did, Larry was among the forerunners of financial professionals who recognized the need to offer a broader range of financial products and services. In addition to being the “New Agent of the Year” in his first 6 months of production, Larry obtained licensing authority for both Property & Casualty insurance, as well as securities (and is a Registered Representative of Park Avenue Securities LLC) and holds both a Series 6 (Mutual Funds) & Series 7 (Stocks & Bonds) with the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD). In addition, Larry matriculated with the American College of Life Underwriters (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) to attain his CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter) designation, and participated in numerous courses in Estate, Business, and Financial Planning. Working with a “team” of other professionals, including Attorneys, Accountants, and Trust Officers, Larry began marketing the then unheard of concept of “Financial Services”, offering total financial planning services to owners of closely-held businesses, medical professionals, and upper-income individuals.
In 1978 Larry was appointed General Agent for John Hancock in Cleveland, Ohio, with responsibility for all of Northern Ohio. When appointed, Larry’s office ranked #153 out of 154 John Hancock General Agencies; when he resigned as a General Agent in 1982, his office was in the top 25 of all agencies. Following his resignation as a General Agent, Larry remained in personal production with John Hancock and was the “Agent of the Year”, based on personal sales production. Succumbing to his “true mission” as a teacher and trainer of Financial Professionals, Larry started Capital Planners, Inc. in September 1983. Since its inception, Capital Planners devoted itself to the markets of closely-held business owners, medical professionals, and high-wealth individuals. From its modest beginnings, Capital Planners today, and its partner company in Pittsburgh, Pa. (Lifetime Financial Growth/Luttner Financial Group) employs over 150 Account Executives who market in Northern Ohio, Cincinnati, Kentucky, West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania. In January 2005, Larry and his partners from the Luttner Financial Group were honored with Guardian Life’s President’s Trophy, symbolic of the top Agency in the country based on business volume, quality of business, recruiting, training, and professional advancement of Associates; recipients cannot repeat for at least 3 years, however in 2005 and 2006 their Agency was the “Agency of the Year” in their division of the Company. In April 2005 GAMA, the General Agents and Managers Association awarded Larry and his Partners the “Best in Class Award” for their efforts in 2004. Larry has been the recipient of the GAMA “National Management Award” every year since 1983 and the International Masters (Platinum Level) Award every year since 2003.
Since April of 2007 Larry has served as a Consultant to The Guardian Life Insurance Company in the position of “Lead Executive” assisting in the development of their Business Resource Center that is a key component of the Company’s overall Small Business Transformation project.
Larry and his wife Judy, along with their “grand-puppy” Shmuele, now live fulltime in Marco Island (Fla.), where Larry continues his commitment to the Industry as well as servicing his own Clients. In 1999 Larry was honored to have son Michael join Capital Planners as an Account Representative who has qualified for Guardian Life’s prestigious Leaders Conference as both a producer, as well as a manager having qualified for 5 consecutive Presidential Citation Awards and is now affiliated with National Planning Corporation (Miami, Fla.) as Managing Partner in their Miami and Boca Raton offices where his wife Theresa is employed as a Dietary Consultant for local hospitals. Daughter Michelle lives in Raleigh (N.C.), with her husband Rob Likovich, where she is employed as a Human Resources Consultant for Fidelity Investments and Rob is a chip designer for IBM.
Laurence I. Sacher is a Registered Representative of Park Avenue Securities (PAS), LLC. 7 Hanover Square, New York, New York 10004. Securities Products and Services are offered through PAS. 1-888-600-4667. Capital Planners, Inc., is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian. General Agent, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, (Guardian) New York, NY. PAS is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Guardian.
PAS is a Member of NASD, SIPC.