Zone 1 Commissioner Randy Richenberg pledges not to take police and fire union endorsements for granted
Courtesy photo. Zone 1 City Commissioner Randy Richenberg enters today's primary having again secured the police and fire union endorsements.
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Zone 1 City Commissioner Randy Richenberg knows that he has two powerful allies in today's primary that he is hoping will either carry him to outright victory or at least place in the top two for a November runoff -- the endorsements of the unions for the police and fire departments.
And even with those voting blocks, he said he's not taking anything for granted -- knocking on doors, making phone calls and urging his supporters to help get the word out to potential voters.
"Accountability to the voters is what counts," Richenberg said, adding he's no resting on his laurels with the support of fellow union friends of his wife, Cindy, a retired lieutenant after 15 years with the New Smyrna Beach Fire Department.
The 53-year-old Richenberg, who owns a surf shop in Edgewater, said his experience in municipal government speaks for itself, based not only on the near-completion of his first four-year term on the commission, but several years before that on the Planning Board.
Richenberg has had to deal with quite a few hot-button issues in the last year, in particular, publicly admitting several months after last September's unanimous vote to cut the budget by $1.3 million that led to several city employees losing their jobs that he felt "ashamed" and "bullied" by Bill Koleszar, a political gadfly, who came onto the scene with 200 neighbors when few knew who he was, and threatened to recall against anyone who didn't reduce the millage rate so he could save $3 on his tax bill, something Koleszar bragged about after the fact.
Jeff Candage, business agent for the local Teamsters, which represents the New Smyrna Beach police, said Richenberg showed "a lot of class" in speaking up and admitting he made a mistake.
Candage said Richenberg's challengers, Judy Reiker and Frank Dalton Jr., are worthy opponents, but like Richenberg, he believes the voters should stick with the experienced incumbent.
Reiker and Dalton said they have nothing against Richenberg, but each emphasized that the commission could use new faces with fresh approaches.
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