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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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper serving the Daytona Beach-New Smyrna Beach / Sanford-Orlando metropolitan region via HeadlineSurfer.com. Florida's first around-the-clock newspaper was launched April 7, 2008, in New Smyrna Beach, initially as NSBNews.net and VolusiaNews.net. Headline Surfer is a registered trademark of NSB News LLC. Headline Surfer® Publisher Henry Frederick, is recognized as one of Florida's top award-winning cops & courts reporters, who has received more awards for such coverage than any other reporter working in Central Florida. He's the top journalist in the Florida Press Club two years running with seven journalism awards for 15 breaking news and investigative stories, three blogs and top internet site. He's the only reporter to win awards for coverage of the Trayvon Martin slaying as well as the subsequent George Zimmerman murder trial acquittal in Sanford. He's also won state, regional and national journalism awards for his coverage of cops and courts fear 8 1/2 years at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, where he witnessed and reported on the execution of serial killer Aileen Wuornos and covered the civil trial brought by NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt's widow to keep his autopsy files sealed. Before that before he covered cops & courts for Gannett Suburban Newspapers / The Journal News in Westchester and Rockland counties in New York, where he won a highly-coveted Associated Press Award for breaking news. Before launching the 24/7 internet newspaper in 2008, he was an award-winning city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette, in his native Massachusetts for two years, winning a national investigative award on municipal corruption. The first of Frederick's three books, for which he has secured publishing rights, is called "Creepy Ass Cracker" (840 pages, Xlibris), which will hit bookstores in September. His second book, "Wrestling ReWind," is expected to be published in January 2015. The third book is not yet titled.
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