LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry county's Planning Director Vincent Cautero may be leaving Hendry county for the same job in Citrus County, sources say.
Cautero has been shopping around for a new job and recently interviewed with Citrus County officials in Inverness, Florida, just north of Tampa. Reportedly, Cautero made it through a short list of candidates today, and may be confirmed officially on next Tuesday's Citrus County Commission agenda as the new planning director.
The job pays $97,000. Sources say he may get a bit more.
Controversy Over The Years
Although Bob Bott is the county's head of Building and Zoning, and state licensed as a Building Code Administrator, Plans Examiner, and Inspector, he takes his orders from Vince Cautero, the county's planner, who is not licensed by the state. When questions arise about the building or zoning code, it seems Bott gets his guidance and marching orders from Cautero, even though Cautero is not licensed as a building official.
Cautero does have certification from the American Planning Association as a planner. To become a certified planner, APA members must meet certain education and experience requirements and pass a written examination, given twice a year, in May and November. Cautero has been a member of the Association since 1986.
While Cautero was working in Collier county, Collier County Commissioner Frank Halas called Cautero the "darling of the developers," bending or ignoring rules to allow developers to get their wishes. Cautero resigned from his Collier county "development czar" job after allegedly not collecting $2.4 million in required impact fees from golf course developers, while his department employees were enjoying free rounds of golf at developer's golf courses.
Update: Cautero Denies Responsibility
In a communication from Mr. Cautero on September 13, he clarifies that he has been a member of APA since 1981 and certified by their certification division AICP in 1991. (The 1986 membership date in the article was provided to the Sunday Morning News by the APA office.) Cautero also notes that Collier Commissioner Halas was elected after Cautero left his job in Collier county.
In the same email Cautero denies responsibility for the failure to collect developer impact fees while he worked for Collier County, ''I did not have the responsibility to assess impact fees in Collier County. Three members of the Engineering Dept. were responsible for assessing these fees on golf courses.''
This statement seems contrary to the findings of a special audit report ordered by the Collier County Commissioners in 2001, investigating county official's failure to collect golf course developer impact fees.
The report (on page 9) says: ''Once an impact fee ordinance was enacted, the responsibility for assessing and collecting and impact fees lay in the Community Development Division and the Revenue Department, respectively.'' Cautero was the head of the Development Division, charged with assessing the fees.