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City of Destin2019 Destin Municipal Election

Welcome

Destin is having a special election, made necessary by the sudden resignation in December of Councilman Tuffy Dixon, who said he was tired of the city’s contentious politics. Steve Menchel was appointed by the City Council to fill the vacancy in the interim before the special election. The candidate selected by voters on 12 March will begin serving the final year of Dixon’s unexpired, second four-year term on 18 March. Links are provided to campaign websites, Facebook pages and the statements provided to the Supervisor of Elections, if applicable.

2019 Destin Municipal Election Candidates
  Teresa Hebert
Teresa Hebert
Steven Menchel
Steven Menchel
Candidate Statement
Candidate Facebook page

What do you see as the top issues affecting the City of Destin in the next two years?

The top issues affecting the city of Destin include infrastructure (road widening and utilities underground) and beach access.  Parking lots needed and how to manage with little oversight but a minor cost to help the city with tax revenue.

What I see as the top issues is not important—what is important is to listen to the citizens of Destin and learn what is important to them. Once this list is compiled and incorporated in the City of Destin’s annual vision sessions the council needs to work with staff to prioritize that list and then work to accomplish it.

From a practical standpoint the city does have several top issues/projects that still need to be addressed one way or the other. To clarify one way or the other—the council on several projects have not completed/finalized/made decisions due to many factors and it is time to get to work on them.

A partial list of “top issues” includes:

• The various City Park projects
• Destin’s comprehensive plan
• Dredging of the East Pass
• Cross town connector
• Short-term rentals evaluations after peak season
• Listening sessions / town hall meetings / meet and greets with citizens—so staff and council can identify what’s important to them.

Why do you want to serve as a Destin City Council member, and why are you the best choice?

Over the last three years, I have served as a volunteer on The Tree Board, Environmental Board and Parks and Recreation Board. As the current Chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee for the past two years many issues and concerns of the citizens have been important to me as a citizen and as a taxpayer. Destin is a little city with big city problems.

Many years ago, when I was considering running for office, I met with Destin Mayor Sam Severs to get some ideas and suggestions from her. The first thing she asked me was, “What have you done for the community?” Sadly, the only thing I was then doing was volunteering with Hospice. That event was a wake-up call for me, and I set out to get involved with the City I love that I have lived in now for 11 years.

I volunteered for several city committees which resulted in:

• Me being appointed to the City of Destin Public Works/Public Safety Committee and serving as Chair.
• Me being appointed to the City of Destin Local Planning Agency and serving as Vice-Chair.
• Me being a member of the City of Destin Bicycle Committee.
• My wife and I have also participated in the City of Destin Adopt-a-Street program for over six years.

On 7 January 2019 I was selected by the Destin City Council to fill the vacant City Council position until the 12 March special election. I then had to resign from my committee memberships, but that experience provided firsthand knowledge of many of the top issues that the council is currently working on. I was able to capitalize on the knowledge and immediately start working with a minimal learning curve.

If elected, what is your top priority for your term?  Helping city council to become a cohesive team and accomplish already set goals and new goals.

Helping city council to become a cohesive team and accomplish already set goals and new goals.

My top priority is to listen to the Citizens of Destin, learn what is important to them and then to act on the information I receive.

Anyone who has ever been a manager learns early on that when you make a decision, you are never going to make everyone happy. Typically, a decision is made and some of the people are happy and some of the people aren’t.

As a councilman the same can be said.  My vote on a subject will make some happy and some not.

I will not operate in a vacuum and I intend to solicit as much information from both sides of an issue before I cast my vote.  I also will try and bring both sides to the table and attempt to work out a compromise as the situations allow.

My pledge to you is:

1. To serve Destin Full Time—I understand some council members have full time jobs and this is not possible, but I will be prepared when I attend a meeting.
2. To analyze all sides of an issue before making a decision.
3. To treat everyone with respect—you can agree to disagree, but be respectful.
4. To remember no one issue is more important than another.
5. And finally, the last pledge and probably the most important is to remember it’s not about ME, it’s about the people of Destin who I am elected to serve.

What are your qualifications for office?

I have served previously on the Super Committee (Environmental, Parks and Recreation, Tree Board Committee 2016-2017; Current Chair for Parks and Recreation Committee; City Volunteer for cleanups and community events and an avid city council attendee. I understand first hand all the issues being covered within the current council and understand the administrative policy and procedures for conduction of city council meetings. I ran twice for city council and most recently, March 2018 missed selection by 33 votes. In addition, I have a Masters degree in Human Resource Management and a Bachelors in Business Administration.  My current position with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals gives me flexibility to work issues and cover city events around my sales day. Prior to Pfizer, I retired after 20 years in the US Navy achieving the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade after being selected from the enlisted rank of E-8. This was directly due to my teamwork, leadership, and high work ethic. All of which I will apply to this office if elected.

I am a lifelong law enforcement officer and manager with over 38 years of experience. My professional background includes 24 years of executive level managerial experience with the U.S. Customs Service, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Army detailed to the White House Protective Operations. I proudly served three years in the U.S. Army and received an honorable discharge. I commanded a broad range of high-level assignments to include serving as the Assistant to the Special Agent In Charge, Homeland Security in Houston, TX responsible for sensitive and classified operations, management of a large number of employees; the National Program Manager for Covert/Undercover Operations for the U.S. Customs Service at Headquarters in Washington, D.C. responsible for the management of and oversight of undercover operations worldwide; the U.S. Customs Chief of Regional Intelligence in New Orleans, LA responsible for real time law enforcement operations in a five state area; and the U.S. Customs Deputy Assistant Regional Commissioner, New Orleans, LA. I supervised the National Management Inspection program and traveled throughout the nation conducting office inspections to insure compliance with policies and procedures. I received numerous honors, awards, and commendations including the Department of Treasury Albert Gallatin Award for Integrity (the Department of Treasury’s highest career service award), the U.S. Customs Service Supervisor of the Year, and the New Orleans Metropolitan Crime Commission Excellence in Supervisory Law Enforcement Award.

I will bring proven EXPERIENCE, HONESTY, INTEGRITY, and will be a full time Council Member for the citizens of Destin.

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