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Lighting consultant terminated after presentation to town council

March 11, 2020
By NATHAN MAYBERG ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

One day after he spoke to the Town of Fort Myers Beach Council as part of efforts to find a lighting solution on Estero Boulevard, Miami-based consultant William Pino was told his services were no longer needed.

In a letter sent to Pino on March 6, Fort Myers Beach Manager Roger Hernstadt said Pino's contract was being terminated immediately due to events which transpired in Broward County in 2012 regarding Pino's work. According to published reports and the U.S. Attorney's Office, Pino was sentenced in 2015 to a year in jail after pleading guilty to a federal charge of "offering and agreeing to give something of value to a public official with the intent to influence or reward said public official in connection with a transaction or series of transactions and thereby committing bribery in programs receiving federal funds."

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in 2015, "Pino was involved in a number of companies in South Florida that were in the business of installing, repairing and maintaining street lights, traffic signals, and traffic systems and the sale of products needed to make such installations and repairs, such as light poles."

Hernstadt said he was contacted following the March 5 meeting with an email referencing the past behavior of Pino and a newspaper article.

"We determined this was the best course of action," he said.

Pino will be paid for the work he did through March 6, after he invoices the town. According to the terms of the contract, signed Feb. 20, the total contract was not to exceed $9,400.

Hernstadt said that Pino was hired at the recommendation of Director of Public Works Chelsea O'Riley.

"When they need a consultant, they find an individual and bring the contract to the contract manager," Hernstadt said regarding the process of hiring consultants.

Hernstadt ultimately signed off on the contract.

Pino, of Main Street Engineering, had suggested to the council on March 5 that it consider different lighting options for different areas of town to increase visibility on Estero Boulevard.

The town council has been looking at ways to replace lights on Estero Boulevard but some members of the council have been unhappy with the proposals thus far. The last concrete proposal of white LED lights was supported by Councilmember Bruce Butcher but was considered unfavorable by others due to the potential impact it would have on turtles as well as homes.

A phone number listed on the website of Main Street Engineering was no longer in service as of March 9. The company's website has the same contract address as the address listed on the termination letter sent by the town to Pino. The website also features the same logo as the contract the town had with Pino. The latest news items on the Main Street Engineering website dates back to 2011.



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