|Brevard County Commissioners Robin Fisher, Andy Anderson, Curt Smith and Jim Barfield stayed at The Broadmoor, a 5,000 acre luxury resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Photo credit: The Broadmoor|
Brevard County Commissioners took an opportunity at last Tuesday's Commission meeting to explain a trip that they took to a luxury resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado along with Economic Development of Florida's Space Coast (EDC) President Lynda Weatherman and North Brevard Economic Development Zone (NBEDZ) President Troy Post.
|Commissioner Robin Fisher. Credit: SCGTV still.|
Commissioners Robin Fisher, Andy Anderson, Curt Smith and Jim Barfield attended the 32nd Annual Space Symposium that was held on April 11th-14th at The Broadmoor - a Five-Star resort with AAA Five-Diamond restaurants where the room prices range from $300 to $1,000 per night. Commissioner Trudie Infantini was the only commissioner who did not take the trip.
"I had somebody, and I'm not sure if they were joking or not when they said, 'Well we in the private sector don't get anybody to pay us to take a vacation.' I can tell you. I didn't take a vacation when I went to that place," said Smith. "I got there after a grueling day Monday in planes. I had my first meeting - it was a dinner meeting to be sure - I got to feed my face. But it was business. And I didn't get to bed until about 11 o'clock that night. And considering the time difference, that's way past my bedtime."
"And then Tuesday we started about 8 o'clock in the morning and we didn't get done until about 9 o'clock that night. And that's what? 11, 12 o'clock our time? So it's a long blooming day and we did the same thing on Wednesday. Then Thursday, I along with these guys all got up and we all flew back and spent 7 or 8 hours. So it was not a vacation," Smith explained. "My only view of Colorado was from the airport to the motel and from the motel back to the airport. Fortunately, Pike's Peak can be seen from everywhere, so I did get to see Pike's Peak - but from a distance. So, it was very rewarding. But a vacation, it was not."
"I've been in the Space Program since the early 60's," said Barfield. "I've been involved with it. We have an excitement going now within the Space Program that's nothing like we've seen before with the commercial side and exploration side ... We met with, probably, at least 15 companies that are seriously, seriously considering coming here. In fact, I met with Bob Cabana from KSC to say, "There may not be enough room on your Space Center to accommodate new commercial companies coming in. And I think all y'all agree with that."
Anderson said that he had met with a company at the symposium that has now scheduled to have a meeting with NBEDZ this week. In addition to being a County Commissioner, Anderson is a full time employee with the City of Palm Bay. He wrote in an email to Brevard Times that he was able to use accrued vacation time at his city position to take the trip.
Brevard County Clerk of Court, Scott Ellis, criticized the trip taken by the Commissioners.
"Last week a workshop on Budget and possible reductions was cut short at lunch, never discussing either, because some Commissioners could not stay past lunch," Ellis wrote. "Commissioner Barfield introduces a new tax for the Indian River the same week, unannounced and unadvertised, at a zoning meeting - an 'emergency'."
"While there seems to be little time to work on Brevard County issues, four Commissioners and Senator Altman had time to join their fellow Rocket Scientists at the Space Congress at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs," wrote Ellis. "I was actually stationed in Colorado Springs, and from my one visit there it was/is quite an impressive resort. This is not a one time thing but a regular annual trip with the EDC, and like other trips with the EDC, eliminates any thoughts of arm's length expectations of the EDC to actually deliver anything other than killer vacations."