Updated 1/24/22 for most recent campaign finance reports.
The 2022 Naples City Council elections will be held on February 1. The seats currently held by Ray Christman, Terry Hutchison, and Gary Price are on the ballot.
Christman and Hutchison are running for reelection; Price is not. The incumbents are facing newcomers John Dugan, Beth Petrunoff, and Ian Rudnick. The top three vote-getters will win.
In this post, I will share what I learned by reviewing the candidates’ websites, Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and Google searches. I will also summarize their responses to a candidate questionnaire I sent to each of them.
Then I will summarize the candidates’ campaign finance reports. The last day for candidates to receive campaign contributions before the election is Jan. 27, and final campaign finance reports are due 90 days after the election, on May 2. You can review all campaign finance reports on each candidate’s page on the Naples City Clerk’s 2022 election webpage here.
I will conclude with some final thoughts.
About the Elections
Only City of Naples residents may vote in the Naples City Council elections. A City boundary map is here. The elections are nonpartisan. Council members are elected at large.
The City of Naples Election Calendar is here. Key dates are:
- Jan. 3 — Last day to register to vote
- Jan. 22 — Last day to request a Vote-By-Mail ballot
- Jan. 26-29 — Early voting (at Norris Community Center and Supervisor of Elections Office)
- Feb. 1 — Election Day (at your precinct)
The Collier County Supervisor of Elections is piloting a ballot tracking program for voters who cast their City Election ballot by mail. BallotTrax has the capability to send email notifications as well as text and voice notifications reporting the status of a voter’s ballot during an election.
If your email address is on record with the Supervisor of Elections and you request a Vote-by-Mail ballot for the City of Naples Election, you will automatically be enrolled in the BallotTrax program and will receive an email notification reporting the status of your Vote-by-Mail ballot. For more information about BallotTrax, visit www.CollierVotes.gov or call (239) 252-VOTE (8683).
Ray Christman, 72, was elected to Naples City Council in a special election in April 2019. He was born and lived most of his life in Pittsburgh, and also lived and worked for 15 years in Atlanta. He has an undergraduate degree from Florida State University and a Master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh with a concentration in City Planning.
Christman’s professional career included work for local non-profits and city government in Pittsburgh, including eventually heading the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Technology Council. He also served four years as Secretary of Commerce for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
He then worked 15 years in the Federal Home Loan Bank system, leading the Pittsburgh and, later, Atlanta FHL Banks. After retiring from the FHL Bank system, he was a founding board member and director of a new commercial bank in Atlanta, which grew successfully until its sale in 2018.
From 2011-2017, Christman was also a Senior Vice President for The Trust for Public Land, a national conservation organization that protects land and creates parks. As Director of Operations for the southeast, he helped lead an effort to pass, by voter referendum, the Florida Water and Land Legacy Act.
Christman and his wife began regular visits to Naples in the early 1980s, purchased their home in 2003, and became full-time residents in 2014.
Before his election to City Council in 2019, he spearheaded the campaign to establish a new ethics code and independent ethics commission for the City. He also served on the City’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Advisory Board.
Currently, he chairs the CRA and the City’s Environmental Advisory Committee and serves as City Council representative on the County’s Coastal Advisory Committee.
In his first term on Council, Christman:
- VOTED FOR a resolution requiring the wearing of masks indoors and at outdoor public events in the City, along with Blankenship, Perry, and Price. (For more, see Naples Daily News, 12/21/20)
- OPPOSED holding a Council discussion of a proposed “Sanctuary City” ordinance that would outlaw abortions within city limits, along with McCabe, Perry, and Price. At the time, he said the proposed ordinance is not a priority for the city, that rules regulating abortion should be addressed by the state and federal governments, and that “This is not an issue that the majority of our residents wants us to address.” (For more, see Naples Daily News, 6/18/21)
- VOTED FOR an ordinance to allow then-Naples Fire Chief Pete DiMaria to collect retirement benefits while earning a salary as fire chief, along with Blankenship, Heitman, Perry and Price. (For more, see Naples Daily News, 9/28/21)
Christman’s website showcases his background, accomplishments, key issues, and news. His campaign platform consists of six key issues that he says must be priorities for Naples today and for the foreseeable future:
- Clean Water: Find local solutions and join forces with others
- Ensure our Land Development Code supports resident priorities
- Enhance the Quality of Life for our residents
- Develop a vision and plan for redevelopment of “41/10” Corridor
- Protect in perpetuity the open space at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club
- Ensure Ethics and Transparency in City Government
Click here to learn more about each key issue, including accomplishments to date and priorities for the future.
His responses to my candidate questions are here. I’ve edited them for brevity, so I encourage you to read them in their entirety. Of note:
Three things he wants to accomplish if reelected:
- Take actions that will make Naples the leading community in Florida for protecting and improving its environment: completion of the Gulf Shore Boulevard Beach Outfalls project, completion of the north Naples septic to sewer project, full implementation of the five year/$50 million lakes restoration project, improvement in water quality conditions in Moorings and Naples Bay, and other issues.
- Complete and implement the “41/10” Master Plan which will guide future redevelopment of our Community Redevelopment Area.
- Develop a comprehensive strategy/plan around resilience and sustainability to combat climate change and its impacts.
A City Council vote he disagreed with during his first term: Council’s 5-2 vote early on in the pandemic (July 2020) against establishing an order requiring the wearing of a mask when entering public places. (As noted above, the order did pass in December 2020 after two Council members switched their positions and votes.)
A time he led members of City Council to bring about change: His efforts to help put in place a conservation easement to protect the Naples Beach Hotel golf course property as open space in perpetuity.
Christman has been endorsed by The Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR), the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #38, and the Professional Firefighters of Naples Local 2174. He was awarded a grade of B+ in June 2021 on his evaluation by Naples Better Government.
Terry Hutchison, 60, was elected to Naples City Council in 2018 and is currently serving as the City’s Vice Mayor. Born in Indiana, Hutchison attended Seminole State College in Oklahoma. He initially worked in the petroleum industry before being recruited into a management and marketing role with 7-Eleven in the 1980s.
Between 2008 and 2010, he revitalized the market in a first-ever transition from corporate-owned stores to franchise-owned stores, earning him Entrepreneur Magazine’s highest honor, Market Manager of the Year.
During that time, Hutchison and his family became full-time Naples residents. He owns and manages several 7-Eleven franchises in the region.
In his first term on City Council, Hutchison:
- VOTED AGAINST a resolution requiring the wearing of masks indoors and at outdoor public events in the City, along with Heitmann and McCabe. At the time, he said there were “problems with the resolution as written”, a lack of “data necessary to make decisions consistent with a citywide mandate”, and inadequate public notice that there would be a Council vote. (For more, see Naples Daily News, 12/21/20)
- SUPPORTED holding a Council discussion of a proposed ordinance that would outlaw abortions within city limits, along with Heitmann and Blankenship. He said at the time that he welcomed the opportunity to discuss an issue that a group of residents said was important to them. He also said he was leaning towards allowing residents to vote on the matter by referendum instead of having Council decide. (For more, see Naples Daily News, 6/18/21)
- VOTED AGAINST an ordinance to allow then-Naples Fire Chief Pete DiMaria to collect retirement benefits while earning a salary as fire chief, along with McCabe. (For more, see Naples Daily News, 9/28/21)
In addition to City Council, Hutchison’s civic activities include membership on the City of Naples’ President’s Council and financial support for Gulfview Middle School’s music program and Habitat for Humanity, and support for and participation in Rotary Orthopedic Surgeries in Haiti.
Hutchison’s website showcases his background, top priorities, and actions to reengage citizens in City issues, moderate development intensity and elevate environmental stewardship. His campaign platform consists of five key issues that he says are necessary for Council to address:
- Protect our Fragile Environment — Working locally, with the County, and with the State.
- Champion Responsible Development — Refine our building codes and update our policies to manage growth and support our Vision.
- Balance Commercial and Resident Interests — We can have economic vitality and still preserve the charm and character of our neighborhoods.
- Encourage Broad Citizen Engagement — Build transparency and inclusion in our government.
- Make our Vision Document and our Citizens values the foundation for our decisions.
His responses to my candidate questions are here. I’ve edited them for brevity, so I encourage you to read them in their entirety. Of note:
Three things he wants to accomplish if reelected:
- Champion environmental stewardship by advancing work on long-term water quality and stormwater management,
- Develop broader citizen engagement along with making the City of Naples as the #1 destination for a career in municipal employment, and
- Continue to refine our codes to ensure responsible redevelopment.
A City Council vote he disagreed with during his first term: A “derelict home” was a nuisance to the neighborhood. Its owner owed a significant amount of City Code Enforcement fines. After new owners purchased the home and addressed the situation, Hutchison was the only Council member to vote in favor of reducing or eliminating the fines. “Placing a substantial fine on those doing good for the community just didn’t seem right,” he wrote. “I deeply regret not being able to influence my peers to see the merits of rewarding the new homeowners for reflecting the values of our community.”
A time he led members of City Council to bring about change: Leading the Council to reach a consensus on and address the top priorities for the community, after having been “talked about for years with little or no action.” He said that as a result, “We managed to accomplish much for our community.”
John Dugan, 58, is a native of the Boston, Massachusetts, area. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in accounting from Northeastern University.
His professional career was with Accenture as an independent management consultant focused on large, complicated situations implementing necessary changes. He retired as a Partner in the Firm in 2009.
Dugan moved to the City with his parents in 2003; he became a Naples resident in 2010. He is or has been a director of Bayfront Condo of Naples and president of the Naples Republican Club (Naples Daily News, 9/17/21), a director of the Republican Men’s Club of Collier County (RMCCC, 12/19/21), a precinct committeeman for the Collier County Republican Executive Committee, and an at-large member the Collier County Citizens Values Political Action Committee, 12/19/21.
- Lifestyle — protecting our freedoms (avoiding City Mandates for masks, vaccines, etc.), and water quality issues.
- Growth Preparedness — growth is inevitable, but we need to do a better job preparing for it.
- Safety — continue to invest in our emergency preparedness and public safety capabilities.
- My Skills Are Needed — they were developed over more than two decades of management consulting with Accenture. They work across industries, companies, business functions and at all levels of organizations.
Dugan’s responses to my candidate questions are here. I’ve edited them for brevity, so I encourage you to read them in their entirety. Of note:
Three things he wants to accomplish if elected:
- Increase Voter Turnout,
- Lifestyle — protecting our freedoms (avoiding City Mandates for masks, vaccines, etc.); water quality issues; beach renourishment, and
- Safety — invest in our emergency preparedness and public safety capabilities.
A recent City Council vote in which he disagreed with the outcome: “I disagree with government mandates (e.g., masks & vaccines)…. Many issues exist surrounding medical privacy, informed consent, and the right to privacy which includes bodily autonomy. Local decisions in these areas can adversely impact people’s health, employment, and the economy. Getting into personal information is a slippery slope that the City of Naples should not support or pursue.”
A time he led a group to bring about change: (1) A professional experience identifying the root cause of a business failure and the path forward, and developing and monitoring plans to effect change, all of which required bringing different people to bear on different elements of the plan based on skills requirements. (2) An experience as president of a social club re-opening during the pandemic, when the group decided to leave all decisions about vaccines and masks to the membership.
How would you have voted on the proposed City mask ordinance at the Dec. 21, 2020, City Council Meeting? Given the current surge in the omicron variant, would you support a City mask ordinance today?: Would have voted no then and would do so now. “I have made protecting our freedoms part of my platform and I disagree with government mandates (e.g. masks & vaccines).”
Do you support adding an item on a future agenda to consider an Ordinance designating the City of Naples a Sanctuary for the Unborn?: “I do not believe this is a City of Naples business priority therefore I oppose the proposed Ordinance… My concern is that making The City of Naples, the 1st municipality in Florida to adopt this ordinance would create a significant business distraction to our City priorities with many unforeseen implications. These unforeseen implications could be costly and time-consuming. I have engaged in dialogue with the opposing group leaders and shared my concerns transparently. I am always open to further discussion on this most important topic.”
Beth Petrunoff, 58, grew up in Northeast Ohio where her father developed and patented wastewater management solutions. She says a clean environment and an extraordinary quality of life is something she has always valued.
After graduating from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, she joined GE, where she worked with some of the world’s largest retailers in North America, Europe, and Asia before retiring as a Vice President of GE Capital.
She moved to Naples from New Canaan, CT, in 2008, and became a full-time resident two years ago, joining three generations of family here.
- Naples Plan 2030 — the Comprehensive Plan was drafted and approved in 2009. It is aspirational and has generally served the City well, but is in need of serious updating in form and substance.
- Low Impact Development (LID) — in its broadest sense, LID must be incorporated into a Naples’ updated Comprehensive Plan.
- Leverage Technology for a Better Naples — we need to bring on board a high caliber Chief Technology Officer who lives and breathes ‘Naples’ and who has a holistic view of technological impact and potential for our community.
Petrunoff’s responses to my candidate questions are here. I’ve edited them for brevity, so I encourage you to read them in their entirety. Of note:
Three things she wants to accomplish if elected:
- Update the Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use and Transportation Elements to reflect the priorities of the City Vision Statement,
- Hire a City Manager with outstanding leadership skills, and
- Accelerate the lakes, bays, and gulf water remediation initiatives.
A recent City Council vote in which she disagreed with the outcome: Council’s approval of the Neapolitan Publix “without requiring the fullest compliance with the new stormwater standards. The City went through the effort to engage the public in developing these new standards. We must have the resolve to make sure they are followed to improve water quality.”
A time she led a group to bring about change: As VP of client marketing, she was charged to “build a better credit card product” with one of the world’s largest retailers. “Through a great deal of teamwork, including complex qualitative and quantitative nationwide consumer research, we built and launched a value proposition shoppers wanted…. [We] built a high-performance team with a shared mission, trusted each other, did extensive research to understand what would drive behavioral change, created a roadmap for rollout, and had measurements in place to gauge success.”
How would you have voted on the proposed City mask ordinance at the Dec. 21, 2020, City Council Meeting? Given the current surge in the omicron variant, would you support a City mask ordinance today?: “It is difficult to know how I would have voted last year as I don’t know all of the information City Council had at that point in time. How I would approach the decision going forward: First, I would rely on the most up-to-date data available, what our medical professionals and the scientific community are telling us. Then I would evaluate what processes would be required to implement the decision…. Given the difficulties in implementing and enforcing a mask mandate and the high vaccination rate in Naples, it does not seem that a mask mandate would deliver significant benefits for our community. Of course, nothing would prevent a business from requiring masks if they chose to do so.”
Do you support adding an item on a future agenda to consider an Ordinance designating the City of Naples a Sanctuary for the Unborn?: “I would not support investing time at city council meetings debating issues that are outside of the City Vision Statement. Further, it is not useful to have policies or statutes at the city level that conflict with federal law.”
According to a campaign mailer, Petrunoff has been endorsed by co-candidate Hutchison, former City Councilmember Linda Penniman, current Councilmember Mike McCabe, CRA Board Chairman Quenby Tyler, and a number of Naples residents and former co-workers.
Ian Rudnick, 39, has lived in Collier County since he was nine years old, except while attending Florida Atlantic University, from which he received a B.A. in Criminal Justice. He also earned certification through the Southwest Florida Public Service Academy and, more recently, completed training through the Homeland Security Task Force Officer Course.
Rudnick had a nearly 17-year career in various roles as a Law Enforcement Officer with the City of Naples Police Department. For the last eight years, he has been a Real Estate Sales Associate with Premiere Plus Realty Co.
He supports “maintaining Naples’ “small town” character, clean water, good environmental stewardship, improving stormwater management, etc.,” his website says. But “we need to confront head-on the fact that our City government needs fixing, and it is critical that the City Council be instrumental and supportive in rebuilding and then retaining a strong staff,” beginning with hiring an experienced City Manager.
His platform consists of:
- Serving the community — served as a Law Enforcement Officer with the City of Naples Police Department for nearly 17 years and knows the City well.
- United by a common goal — to give our citizens in the City of Naples a united voice.
Rudnick’s responses to my candidate questions are here. I’ve edited them for brevity, so I encourage you to read them in their entirety. Of note:
Three things he wants to accomplish if elected:
- Identify an experienced City Manager [position currently held by an Interim manager].
- Ensure that the Council meetings are run more efficiently, that the citizens of Naples really have an opportunity to attend and be heard, and that needed decisions are made on a timely basis.
- Retain key staff members, through competitive salary and benefit packages, growth potential and a positive, healthy working environment.
A recent City Council vote in which he disagreed with the outcome: Council’s failure to work with former City Manager Charles Chapman and subsequent Interim City Manager Dana Souza, to keep them in their leadership roles. “I do not believe that losing either of them was in the best interest of the city.”
A time he led a group to bring about change: “I led the Naples Police Department SWAT Team toward growing into a premier tactical team that protects the residents and visitors to the City of Naples. I also worked toward getting the Naples Police Department to assign Detectives to the Statewide Narcotics Task Force and Homeland Security Task Force so that our city would have the additional resources (personnel, equipment, and funding) to better serve our community.”
How would you have voted on the proposed City mask ordinance at the Dec. 21, 2020, City Council Meeting? Given the current surge in the omicron variant, would you support a City mask ordinance today?: Addressing a vote that happened, while I was not sitting on council … would be careless. To address what may occur in the future, prior to getting the same broad spectrum of input would also be careless.
Do you support adding an item on a future agenda to consider an Ordinance designating the City of Naples a Sanctuary for the Unborn?: “I oppose the ordinance on the grounds that it is not an issue that should be addressed by a municipality, but rather by a larger governing body.”
Here are the monetary contributions and expenditures reported by each candidate, according to their most recent campaign treasurer’s reports:
I reviewed all the campaign contribution reports online through 1/14/22 and found the following of interest:
Christman received 43 contributions of the maximum $1,000, all from individuals, including former Naples City Councilmember Linda Penniman, fellow candidate Beth Petrunoff, and Harry Criswell of Naples (see below).
Dugan received 18 $1,000 contributions, including one from Villa Raphael Hldgs LLC, an owner of condominiums at Naples Bay Resort. He also made a $15,000 “Other” type of contribution to his campaign.
Hutchison received 57 contributions of $1,000, including from fellow candidate Beth Petrunoff; Jeffrey Heitmann (husband of Naples Mayor Teresa Heitmann); Lotus Construction (a luxury home builder in Naples, FL); a 7-Eleven retail store in Irving, TX; and South Florida Franchise Owner Association of 7-Eleven (Delray Beach, FL). He also received $1,000 each from Harry and Laura Criswell of Naples, and four other individuals and four auto dealerships with “Criswell” in their name. The Criswells had long sought a zoning variance from the City and had also sued the City in a related matter. City Council met in a closed executive session on 5/5/21 to discuss settlement negotiations and strategy related to litigation expenditures in connection with the case; a settlement was subsequently agreed to by both parties.
Petrunoff received 27 contributions of $1,000, including from former Naples City Councilmember Linda Penniman and from Harry Criswell of Naples (see above).
Rudnick received 17 contributions of $1,000, including three from Realtors Political Action Committee, one each from Naples City Councilmember Gary Price and from The Scottsdale Co (residential building construction industry), and two $500 contributions from the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 38 (Naples, FL).
The Gulf Shore Association of Condominium Owners held a candidate forum on Dec. 16. Watch a recording of the forum here; read the Naples Daily News’ summary of the forum here. Read well-written summaries of interviews of each candidate by a GSAC member here.
The League of Women Voters of Collier County, in partnership with Naples Better Government, the Collier Citizens Council, and Greater Naples Leadership, will host a VIRTUAL candidate forum on Jan. 13. It will be live-streamed as well as recorded for future viewing. Find more information here.
Each of the five candidates has different skills, abilities, work and life experience, values, and views of the role of government. The top three vote-getters, along with Mayor Heitmann and Councilmembers Blankenship, McCabe, and Perry, will directly shape the future direction of the City.
I urge all City of Naples voters to register and vote in this important election. If you have questions about any of the candidates, I urge you to contact them directly. If you have questions or need additional information about the election itself, visit the City of Naples elections website or call 239-213-1015.