about Bob Auwaerter
Bob was born and raised in an 18-foot wide row house in Philadelphia. He used money earned from a newspaper delivery route and an after-school job as a cashier at the A&P supermarket to buy his first car, a Chevrolet Vega. He continued working at the A&P to pay his tuition at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, which he attended while living at home. At Wharton he graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in finance.
To pursue the investment career he desired, he would need a graduate degree, and chose the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. In the year he spent there, Bob gained not only the MBA degree he wanted, but a life-long friend in his wife, Nancy. They have been married over 40 years.
After working a few years in Chicago, where he first analyzed utilities and then managed a multi-billion dollar money market fund at age 24, an opportunity arose to move nearer to family. Bob began his career at the Vanguard Group running their Prime Money Market Fund. Thirty-plus years later he was the Head of the Fixed Income Group, in charge of a global team of 120 investment professionals responsible for the investment of over $750 billion in bond and money market assets. During his career he analyzed and invested in every type of state and local government bond, gaining a strong understanding of municipal finance. The Fixed Income Analysts Society inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2012.
Even as a child Bob wanted to live by the ocean. Starting in the early 90’s Bob, Nancy and their son and daughter vacationed in Florida, keeping an eye open for a place to retire. Eventually they narrowed the search to Indian River County and purchased their home in 2011.
Bob and Nancy became full-time residents of Indian River County after retirement from Vanguard in April of 2014, and now consider this area home.
In his spare time Bob enjoys reading history, bicycling, photography, and attending classic car and air shows.
A Record of Working for Our Indian River Community
Indian River Shores Town Council: Councilman November 2016-Present Vice Mayor. November 2018-Present As part of his duties as Councilman, Bob has participated in meetings of the Indian River County Metropolitan Planning Organization, Economic Development Council, Treasure Coast Regional League of Cities and the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council.
Opponent of AAF/Brightline/Virgin Trains October 2014-Present: Have provided financial analysis and bond market expertise to County and others against high speed rail in Indian River County. Testified in Orlando in August 2015 and August 2018 at the Florida Development Finance Corporation (FDFC) hearings in opposition to Florida state issuance of private activity bonds. Took photographs that Congressman Posey used in Congressional Transportation Sub-Committee hearings in Washington DC to show the danger of high speed trains barreling through our communities. As Chairman of the Indian River County Metropolitan Planning Organization (County transportation planning agency) raised safety concerns in person with Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Thibault in June 2019 and requested his Department’s assistance. This opened up a chorus of similar concerns from Martin and St. Lucie Counties at the same meeting that it made clear to the Secretary that this issue was not going to go away without action on his part.
Vero Beach Utilities Commission: Alternate representative for Indian River Shores August 2015 Member September 2015-January 2016 Vice Chairman January 2016-July 2017 Chairman July 2017-April 2019 Vice Chairman April 2019-Present Provided financial analysis for valuation of the electric utility that showed that the the acquisition by Florida Power & Light was a good deal for both the ratepayers and the City of Vero Beach
Advocate for Sale of Vero Beach Electric Utility 2014-2018: Attended and lobbied at my own expense the Florida Municipal Power Authority (FMPA) Board of Directors in Orlando during 2017 and 2018. Testified before the Florida Public Service Commission in Tallahassee in June and October of 2018 in favor of the sale.
Indian River County School Board Audit Committee: Chairman April 2017-September 2018—Sunsetted September 2018 Since 2016 have regularly attended Indian River School Superintendent’s Workshop meetings as an interested private citizen. Assisted School District in search for new Chief Financial Officer.
Indian River County Metropolitan Planning Organization (County Transportation Planning Agency): Member November 2016-November 2018 Chairman November 2018-Present
Indian River County Property Appraiser’s Citizen Advisory Committee: Vice Chairman March -June 2019—Sunsetted June 2019
Indian River Taxpayers Association: Member 2016-Present Received “Fiscal Conservative of the Year Award” in December 2018 “in recognition of your efforts to save taxpayer dollars for all citizens of Indian River County”
Advocate in Sale of Indian River Medical Center January 2018: Testified at hearing of the IRMC and IRHC with suggestions for improvements/protections in the sale contract.
Sunshine Republican Club: Member October 2016-Present Member Board of Directors November 2017-Present
Ocean Colony Property Owners Association Board of Directors:
Member November 2014-January 2018
Treasurer January 2018-February 2020
Have occasionally helped Coastal Connections as a volunteer in cleanups and oyster mat repurposing.
Proposed the sale of the Town-owned surplus beachfront property ($4.6 MM sales price). Persuaded Council to use the money to fully fund the Public Safety Pension Fund and the Other Post-Employment Benefit (OPEB) Fund (which funds future retiree healthcare benefits) rather than do a one-time tax cut as another Councilman wanted. Results: Pension Fund as of the close of the Fiscal Year 2018 is 102% funded and the OPEB Trust is 121% funded. We were able to reduce the Town's ongoing contributions to these two Funds resulting in a cut of the Town's property tax millage rate by 19%. Money was left over to increase General Fund Reserves by over $1 million
Provided major assistance to the Town Manager in negotiating the cell tower installation.
1. Created the financial analysis that showed the sale to Florida Power & Light (FPL) made sense to the City and persuaded the other members of the Commission to vote almost unanimously (only one no vote) for the sale and give the City of Vero Beach (COVB) City Council political cover to approve the sale.
2. Travelled to Orlando at my own expense to Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) meetings to build good will with them to help affect the sale.
3. Travelled to Tallahassee to testify twice before the Florida Public Service Commission in favor of the COVB-FPL deal.
Committee recommended that the method used to compensate the District's contracted insurance broker be changed to more align his pay with the District's goals. Based on information I gathered regarding School Board attorney compensation in other counties, we recommended that the School Board attorney contract (which currently pays $264,000 a year plus expenses) be put out to bid to see if we could save the School District. Sadly, the previous Board ignored these recommendations but I was given the opportunity to bring them up again with the new Board. Personally I have made the case in School Board meetings that there is a lack of transparency from the Board and the Administration regarding the last two Tax Anticipation Note (TAN) financings. I also assisted the Superintendent in interviewing Chief Financial Officer candidates.
1. Made a presentation to this Council (whose members are from Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties) about safety issues regarding Virgin Trains transiting through Stuart, Vero Beach, and Melbourne downtowns. Drove to Orlando twice to speak in front of the Florida Development Finance Corporation (the entity that is the issuing conduit for the Virgin Trains tax-exempt bonds) on the same issue.
2. Obtained a police safety equipment grant (approximately $2000) from this Council for Indian River Shores.
3. Worked with the Executive Director to restructure how they invest their short-term reserves to increase their interest income (based on my past work at Vanguard).
At a meeting in June 2019 with the FDOT Secretary of Transportation I raised the issue of safety of Virgin Trains traveling through our County at high speeds. This opened up a chorus of similar concerns from Martin and St. Lucie Counties at the same meeting that it made clear to the Secretary that this issue was not going to go away without action on his part.
The Committee suggested best practices to the Property Appraiser regarding purchasing polices, hiring practices, and communications to the public.
Suggested that our County take control of the Osceola County traffic lights on State Route 60 by the Florida Turnpike to facilitate traffic flow during hurricane evacuations. This was implemented during Hurricane Dorian. As a result of my presentation, FDOT will restripe the Route 60 bridge over the Turnpike to add a second westbound lane.