Vice Mayor David Brenner will not seek a third and final two-year term in March for the District 3 seat on the Longboat Key Town Commission.
Brenner told the Longboat Observer Tuesday afternoon that he spent 10 days in France with his wife, Maggie, enjoying a summer vacation and mulling whether he wanted to spend another two years as a town commissioner.
“I was kind of leaning this way before we left on our trip,” Brenner said. “I just feel like it’s time.”
In an email he sent to Key residents and supporters Tuesday night after the regular commission meeting at Town Hall, Brenner said: “At the end of this term I will be 78 years of age. In two more years, I’ll be 80.
There are so many things I want to do with my life that remain, and taking it all up with commission business is not my first choice.”
Brenner is a Philadelphia native and certified public accountant who retired in 1983 at age 47, but he left retirement behind three years later when the mayor of Philadelphia asked him to become his director of commerce.
During his three years on staff, the city secured a lease for a developer on land that revitalized the city’s waterfront and helped relocate several failing businesses from the east side of town to secure their stability.
He returned as the city’s finance director in 1991, at a time when the city’s revenues were shrinking drastically.
Noting his past retirements in the email, Brenner said, “The common denominator in all three situations was that I was at the top of my game. I never want to leave regretting I had stayed too long.”
He and his wife bought a unit at the newly redeveloped Colony Beach & Tennis Resort in 1974 and vacationed on the Key for years. They bought their unit at the Islander Club in 1999 and became full-time residents in 2001.
Brenner got involved with town politics when he and other Islander Club residents successfully advocated for the installation of two groins to control erosion of the property’s beach. He served a three-year term on the Longboat Key Planning and Zoning Board, beginning in 2006, and eventually became its chair.
In 2010, he defeated incumbent Peter O’Connor to win the District 3 seat. He won re-election two years later, defeating challenger Ray Rajewski by just 90 votes.
Brenner was at the dais for a number of key decisions, including the 2010 approval of the Longboat Key Club and Resort’s $400 million renovation-and-expansion plan, a decision that was overturned in appeals; the approval of plans for the new 49,000-square-foot Publix; and the hiring of Town Manager Dave Bullock.
Asked about his proudest achievements in an interview last year with the Longboat Observer, he listed accomplishments such as building inroads with Sarasota and Manatee counties on the various boards he sits on and the adoption of the town’s Vision Plan.
With six months left in his final term, Brenner says, “I’m not folding up my tent yet.”
“We’ve got a lot of work to do, and I am gung ho about the work the Urban Land Institute will be starting here next month,” he said.
Brenner called ULI’s consultant work “the game plan for Longboat Key’s future for the next 20 years.”
Other Seats Up for Grabs
Town Clerk Trish Granger said interested candidates have until noon Nov. 18 to file for commission seats up for re-election in March. The following incumbents are also up for re-election in March for second-year terms:
• District 2 Commissioner Lynn Larson
• District 5 Commissioner Pat Zunz
• At-large Commissioner Terry Gans
Commissioners told the Longboat Observer it’s too soon to announce whether they are running for second terms.
Granger said neither incumbents nor challengers have expressed interest in the seats by taking out papers at Town Hall.
* District 3 Commissioner David Brenner’s seat is also available.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at firstname.lastname@example.org.