The tradition is building.
For the second year in a row, the most-senior member of the commission unanimously was chosen to be the mayor of Longboat Key.
This year, in his last year of his third and final term as a commissioner, George Spoll was elected by all of his peers to be the mayor of Longboat Key at the March 22 Town Commission statutory meeting.
Once he was sworn in and after taking his new seat at the center of the dais, Spoll thanked everyone for their support.
“This new commission, I am confident, shall honor and maintain the beauty and integrity of this community,” said Spoll, who received applause from the standing-room only crowd of approximately 60 people. “Now it’s time to move forward with the important matters before us on our plate. The people of Longboat Key deserve no less.”
Commissioner Robert Siekmann nominated Spoll for the mayor’s chair.
“I wish to nominate George Spoll as mayor in the spirit of the tradition developing in this town that says the most senior member of this commission who has not served as mayor would be the person of choice for the next year,” Siekmann said.
Spoll was elected unanimously; there were no other nominations.
New District 1 Commissioner Lynn Larson nominated Commissioner Jim Brown to be the town’s vice mayor, while at-large Commissioner Hal Lenobel nominated Siekmann to be vice mayor for the third consecutive year.
But when the votes started mounting for Brown, Siekmann voted for Brown as well, and Lenobel asked the town clerk to make the record reflect a unanimous vote for Brown.
The town’s new mayor and vice mayor will serve one-year terms.
At the meeting, new District 3 Commissioner David Brenner and Larson, as well as incumbent commissioners Lenobel and Siekmann, were sworn in for two-year terms.
Meanwhile, former Mayor and District 1 Commissioner Lee Rothenberg’s farewell speech was met with thunderous applause and a standing ovation for his more than five years of service.
Said Rothenberg: “It has been a privilege and an honor to serve as mayor the past year and as a commissioner for more than five years. It’s no secret I love Longboat Key and everything I have done as a civil servant was done with the citizens’ best interest in mind.”
Rothenberg, an avid tennis player at the Longboat Key Public Tennis Center, received laughs from the audience when he announced plans for more tennis lessons, with the intent to become a professional and begin entering tournaments this summer.
Outgoing District 3 Commissioner Peter O’Connor was absent from the meeting.
On Sunday, O’Connor sent an e-mail to commissioners, the town attorney and some members of the town staff, with the words “BT” included in the text, with a line above the two letters.
O’Connor, a retired naval officer, appears to have been saying farewell by using a military acronym that means “Break Transmission,” which is used to mark the end of a message.
Contact Kurt Schulteis at email@example.com.