The Town Commission, which is now made up of a majority of first-term commissioners, may not be leaning toward a candidate with commission experience to replace former District 5 Commissioner Robert Siekmann.
“It may be that having experience is not a benefit to us,” said Vice Mayor David Brenner. “There is a newer bunch on the commission, and the concept of some new blood and new thoughts and new ideas are maybe what we should be thinking about.”
That line of thinking would lean toward potential candidate Pat Zunz.
Zunz, a Longboat Key Planning and Zoning Board member, is the most consistent name that keeps circulating around Town Hall for the District 5 appointment.
A Land’s End resident, Zunz was appointed to the planning board in May 2009; her current term expires May 9, 2012. Zunz is the former chairwoman of the Longboat Key Zoning Board of Adjustment and a retired landscape designer. Zunz and her husband, Ed, who currently sits on the Zoning Board of Adjustment, have been Key homeowners since 1985. Zunz was also the chairwoman of the Vision Plan Subcommittee that recently updated the town’s Vision Plan.
Zunz declined to comment on whether she would accept an appointment by the Town Commission.
Former Mayors Jeremy Whatmough and Ron Johnson have expressed an interest in being appointed to the seat vacated by Siekmann, who resigned last week after five years on the commission, by submitting a one-sentence resignation letter to Town Clerk Trish Granger.
Siekmann, who has his Land’s End home up for sale, told the Longboat Observer last week he would resign to allow the commission to develop an agenda and budget with a District 5 commissioner who would be able to serve a full term.
Mayor Jim Brown expressed disappointment with Siekmann’s resignation at last week’s regular workshop and cited Siekmann’s experience as one of the qualities that the majority of the commission would miss.
Experience is one of the qualities that neither Whatmough nor Johnson lacks.
In an e-mail sent to Brown Monday, March 28, Whatmough expressed his interest.
“The coming year will be a year of opportunity for Longboat Key to shine and move forward and to hopefully put some issues to bed,” Whatmough wrote. “I look forward to being involved in this process, whether it be the beach, the Colony’s future, Whitney Beach Plaza or the Avenue of the Flowers. A true period of opportunity for Longboat Key.”
Whatmough has been a full-time Longboat Key resident since 1996 and has six years of service to the town as a commissioner and mayor.
Whatmough served as a commissioner from 2002 to 2007 and served as mayor during his last year in office.
Meanwhile, Johnson told the Longboat Observer Monday that he also is interested in being appointed to the seat.
“I never thought I ever really wanted to do this again,” Johnson said. “But after all that’s happened, I am open to an appointment. If history is really what the commission needs, I have a lot of history.”
Johnson was a commissioner from 1998 to 2004 and served as the town’s mayor in his last year in office.
Another name being talked about is David Miller, owner of Cannons Marina, who told the Longboat Observer he would have to give an appointment to the Town Commission “considerable thought.”
“I’m still in business out here and am pretty busy,” said Miller, who said he would lean toward not accepting an appointment.
The Town Commission will make its District 5 appointment at its 7 p.m. Monday, April 4 regular meeting.
Longboat Key Planning and Zoning Board member Bradford Saivetz will not seek reappointment to the board when the Town Commission makes its board appointments at its Monday, April 4 regular meeting.
Wrote Saivetz in a letter to the town dated March 25: “It is with a deep sense of regret and futility that I must advise you that I will forego the pleasure of applying to serve a second term on the Planning and Zoning Board. In all sincerity I tried to contribute to Longboat Key my years of experience in dealing with planning-and-zoning matters, but the result was not as mutually rewarding as it was back in the real world with my client roster. I am not resigning but, God willing, will continue to serve out my current term.”
Saivetz believes his comments and suggestions during his current term were ignored and that he cannot serve as an effective board member.
The Town Commission appointed Saivetz to the board last year when Planning Board member John Redgrave resigned after an issue arose over whether his Longboat Key address was his permanent, homesteaded residence.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].