Mayor Lee Rothenberg and Commissioner Hal Lenobel have both declined an invitation by the Longboat Key Public Interest Committee (PIC) to attend a breakfast meeting Saturday, Feb. 13, to help the committee decide which candidates to support in the March 16 election.
Both commissioners claim PIC is biased and unable to render fair decisions.
Rothenberg replied to the e-mail invitation sent by PIC President Beverly Shapiro Jan. 25, giving a list of reasons why he won’t attend.
Rothenberg said that members of the PIC board are actively working with candidates for the upcoming election.
Wrote Rothenberg: “Since this is being done before PIC’s endorsement, these people have obviously already made their choices. PIC is not impartial.”
Rothenberg also expressed displeasure with Shapiro and members of PIC, who made known their dismay last month with Rothenberg’s decision to run for an additional term.
“PIC board members have made it clear that they do not approve of my candidacy and obviously will not vote for me,” Rothenberg wrote.
Lenobel responded to PIC’s request by saying that years ago, PIC and its members never took a stance on a candidate until after their interview.
Shapiro said she was disappointed in the responses made by both commissioners.
“We didn’t oppose Rothenberg, we opposed the ordinance change that allowed him to run for more than six years of service,” Shapiro said.
Although Shapiro admits that some PIC members are already individually showing support for candidates, she said the PIC board makes its own decisions.
“If PIC board members are supporting a candidate individually, they abstain from voting for that candidate as a board member,” Shapiro said. “We are fair and balanced without question.”
Contact Kurt Schultheis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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