+ City settles State Street Sunshine complaint
The city has entered a settlement with Citizens for Sunshine that allows the city to move ahead with a State Street public garage project.
On April 23, Citizens for Sunshine made a settlement offer to the city of Sarasota concerning the complaint involving the selection of a contractor for the public parking garage.
Citizens for Sunshine filed a complaint in March alleging a violation of the Sunshine Law in the city’s selection of a construction and design firm slated to build the new public parking garage on State Street.
The legal action alleged the scoring and ranking of bidders on the proposed construction of the $7.3 million State Street parking garage was changed and occurred out of the Sunshine and without notice to the public, according to a press release Citizens for Sunshine sent March 12. Using the Public Records Act, Citizens for Sunshine obtained scoresheets ranking the bidders that indicated bid scores were crossed out and altered.
City Attorney Bob Fournier said the issue arose when the scoresheet for A.D. Morgan was changed due to an inadvertent city staff error when points were not added during the previous meeting for A.D. Morgan being a minority business enterprise (MBE). City staff then added in the missing points, a change that moved up A.D. Morgan’s ranking in the selection process.
After the lawsuit was filed, the selection committee re-convened March 15 at a meeting held in the Sunshine to “cure” the previous violation. The calculations were then explained in an open public meeting, according to an email update from Fournier to city commissioners.
On April 23, Citizens for Sunshine representatives offered to dismiss the lawsuit if the city provides a training session on the Sunshine Law to the city’s purchasing division staff within two months and pay the plaintiffs’ attorney’s fee and costs (of $10,692).
The settlement would allow the parking-garage project to move forward.
“It has been settled, and the stipulation has been signed,” said City Attorney Bob Fournier. “The project can go on.”
+ Village Association names its new officers and board
At their regular meeting, Tuesday, May 7, members of the Siesta Key Village Association elected their new president, officers and board of directors. The new officers are President Cheryl Gaddie, Vice President Kay Kouvatsos, Secretary Helene Hyland and Treasurer Roz Hyman. The new board of directors includes former President Russell Matthes, Bob Kirscher, Mark Smith, Wendall Jacobsen, Keith Cipielewski, Dave Magee, Glen Capetta, Rami Nehme, Jeff Madden and Anne Johnson.
Incoming president Gaddie says she looks forward to continuing to foster relationships within the Village and staying on top of big issues on the Key, such as the upcoming beach project and noise issues.
“My biggest immediate goal is to increase communication between the north and south ends of the Key,” she says. “It’s a small island, and everyone needs to know what’s going on.”
She says the role of president is made easier by the quality of her fellow SKVA members.
“You have such strong leadership with the board of directors and officers,” she says. “I’m excited to work with them. It makes the role of president not so challenging.”
Meetings & Agendas
• Sarasota County Planning Commission Public Hearing — 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2, Commission Chamber, Administration Center, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota.
• Parks Recreation & Environmental Protection Board — 3 p.m. Thursday, May 16, City Hall, Commission Chambers, 1565 First St., Sarasota.
• Tourist Development Council — 4 p.m. Thursday, May 16, Sarasota County Administration Center, Commission Chambers, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota.
• Regular City Commission Meeting — 2:30 and 6 p.m. Monday, May 20, City Hall, Commission Chambers, 1565 First St., Sarasota.
• County Commission Meeting — 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 21, Sarasota County Administration Center, Commission Chambers, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota.
CORRECTION: The May 16 date for the community workshop for the proposed Hub Pub listed in the May 2 issue of the Sarasota Observer was incorrect. It already occurred.
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Third- and fourth-grade students of Temple Beth Sholom had a chance to brush up on their paleontology skills last week while digging for faux dinosaur bones.
Sound of scholars
Local students Caleb Upton and Matthew Vaadi received some help for their upcoming studies to the tune of $1,000 each from the Sarasota Chorus of the Keys. The scholarships were made possible through the Sheridan E. Brown Memorial Scholarship Fund. Both students plan to use the funds toward a career in music.
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