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Longboat Key Monday, Apr. 19, 2021 1 year ago

Merrigan appointed to fill Longboat commission vacancy

Commissioners also considered Gene Jaleski and Christopher Carman.
by: Mark Bergin Staff Writer

Maureen Merrigan was the Longboat Key Town Commission's unanimous choice Monday to fill the  District 5 seat left vacant by the resignation last month of Ed Zunz.

The Longboat Key North group co-chair's term will run to March 2022, when an election will be held to determine who will finish out the remainder of Zunz's term. Merrigan said her connection to District 5 issues likely turned the corner for her selection.

Newly-appointed District 5 commissioner Maureen Merrigan’s term runs through March 2022. She fills the vacancy left by Ed Zunz.

“My experience with the commission in the past on issues that we brought forward of Longboat Key North,” she said. “The fact that I’ve chaired Longboat Key North and been very involved with those issues. We’ve worked with a number of departments, and I think people see me as action-oriented, thoughtful [and] I do my homework.”

The Town Commission also considered applications from former commissioner Gene Jaleski and campaign consultant Christopher Carman.

Neither Jaleski or Carman received nominations from commissioners. Carman said it surprised him.

Christopher Carman said he plans to run for the District 5 seat again in March 2022.

“I guess I just don’t play golf with the right people on the right golf course,” Carman said.

Carman said he plans to run for the District 5 seat in March 2022 to finish the term, which runs through March 2023. Jaleski left Town Hall once Merrigan was sworn in.

“This was a quick action, but I’m not sure anyone in, certainly, the time I’ve been familiar here has been recommended so many times or requested so many times to fill a seat up here, so it will be great to have you with us,” Mayor Ken Schneier said.

Merrigan said she would like to continue to be involved in the Longboat Key North community group, which represents more than 800 households in 24 condo and homeowner associations. However, she said she will likely step aside as co-chair.

“I need to get a perspective in terms of what’s appropriate in terms of being on the board or not being on the board,” Merrigan said. “My sense is I’ll step aside. We have a great number of qualified people that can take the co-chair role.”

Former Longboat Key commissioner Pat Zunz serves as the other Longboat Key North co-chair.

“It’s a great honor,” Merrigan said of getting appointed to the Town Commission. “It’s a great key and it’s a great place to serve as a commissioner.”

Merrigan said she would begin to review the feedback from Monday’s Goals and Objectives meeting to look at the town’s long-term issues.

“We have to start to think about what will people in the 40s and 50s want 10 years from now from the Key if they are our purchasers and our eventual residents?” Merrigan said. “There [are] short term issues for sure, but I think really looking at long-term issues that make this key viable and attractive to the next generation of residents.”

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Mark Bergin is the Longboat Key Town Hall reporter for the Observer. He has previously worked as a senior digital producer at WTSP, the CBS affiliate in St. Petersburg. Mark is a graduate of the University of Missouri and grew up in the Chicagoland area.

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