Planning and Zoning Board Vice Chairman Ken Schneier qualifies for a vacancy soon to be left by Mayor Terry Gans.
Ken Schneier and his wife, Cynthia Craig, weren’t sure what to do with their new house.
He wasn’t convinced that he’d never go back to work after leaving Bank of America in the wake of the recession, and Craig still enjoyed her work as a trial lawyer in New York, Schneier said, but she was getting a bit tired of it.
The two weeks in July 2009 he said they spent closing on their new Bay Isles home, however, made the choice obvious.
“It was so great that she decided then and there that she was going to stop working, and we’re just going to move,” Schneier said.
Now, eight years later, Schneier, 65, has qualified as a candidate for the District 3 commission seat to be left vacant by Mayor Terry Gans, who has reached his term limit.
"...you need to expand your mind and be flexible in order to take in all those pieces of the puzzle and try to make them fit together."
Schneier said he’s always been a problem solver. Since he was never good with math or science, he said he’d known since he was young that law was the most natural course for him.
But he knew he wasn’t going to get into Yale Law, where he completed his undergraduate degree in English and now serves as a director for the local Alumni Association. So he said he decided Cornell’s small size and beautiful campus would be best for him.
Schneier was never much interested in trial work, he said: So after two years in labor law, where he often defended management in equal opportunity lawsuits, he left for a small, general practice office in Morristown, N.J.
That’s where he met Craig for a second time.
You see, they grew up in New Jersey and were secondary-school friends. He asked her to lunch one afternoon, Schneier said, and the rest is history. They’ve been married for 35 years.
Schneier had taken all kinds of cases at Dillon, Bitar & Luther LLC, where he’d ascended to partner in his 10 years there, but most of his work was transactional, he said.
In 1989, while raising two boys, RD Smith & Co. in New York City, asked him to join its ranks. Schneier worked there for a couple years when an owner left and he became part owner and president of the firm, then renamed BDS Securities Corp.
Bank of America made him an offer after a few years at the “small research boutique,” he said, to do the same work internationally. In that job he traveled often to Europe and Asia, business trips he said he supplemented with international vacations with his family.
Schneier said that all his life he’s been interested in solving problems. Each step in his career has offered him new and interesting puzzles — including his work as vice chairman for the Longboat Key Planning and Zoning Board — a trend he hopes to continue on the Town Commission, he said.
“The issues are not simple,” Schneier said. “They’re complicated and they involve many people and their logic and their emotions, and you need to expand your mind and be flexible in order to take in all those pieces of the puzzle and try to make them fit together.”