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Longboat Key Tuesday, Mar. 19, 2019 1 year ago

Spoll, Zunz again voted into Longboat Key leadership roles

Haycock sworn in as latest Town Commission takes shape.
by: Eric Garwood Managing Editor

Town Commissioners George Spoll and Ed Zunz were re-elected to their leadership roles on the Town Commission on Tuesday morning in the same ceremony that officially seated Mike Haycock as an at-large member on the Town Hall dais.

Commissioner Jim Brown, who has served the city for a decade as a member of the Planning and Zoning Board, as a commissioner and as mayor, stepped down and thanked his colleagues while acknowledging work remains to be done as a private citizen. 

The town's Statutory Meeting is the first public meeting held after an election to certify voting results, swear in newly elected members and choose colleagues as mayor and vice mayor. Commissioner Jack Daly nominated Spoll and Zunz for second years in the roles. No one else was nominated.

"I thank you, gentlemen,'' Spoll said after a voice vote officially solidified his role for the coming 12 months.

Spoll and Daly had no opposition for re-election and began their new two-year terms. Haycock likewise will serve until 2021. Commissioners next March will be the first to be elected to three- year terms. A charter amendment passed earlier this month in townwide elections made that change, while also reducing term limits from three to two. 

Spoll, who was also mayor in 2010 and replaced by Brown, said he's been told he's a better mayor than commissioner. The mayor is essentially the chairman of the board, ensuring Town Commission meetings proceed properly. 

"I really do enjoy it,'' he said, referring to his decades of experience in the private sector running meetings. "As I see it, it's my job to make sure everyone takes part in the conversation.''

 Brown initially qualified to run for re-election in 2019 but removed himself from the race for the at-large seat in early December. In stepping away from the town commission after 10 years in elected public office, including a four-year stint as mayor that ended in 2015, he said he looked forward to helping the town work its way through the planning and development of the proposed Arts, Culture and Education Center.

Jim Brown thanks his colleagues after stepping away from public service with the Town Commission.

To a man, each Commissioner took a turn thanking Brown for his service and in many cases inspiring them to serve and making the town better. "Longboat Key is Longboat Key because of Jim Brown,'' Commissioner Irwin Pastor said.

"I appreciate all of the nice things that have been said, a lot  of them I don't remember,'' he said after Spoll awarded him a plaque for his service. "I won't really say it was fun, but I have learned a lot and I have been happy to have served, and I mean that.''

Haycock, a 22-year resident of Longboat Key, took his seat as Brown sat in the gallery for the remainder of the ceremony. He said he was looking forward to getting right to work -- in fact, later in the day on Tuesday, the Commission returned for a workshop that dealt with two hot-button issues: parking in Longbeach Village and the proposed size of streetlights in the town's underground utilities plan.

"I used to run a big company, and with that, they taught me some leadership skills but also a lot of problem-solving skills and how to listen,'' he said. "We're gonna be dealing with a couple issues this afternoon ... and those are all classic things that you want to listen to everyone on one hand but on the other hand, look to the future. and see if we can find the right balance.''


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