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Sarasota County and city officials discussed Sunshine laws, Sarasota 2050 and term limits during a Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce event.
Sarasota Monday, Dec. 2, 2013 7 years ago

Term limits and Sunshine highlight Chamber luncheon

by: Alex Mahadevan News Innovation Editor

Three of the newest local municipal leaders tackled controversial government topics with members of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce during Engage Sarasota programming Monday, Dec. 2.

Sarasota County Commissioner Charles Hines, Sarasota City Commissioner Susan Chapman and Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin spoke to a roundtable of local business leaders about Sarasota 2050, a pending Sunshine lawsuit against Chapman and the negative effects of term limits.

"In four years if I run (for County Commission) again I will be the only returning commissioner," Hines said. "That's a huge brain drain and history loss."

Commissioners are expected to serve on boards overseeing complex issues, such as the Sarasota-Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization, which may take years to fully understand. "I think statewide term limits have weakened us," Hines said.

Chapman took time to volley criticism at Citizens for Sunshine, which has sued the freshman commissioner for her role in a meeting the group says violated Sunshine laws. The group has made it difficult to connect with constituents and could be violating the First Amendment "right of people to peacably assemble," Chapman said.

First Presbyterian Church Rev. Dr. Glen Bell asked Barwin how he has dealt with recent criticism regarding the Sunshine suit — particularly from Sarasota Mayor Shannon Snyder.

"Sometimes you've just got to let stuff roll off your back like water off a duck," Barwin said.

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