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Longboat Key Thursday, Sep. 19, 2019 1 month ago

Two reapply for seats on Longboat Key retirement board

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Three-year terms come up for renewal for Sawyer, Cona.
by: Sten Spinella Staff Writer

Two members of Longboat Key’s Consolidated Retirement Board of Trustees have reapplied as their three-year terms come to a close.

Frank Cona and Andrew Sawyer are part of the nine-person board with the responsibility of overseeing the retirement plans for the town’s employees.

Sawyer’s application says he has 44 years of financial experience and has spent his career in banking. He’s active with Christ Church, Rotary Club and other organizations.

Cona is the vice chair of the board and a former chair of the police pension board. “I add context for the past decisions made for the pension plans on Longboat Key,” his application reads.

Deadline to apply for consideration is 5 p.m. Sept. 18. Board members must be registered to vote in Longboat Key. The board meets at least quarterly.

Steve Branham, the board’s chair, said five people are appointed by the Town Commission from a pool of applicants, one person is appointed by the town manager, and three people are appointed by election by members of the three pension groups (police, fire and general employees).

Branham said the CRBT serves at the pleasure of the Town Commission.

“If they want to rotate people out with no malice, it’s fine; you’ve served there,” he said. “You have to reapply and go through the process after your three-year term. For instance, myself, at the end of my first three-year term, I reapplied and went through the process and they can choose to seat me, or not as a member or as the chair or whatever position they choose.”

The CRBT was created Oct. 1, 2014. Before this, the town offered separate police, fire and general employee pensions. Branham has been chair of the consolidated board since its inception.

“For a number of reasons, they decided to consolidate,” Branham said, adding the town shifted to a defined-contribution plan from a defined-benefit plan in late 2013 and early 2014. General employees and police officers joined the town’s plan while firefighters joined the state system.

Town Finance Director Susan Smith is the staff liaison to the CRBT. She said that anyone who applies to be on the board has to get some kind of education in being a trustee and what’s required of them. In fact, some members even take classes specifically for pension trustees.

Sten Spinella is a Town Hall Reporter for the Longboat Observer. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Connecticut and his master's degree from the University of Missouri. 

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