The City Commission unanimously selected Jen Ahearn-Koch to serve as mayor for the next year during an annual statutory meeting today.
Ahearn-Koch, an at-large commissioner elected in 2017, will take over the position from outgoing Mayor Liz Alpert. The city’s mayor position is a ceremonial role responsible for leading commission meetings.
Commissioner Shelli Freeland Eddie, who represents District 3, was selected as vice mayor in a 4-1 vote. Commissioner Hagen Brody cast the lone dissenting vote.
Before the selection of the new mayor, Alpert gave the annual State of the City address. Alpert’s remarks focused largely on the planning efforts ongoing in the city during a period of growth. Alpert said she hears concern from residents who fear an increase in population and development is happening unchecked, but she believes those fears are unfounded.
Alpert highlighted an ongoing transportation master planning process and the establishment of a parks and recreation district as she discussed the city’s strategies for maintaining quality of life for residents as Sarasota undergoes change. She encouraged the public to think of the activity taking place in the city as proof of Sarasota’s dynamism.
“There is no way to stop the growth unless you have a dying city, and that’s not what we are,” Alpert said.