- November 22, 2019
Sherry Dominick is making her first run at public office after qualifying for the District 1 race. She launched her legal career in New England shortly after passing the bar exam in 1981. She's now a Realtor with Michael Saunders and Co. on the south end of the island and volunteers at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. She and her husband bought their first property on the island in 2002 and moved to the island in 2017. She sat down with Managing Editor Eric Garwood to chat recently.
What do you want the town to look like in 10 years? I would like to see the undergrounding project successfully completed, the completion of the St. Regis on the site of the old Colony and closure brought to the redevelopment of the Longboat Key Club facilities. I would like to see the serenity, natural beauty and lush landscaping of Longboat Key preserved, while permitting some intelligent, thoughtful growth of the commercial tax base. It would be ideal if cell service were reliable on all parts of Longboat. I also think that more needs to be done to ensure the safety of pedestrians crossing Gulf of Mexico Drive. The current yellow caution sidewalks are simply not completely effective. I would like to see concrete steps taken in two areas: working with governmental, private and non-profit entities to ensure that our waterways remain as free as possible from red tide and harmful algae blooms and ensuring that we have a real plan in place to deal with the serious issue of sea level rise.
How do you fit in a commission setting. What's your role? I was an attorney for 36 years in Connecticut and my area of specialization was in pension and retirement planning, employee benefits and executive compensation. I have experience working as counsel to municipalities and non-profits who were grappling with their retirement plans and employment costs. Employee costs represent a large line item of many town budgets, and transparency, accountability, flexibility and cooperation of all interested parties in controlling these costs is important. I believe I could be useful in that area. I should mention in the interest of full disclosure that I currently am a Realtor with Michael Saunders in its South Longboat office and frequently am asked questions about the Longboat real estate market.
What's one thing you think the Commission could improve upon? I think that the current Commission and staff are highly dedicated and take their respective jobs seriously. But I do think that as various commercial projects are proposed on Longboat it is essential for the Commission first to insure –without exception and free from political pressure—that the infrastructure is in place to handle the added traffic and need for parking generated by these new businesses.
Why serve? When my husband and I were working full-time and raising our children in Connecticut, we were fully occupied and had little time to volunteer. Now that we are retired, it is time to give back. I currently volunteer in the cardiac catheterization lab of Sarasota Memorial Hospital and serve on the Yale Club Suncoast board of directors. It would be an honor to serve on the Town Commission as well.
What is the best way to engage with the public and hear what the town thinks? While there are opportunities for Town residents to attend and speak at Commission meetings, and from time to time to complete citizen surveys, more can always be done to engage citizens. The Commission could arrange periodic Town Hall meetings and Commissioners of specific Districts can arrange to meet with the board of neighborhood condo associations or homeowners’ associations. Although Longboat is only 12 miles long, the neighborhoods and their specific concerns and needs are quite diverse.