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Town appoints board members, alternate special magistrate

The town entered a contract with Trask Daigneault LLP for three lawyers to serve as alternate special magistrates as needed.

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  • | 5:00 a.m. November 11, 2022
  • Longboat Key
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The town made appointments to fill seats on the Planning and Zoning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment at Monday's Town Commission meeting. Additional special magistrates have also been added to the town's payroll in hopes of keeping a consistent meeting schedule when the previously single magistrate is unable to oversee hearings. 


Board appointments 

One seat on both the Planning and Zoning Board and the Zoning Board of Adjustment are being vacated, leaving the responsibility of filling the seats in the hands of commissioners. 

Two individuals were reappointed to their seats on the Consolidated Retirement System Board. 

Frank Cona and Andrew Sawyer were awarded the extra time to serve in their positions. Cona has served on the board since September 2014. Sawyer has served since September 2016. 

On the Planning and Zoning Board, one vacancy was posted for a partial term until May 14, 2025. Eddie Abrams, Steven Berling and Ronald Ginsberg submitted applications for the seat. Ginsberg was selected to fill the vacancy. 

Ginsberg is a retired physician specializing in gastroenterology. He spent his career in Maryland before retiring to Longboat Key. 

The Zoning Board of Adjustment also had a single vacancy for a partial term ending May 10, 2023. 

Abrams, Berling, Ginsberg and Philip Deming sent applications for the role. Berling was selected by commissioners. 

Berling, like Ginsberg, had a career in the health care field. He served in executive roles in Sarasota, Tampa and in California before moving back to retire on Longboat Key. 

Berling is a retired health care executive and served as vice president at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in the 1980s. He also served in executive roles in Tampa and California before moving back to retire on Longboat Key. 

No applications were received for the vacancy on the Citizens’ Oversight Committee for Public School Facility Planning. The town plans to continue advertising the vacancy. 

Newly appointed and reappointed board members will be able to participate in meetings as early as this month. 


Alternate special magistrate 

The Longboat Key Town Commission approved an alternate special magistrate to help alleviate the need for canceling meetings when the previously only special magistrate was unable to attend meetings due to other commitments. 

The town’s current special magistrate, Milan Brkich, will remain as the town’s primary. His contract has been extended through June 2023 and subject to additional renewal through June 2024. 

Brkich has monthly meetings to hear cases of code violations that have been frequent and lasting enough to warrant a special hearing on the issue. 

The amount of issues that go before the special magistrate has decreased following the recent passage of an ordinance that moved certain violations to the list of those that can be enforced by a citation alone, rather than making its way through the process ending in a hearing. 

Some violations on the list include short term rentals, dogs or cats on the beach and turtle-protection regulations.

The new special magistrate has been hired from the firm Trask Daigneault LLP, which is based out of Pinellas County, for services. The town’s contract shows the lawyer will be paid $275 an hour, the same rate as Brkich. 

The firm identified three lawyers who could serve in the role as needed. 


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