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Sarasota County commissioners, school board members sworn in

Republicans take their seats on two boards.

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Sarasota County’s newest commissioners took office Tuesday in swearing-in ceremonies.

Mark Smith in District 2 and Joe Neunder in District 4 took oaths of office and joined their three new colleagues.

Both Republicans, they won their seats earlier this month in single-member district voting. Smith replaces Christian Ziegler, who chose not to run for reelection, and Neunder took the seat of Al Maio, who reaches his term limit.

According to a release from Sarasota County, Smith was born in Detroit moved to Sarasota in 1963 and graduated from Riverview High School in 1973. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Georgia Tech before returning to Sarasota with his family in 1990. In 1994, he started his own architectural firm, Smith Architects, P.A., which is located in Siesta Key Village.

Neunder, who served on the Venice City Council from 2020 through 2022, moved from Buffalo, New York, to Florida as a teenager. He swam competitively for Swim Florida and Venice High School and graduated from Pine View School.

He continued his education at Florida’s public universities and earned a Doctorate in Chiropractic Medicine from Life University in Georgia. He returned to Sarasota to open his business and raise his family following completion of his education.

In Venice, newcomers to the Sarasota County School Board Timothy Enos and Robyn Marinelli joined incumbent Bridget Ziegler in taking their seats in a ceremony held in Venice.



Eric Garwood

Eric Garwood is the managing editor of the Longboat Observer and the Sarasota Observer. Since graduating from University of South Florida in 1984, he's been a reporter and editor at newspapers in Florida and North Carolina.