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Five questions with Ken Schneier

Schneier discusses his decision to pursue a third time and his hopes for Longboat Key's future.

Ken Schneier will enter his third term on the Longboat Key Town Commission in March 2023.
Ken Schneier will enter his third term on the Longboat Key Town Commission in March 2023.
Photo by Lauren Tronstad
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Ken Schneier will enter his third term on the Longboat Key Town Commission in March 2023. 

He currently serves the town as Mayor. He has the potential of being mayor again when the commission takes their annual vote to decide who will act in the role for the next year. 

He and his wife Cynthia retired here in 2009 after a legal career in the New York area working for firms in Morristown, N.J. and Manhattan before a stint at Bank of America. 

Longboat Key Observer staff writer Lauren Tronstad sat down with Schneier recently to discuss his decision to seek a third term and his hopes for the barrier island’s future. 

What led to your decision to continue serving on the commission?

I enjoy being on the commission, and I enjoy being mayor. The only thing that made me even hesitate a little bit was the fact that we’ve now got two families outside of Denver: my two sons and daughters-in-law and our four grandchildren ranging in age from one to five. Doing as much as we do, makes it a little bit difficult for us to schedule chunks of time out there. 

What can/have you learned from Longboat Key’s past? 

There were a lot of smart things that were done in the past that we have benefitted from. Maybe the biggest one was the downzoning in the 1980s, which was designed to keep us from looking like Fort Lauderdale and it succeeded. Another was to early on put limits on short term rentals, which has made us different from Anna Maria Island and Siesta Key. Now, if you want to put in those kinds of restrictions, you’re not allowed to in the state. We were grandfathered in to be able to keep our rules for non-tourist properties. It makes an enormous difference. We are grateful for pieces of our history, grateful for smart things that people did before us. It makes you cognizant of wanting to preserve that goodness. 

What is Longboat Key all about?

Longboat Key is a very special residential lifestyle. As part of a vibrant, small city community, we’re close to unique in having that combination. To be so close and to have so many amenities…There are a lot of things available here, but for a small city, it’s incredible. The other thing I would say about Longboat Key in particular, unlike some other places that attract well-off people, people here don’t wear it on their sleeves for the most part. You can know someone for five years and then find out they had a tremendous history or did something spectacular, but it’s not a big deal like it is in some other places. 

How would you describe your leadership style? 

Collegial. I try not to overwhelm people, let everyone have their say, go last and try to keep things moving forward. I don’t like to have an issue that’s before us and too often say “let’s table it. Let’s workshop it.” I like to get it through as far as we can. Once everyone has had their say, what I try to do is identify what the issues are that we need to resolve before we go out the door and utilize as much of that time as we can. I like to try to make sure that each issue that is facing us, and there are a lot of them, that we just keep them moving forward. 

What is the most pressing issue for Longboat Key moving forward?

I’m not sure we have a pressing issue. If you look in Sarasota City, you might say homelessness is a big issue or affordable housing is a big issue. There are certainly big regional issues…We are fortunate in having probably no pressing issues. We do have a lot of projects that are important to us. Some of them we are in the middle of that we would like to get done, and some of them are on the brink of getting started and we want to get them started. 



Lauren Tronstad

Lauren Tronstad is the Longboat Key news reporter for the Observer. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2021. Before moving to Florida, she worked for the Columbia Daily Tribune.

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