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Date of Issue: March 31, 2010

Stoltzfus pins ‘donkey’ title on AM mayor

Barford

Stoltzfus

E-mails provided by Anna Maria City Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus under a public records request reveal the commissioner has some major disagreements with how Mayor Fran Barford is administering the city and staff.

Last week, as the additional e-mails became available, an Anna Maria resident called for a Florida Attorney General investigation of Stoltzfus under open government laws and the legal expert who initiated the public records request, Michael Barfield of Sarasota, said law enforcement officials should be called upon to investigate.

Meanwhile, Stoltzfus maintained he did not violate open government laws and, in a city memo, pointed out that Barfield has a felony criminal record.

“There is nothing illegal or improper in the way I’ve conducted city business,” Stoltzfus stated in a defense to a protesting citizen. “I was elected by the majority of residents in the city because I said I would do everything in my power to fulfill the goals and the policies of our comprehensive plan.”

The commissioner’s e-mails reviewed as a result of the public records request, indicate his perception of how others in city government operate.

In a Jan. 17 e-mail to former City Commissioner Duke Miller, Stoltzfus wrote:

“Honestly, I’ve said it many times, even before I was elected, I’ve spent hours wandering around town with a tail in my hand searching for the donkey to pin it on.

“I’ve found my donkey.

“It’s Fran Barford.

“And this is what I’ve been referring to all along. Incestuous government. A total breakdown of checks and balances. A far too cozy relationship between the developers and the city, at least at the administrative level.”

In the same e-mail, Stoltzfus wrote:

“This administration doesn’t seem to care what the hell this place looks like in ten years.”

And:

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Most of the problems we’re having can be laid squarely at the mayor’s feet.

“I think before the week is over, we’re going to have her staring at her shoes.”

Stoltzfus also took issue with city planner Alan Garrett.

In a Jan. 17 e-mail, he wrote:

“It may be too soon to call for (planner Alan) Garrett’s head, but I’m not sure. The truth is, I kinda like the guy. I just think he’s incompetent.”

Stoltzfus aimed at the administration again in the Jan. 17 e-mail when he stated:

“This commissioner thing was supposed to be a part-time job, and I take it way too seriously, I guess. But my problem is, I’m pissed. This town is being railroaded by a bunch of seriously greedy bastards who are being enabled by a group of incompetents.”

Stoltzfus also indicated in a March 5 e-mail to attorney Jeremy Anderson, representing Barbara Nally, owner of a rental property on Spring Avenue, that there are people on the Island who want to overturn the planning and zoning board’s site-plan approval for 216 Pine Ave.

Stoltzfus wrote to Anderson that he’d like to join the Nallys effort to “overturn” the approval.

Anderson responded to Stoltzfus the same day, saying he discussed with Nally “your participation in the lawsuit,” but at this point “she has reservations about you assisting in the challenge.”

Anderson:

“At this point, we are unsure if at a later date your participation n this lawsuit would at some point preclude you from voting on any issue in the future related to this project. She can explain further tomorrow.”

If there were follow-up e-mails to and from Stoltzfus to Anderson or Nally on the subject of a lawsuit, they were not included in the first round of e-mails Stoltzfus delivered under Barfield’s public records request.

Barfield followed his first request with another request March 25 to Stoltzfus through the city.

“An initial analysis indicates that multiple records may be missing from Commissioner Stoltzfus’ production,” wrote Barfield.

He said there were some attachments from Stoltzfus that “cannot be opened in the manner in which they were forwarded by Commissioner Stoltzfus.

“Accordingly, I am requesting that Commissioner Stoltzfus provide the records in the original native medium that the records are maintained in.”