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AM election makes New York news

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

Anna Maria has certainly received its share of publicity of late, particularly in tourism and wedding magazines, on websites and in newspaper articles.

The city probably got publicity it didn’t want or need June 17 when the New York Daily News ran a story about the lack of a candidate for mayor in the November city election

The article, some of which was taken from The Islander’s June 13 issue, said it was the first time in the town’s history, which incorporated in 1923, that there was no candidate for mayor.

Several people interviewed for the story, such as Sandy Rich of Anna Maria, said they were surprised no one stepped forward to qualify. Others said they didn’t think the job paid enough, and was too demanding for many people with a fulltime job elsewhere.

Following publication of the story, Mayor Mike Selby said he had calls from several New Yorkers asking if they could move to Anna Maria and be the mayor.

“One lady said it looks so lovely here, she wanted to know when she could start,” Selby said.

Selby said he informed all the callers that the nomination period had ended.

Selby said he believes the job of Anna Maria mayor requires too much time for the benefits.

“What’s needed is a city manager,” he said.

Selby and former mayor-now Commissioner SueLynn agree that being mayor of a barrier island resort city is a fulltime position and the annual salary of $9,600 is not sufficient compensation. During her tenure, SueLynn lobbied commissioners for a city manager, but the proposal was turned down by successive commissions.

Previous commissions the past few years have discussed raising the salaries of both the mayor and commissioners, but no action has been taken.

Any resolution raising the salaries would not take effect until a new commission is sworn into office.

The city hasn’t raised its pay for the mayor or commissioners — $4,800 annually —since the 1990s, a fact the Daily News also noted.

For city and county commissioners and the mayor of various municipalities, the base annual salary is:

• Holmes Beach mayor, $12,000; commissioner, $6,000.

• Bradenton Beach mayor, $9,600; commissioner, $4,800.

• Bradenton mayor, $56,865; council member, $29,034.

• Longboat Key mayor $0; council member, $0.

• Palmetto mayor $39,783; council member, $7,723.

• Manatee County commissioner $74,807

Manatee County commissioners can raise their annual salary during budget hearings, but the raise does not go in effect until the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

Longboat Key’s charter does not provide compensation for the mayor or commissioners.

For the three Island cities, salary increases are approved by the commission, but raises do not take effect until the official is newly sworn into office.

The salaries for elected officials in Anna Maria and Bradenton Beach have not been increased in more than a decade, while Holmes Beach commissioners voted several years ago to raise their salary and that of the mayor.

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