3 of 4 Holmes Beach incumbents confirm re-election plans

Four positions on the Holmes Beach City Commission will be up for grabs in the Nov. 7 election, and at least three incumbents will run for re-election.

Terms expire in November for Commissioners Marvin Grossman, Jean Peelen, Pat Morton and Carol Soustek. Morton, Soustek and Grossman have confirmed they will run again. Peelen said she is undecided.

Three seats are for two-year terms, while one seat is for a year. The top votegetter for the three seats, as well as for the one-year seat — separate choices on the ballot — will take office.

Grossman said he would run for the shorter term to atone for a mistake made during qualifying in 2015.

Grossman was appointed to his seat by the commission after missing the deadline to run for office in the last election cycle, which is why his term is one year.

“I’m going for the one-year term,” Grossman said. “I caused the problem.”

Grossman can choose to run for the one-year term, per chief deputy Sharon Stief of the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections office and city clerk Stacey Johnston.

Grossman was elected in November 2012, re-elected in November 2014 and his one-year term now expires in November.

Grossman earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Miami.

He was an assistant professor in the art department at the University of Georgia, an associate professor in the art department at the University of South Florida and a real estate broker in Sarasota.

He is building and grounds liaison and an alternate for the ManaSota League of Cities.

Morton is a commission veteran, having been first elected in November 2003 and re-elected six times. He’s ready to run again.

“I’ve already picked up my packet and am just waiting for the qualifying period,” Morton said. “I feel like I’m serving a purpose and I’ll keep running until the purpose is served.”

Morton is a former liaison to the Center of Anna Maria Island, Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce, Keep Manatee Beautiful, Waste Management, Manatee Emergency Operation Center and the Community For Life program.

He is now city liaison to Waste Pro, the Island Emergency Operations Center and the public works emergency operations.

Soustek said she’s running because she is encouraged with what the commission has done in balancing the rights of residents versus more commercial interests such as short-term vacation rentals.

“Yes, I plan on running again,” Soustek said. “I hear people are OK with the job we’re doing so I want to continue to go along that vein, addressing the issues working toward a fair and balanced city as much as possible.”

Soustek was selected by commissioners Nov. 25, 2014, to fill the unexpired one-year term of former Commissioner David Zaccagnino and then won her own two-year term in November 2015.

Soustek attended Hillsborough Community College, majoring in computers and accounting. She worked 54 years as a corporate accountant in Tampa and Bradenton before retiring in 2006.

One commissioner is on the fence about her election plans.

“I do not yet know if I’m running,” Peelen said July 31. “I’ve not yet decided.”

Peelen said she would wait to decide until the qualifying period from Aug. 28-31-Sept. 1.

Peelen was first elected to a two-year term as city commissioner in November 2011 and re-elected in 2013 and 2015.

She was commission chair from 2012-13, then became vice chair.

Peelen graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Alabama in English and music, and a juris doctorate from the University of Alabama.

She worked 20 years as senior federal attorney/manager for the Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, three years as international broadcasting bureau chief and as an investigative consultant for nonprofit agencies.

Holmes Beach has chosen not to have early voting, according to Michael Bennett, supervisor of elections.

All commission seats are nonpartisan and represent the citywide electorate. Holmes Beach has 2,819 registered voters as of June, according to Bennett.



How to run for Holmes Beach commission

Qualifying period: Aug. 28-31-Sept. 1.

Requirements: Must be a resident two years or more before the qualifying period and a registered voter in Manatee County.

To register: Candidates must submit loyalty oath, oath of candidate and statement of financial interests, name campaign treasurer and designate campaign depository.

Qualifying fee: $60.

Other needs: Must collect 15 Holmes Beach voter signatures, file a financial statement and submit a residency affidavit.

Where to file: Deliver documents to city clerk Stacey Johnston at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive.

Compensation: $500 a month.

Election forms: Candidate packets available at city hall or download forms from Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office, votemanatee.com.

Information: 941-708-5800.

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