Commissioners appoint new chair, vice chair

Taking their cue from the voters who elected two new commissioners and a new mayor in Holmes Beach Nov. 6, the commission elected new leadership at its organizational meeting Nov. 19 in front a packed gallery.

        The election swept newcomers Judy Titsworth and Marvin Grossman as commissioners and Carmel Monti as mayor into office, and they took their oaths of office before the meeting from one-time mayor, Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore.

        With already-seated commissioners Pat Morton and David Zaccagnino, the commission elected Commissioner Jean Peelen, a commissioner since November 2011, as chairperson.

        The commission also elected Titsworth as vice chair.  Commissioner David Zaccagnino first nominated Commissioner Pat Morton as chairperson, but the motion failed for a second and Morton declined the nomination.

        Mayor Carmel Monti thanked Zaccagnino for his past efforts as chair and extra work during the past year.

        “We are all thrilled to be up here,” Peelen said after Zaccagnino passed the gavel to her. “We are just very excited about this opportunity that the voters have given us. You can expect us to make mistakes. We are new at it. I’m relatively new at this. The three others are new at it.”

        She also said the new commission leaders would look for guidance from the more-tenured commissioners, city attorney and city clerk on procedure and substance.

        “But hold our feet to the fire,” Peelen told the gallery. “We were elected and are up here for specific reasons. We need for you to continue to participate and be sure we do the right thing at all times.”

        The commission chair and vice chair are elected each year, and serve at the pleasure of the commission, according to the city charter. The chair directs the commission meetings and serves as deputy mayor during the temporary absence or disability of the mayor, also according to the charter.

        Monti thanked the crowd for support and said, “We will give our 200 percent, our best efforts to make you proud of us and make good on our commitments.”

        He also invited citizen input on city business. He said his door would always be open at city hall, at home and through emails.

        Bradenton Beach Mayor John Shaughnessy and County Commissioner John Chappie congratulated Monti and the new commissioners on their election.

        Shaughnessy said, “I, as mayor of Bradenton Beach, am looking forward to working and cooperating with you and to return the three senses back to our city.

         “First the sense of hearing. Listening to each others’ sides and concerns, rather than turning deaf ear. Second is common sense. That we should all use and apply to all problems and issues we encounter rather than ignoring or taking a superior or righteous attitude.

        “And lastly, no pun intended, dollars and sense, the wasteful use of taxpayers and private citizens’ hard-earned money to a means that benefits no one. Enough said about that.”

        Shaughnessy then added, with a chuckle, “You all had to be out of your minds to take on this gigantic responsibility.”

        After the meeting, resident Renee Fergusson said, “We’re very happy. I think this is going to be good for the city.”

        Recently appointed alternative planning board member Barbara Hines added, “I think there is a lot of potential for a lot of good to happen.”

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