Less than two weeks before the May 19 balloting to recall him as mayor, Bill Shearon delineated his administration’s successes through his “State of the City” address.
Elected as Bradenton Beach mayor in November 2013, Shearon has been the subject of a lawsuit, forfeiture of office proceedings and now faces the May 19 recall election over alleged mismanagement of office.
Instead of addressing those charges, the mayor used the annual address — mandated by the city charter — to recall his accomplishments in office.
Shearon submitted his address in writing before the May 7 commission meeting. Acting clerk Terri Sanclemente read the address. Shearon has a disability that prevents him from reading normal text.
Shearon wrote he was pleased to report “the city continues to improve; particularly in the financial, legal, stormwater, computer and asset areas.”
Among the accomplishments he touted were:
“The city currently has no debt,” he said. “City assets are in excess of $9.2 million, with $1.6 million in unrestricted funds. This is a significant increase from the previous year. Actual revenue exceeded expenses by over $200,000 last year.”
The city auditor issued a “clean audit” with no material weaknesses and no audit deficiencies. “This is a marked improvement from the previous year in which we had 24 audit adjustments that caused a material weakness that violated state statute” that occurred before Shearon was elected.
Shearon said city treasurer/finance officer Sheila Dalton, hired in February 2014, provides monthly statements and budget revisions to the commission “to ensure continuing accountability.”
He added that accounting procedures have been updated and improved and outdated policies, procedures and contracts were reviewed and adjusted. This led to thousands of dollars in savings, he said.
“As in previous years, reserve funds are being used to balance the budget,” he wrote. “We cannot allow this practice to continue. Working together, the commission and city staff can bring this practice to an end.”
Regarding legal matters, Shearon wrote about his “global approach” to settling four lawsuits pending against the city. He hopes this brings “a new sense of cooperation and community spirit.
“All private participants and the commission grasped that spirit and the settlement has been reached,” he said. “This will be the first time in decades that the city has not had to defend any costly litigation.”
Shearon concluded by saying the city is moving “forward in a positive, progressive manner.” The commission and staff are “active, engaged.
“New approaches, combined with age-earned wisdom are being used to address the changes and challenges faced by our city,” he said.