Anna Maria fills commission vacancy in ‘short’ order

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Anna Maria resident Mark Short, a retired accountant, asks city commissioners Sept. 26 to appoint him to fill a commission seat vacated by Brian Seymour. Islander Photos: Ryan Paice

The wait for a new Anna Maria city commissioner proved short.

City commissioners unanimously voted Sept. 26 to appoint five-year resident Mark Short, a retired accountant and member of the city’s planning and zoning board, to serve the remainder of Brian Seymour’s commission term. Short resigned his post on the P&Z board the same night.

Seymour resigned in August after commissioners vote against an amendment to the city’s liquor ordinance that would have allowed him to open a liquor store on Pine Avenue.

The new store was planned for an empty storefront near the Anna Maria General Store, 503 Pine Ave., which Seymour owns.

Two applicants — Short and 39-year resident Jack Bergbom — applied for the seat, but only Short attended the meeting.

The commission gave Short an opportunity to make his case for an appointment before they voted.

He said he worked to become involved in the community after he moved to Anna Maria, including serving on the P&Z board, as well as earlier in the year on the charter review committee.

“In addition to my finance background, probably one other comment I would make is that being a newer resident of the city of Anna Maria, I think that I have a perspective that hopefully would be thoughtful,” he said.

“No offense to current commissioners, but having ‘new blood,’ if you will, and a newer perspective, I think would be beneficial,” Short added.

After hearing from Short, commissioners Carol Carter, Doug Copeland, Amy Tripp and Dale Woodland ranked the applicants.

Short was the first choice for the four seated commissioners.

City clerk Leanne Addy administered the oath of office to Short following the vote, and he joined the commission on the dais for the remainder of the meeting — after resigning from the P&Z board.

Short will serve until November 2020, when his one-year term will come up for election.

“It feels great,” Short said. “I think, for me, it’s about being a part of and participating in things that are important to the city.”

“I’m just really looking forward to just being a part of that and contributing what I can,” he continued.