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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Remark about mayor's 'signifcant other' deemed out of order

On every published agenda for any city commission meeting in Anna Maria or any Island city, the Pledge of Public Conduct is printed.

The pledge reads: "We may disagree, but we will be respectful of one another. We will direct all comments to the issues. We will avoid personal attacks."

When Anna Maria resident Diane Canniff spoke at the July 28 commission meeting opposing the appointment of capital improvements advisory committee member Chuck White by Mayor SueLynn as a volunteer to provide oversight of the city hall remodeling project, she said it was for reasons other than his being the mayor's "consort."

That brought the normally placid SueLynn out of her chair to forcefully object that Canniff's remarks were totally off base.

"I take exception," said an angry mayor. "That is out of order and uncalled for."

Commission Chairperson John Quam agreed and gaveled Canniff out of order.

When Canniff continued that White had misinformed the city on a tax issue, Quam asked how that was related to the appointment. White is not being paid, is serving as a volunteer and has no authority to make any changes to the remodeling plan.

Commissioners then agreed that White's appointment was an administrative matter and should never have been on the consent agenda.

The city's "point man" to oversee the remodeling project will be Building Official Kevin Donohue. CIAC Chairman Larry Albert was the mayor's first choice for oversight duty from the CIAC, but because he is unavailable in August, the selection went to White, who will only make "suggestions" to Donohue.

White and SueLynn share a home in Anna Maria.

"All due respect"
In a followup letter to Mayor SueLynn July 29, Canniff said she used the term "mayor consort" with "all due respect," noting that the American Heritage Dictionary defines consort as a "husband or wife, especially the spouse of a monarch; a companion or partner."

She asked that the mayor call her to discuss the matter further. "Please know that I remain supportive of your work in many of the actions you have taken on behalf of the city," Canniff concluded.