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Date of Issue: September 02, 2009

Race for HB commission begins

By Lisa Neff
Islander Reporter

Five people are vying for Holmes Beach City Commission.

The election will play like a game of musical chairs — two people will be left standing, with no seat at the dais. Voters on Nov. 3 will elect three people from the field of five to two-year terms.

To qualify, candidates paid a filing fee of $60 for a commission seat and collected 15 voter signatures on a petition, along with providing a residency affidavit.
The qualifying period for the Nov. 3 election in Holmes Beach opened Aug. 24 and closed at noon on Aug. 28. The qualifying periods do not open until September in the other Island cities.

Incumbents Pat Geyer, Pat Morton and David Zaccagnino qualified. In the November 2007 election, they were returned to office unopposed.

Andrew E. Sheridan of Key Royale is a fourth candidate, a newcomer in municipal elections, but a frequent attendee at commission meetings who said he is interesting in improving city government.

Sheridan, vice president of the Key Royale Resident Owners Association, has lived in Holmes Beach six years and is in training to sell insurance. He has worked at managing auto sales and a limo company, as well as worked as a pool technician and for Publix.

And Al Robinson, a fifth candidate, describes himself as a thrifty person who thinks city government spends too much.

Robinson, a former owner of D Coy Ducks who now works in the real estate/investment market, unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the West Manatee Fire Rescue District Commission in 2008.

Before moving to the Island in 1993, Robinson, who earned a master’s degree in safety from West Virginia University, was a coal mine owner/operator in West Virginia.

Geyer, the owner of Duffy’s Tavern and a resident of Holmes Beach for more than four decades, has held repeated terms as commissioner and as mayor from 1990 to 1994.

In 2006, after losing a campaign for the commission, she was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board created by Rich Bohnenberger’s resignation from the commission and his election to mayor. In 2007, Geyer ran unopposed.

Zaccagnino, who works for Morgan Stanley as a financial advisor, is seeking a third term on the commission.

He currently serves as the commission liaison to the city parks and beautification committee, as well as the police pension board.

In addition to serving on the commission, he is involved in a number of local groups, including the Island Democratic Club and the Rotary Club of Anna Maria Island.

Morton, the campus manager for Crosspointe Fellowship in Holmes Beach, is seeking a fourth term on the commission. He lives in Holmes Beach with his wife and has been on the Island for about 15 years.

Morton has served as the liaison for the commission to Waste Management Inc., the company contracted to haul garbage and recyclables from Holmes Beach.

He also is the city liaison to the Island committee established to promote the state-supported Communities For a Lifetime initiative.

Qualifying in September

The qualifying dates for those seeking to run in Bradenton Beach are from noon Sept. 14 to noon Sept. 18.

In addition to the mayoral post held by Michael Pierce, two commission seats are open — the Ward 3 seat held by Janie Robertson, who plans to seek re-election, and the Ward 1 seat held by John Shaughnessy, who cannot run due to the city-established term limit. Gay Breuler of the 2600 block of Gulf Drive is an active candidate in Ward 1.

Pierce will run for mayor and former Commissioner Bill Shearon is planning to run also.

The qualifying dates for those seeking to run for office in Anna Maria are from noon Sept. 1 to noon Sept. 15.

Commission seats currently held by John Quam, Christine Tollette and Dale Woodland are open, and all three incumbents have announced plans to run again. Mark Alonso and David Gryboski plan to run also.

In Anna Maria and Bradenton Beach, a candidate can qualify for commission by payment of an election assessment fee equal of $48 and collecting 10 signatures of voters residing in the city, as well as filing a candidate’s residency affidavit. A candidate may also file an “undue burden” oath to eliminate the fee, then file 10 petition signatures of voters residing in the city and a residency affidavit.

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