City Commission pursues new ways to encourage advisory board service

(Norman Schimmel photo)

The approximately 15 people in the audience for the April 16 afternoon session of the Sarasota City Commission witnessed not only a new practice in the handling of city advisory board appointments but agreement to expand upon that in the future.

As she addressed each group of appointments on the agenda for the April 16 meeting, City Auditor and Clerk Pam Nadalini announced the names of all the persons who had applied for the posts. In the past, the city commissioners generally just mentioned the names of people as they nominated them for open posts.

Later during the April 16 meeting, when the commissioners offered comments on various topics, Vice Mayor Terry Turner proposed the city do even more to recognize applicants. He referenced a recent comment from a city resident who had said board applicants deserved more notice from the commission.

Turner suggested the mayor begin sending letters of thanks to all the applicants not selected for board appointments.

“That’s a good idea,” Mayor Suzanne Atwell said.

In response to a question from Turner, Nadalini said the only letters that have been going out are those sent by her office, acknowledging receipt of applications.

Turner also suggested the mayor’s follow-up letters encourage people to apply to other city advisory boards. “I think that would be really useful to do,” he added.

For example, he said, someone who had sought an appointment to the Planning Board might find the Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board of interest.

According to the city’s website (, that CRA Advisory Board reviews proposed public-private redevelopment projects and recommends to the Community Redevelopment Agency whether it should provide financial or other assistance to those projects.

“It keeps those advisory boards flowing,” Atwell said.

“My office can draft a letter for you,” Nadalini told Atwell.