Commissioner Shaw reported to be all right following loss of consciousness during Sept. 5 meeting

Former mayor was transported to the hospital and kept overnight

Commissioner Willie Shaw. File photo

Sarasota City Commissioner Willie Shaw spent the night of Sept. 5 at Sarasota Memorial Hospital after losing consciousness for between 30 and 60 seconds during the City Commission meeting that afternoon, city Communications Specialist Kate Flexter told The Sarasota News Leader on Sept. 6.

Medical staff wanted to monitor him overnight, Flexter pointed out.

Shaw was conscious when he was transported to the hospital, she added. No other information was available about his condition as of early in the afternoon of Sept. 6, Flexter said.

As the commissioners were discussing health care benefits for retired city employees shortly after 4 p.m. on Sept. 5, members of the board noticed that Shaw appeared unconscious. Vice Mayor Liz Alpert asked, “Is he OK?”

Then Mayor Shelli Freeland Eddie and Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch — on either side of him — touched his arms. Shaw suddenly looked up and raised his hands. Ahearn-Koch could be heard asking him if he was all right, and he replied, “Yes, I’m fine.”

Still, the mayor asked that someone call 911, and she informed the meeting attendees that the board would take a 10-minute recess.

After the commission reconvened, Alpert was presiding, with Freeland Eddie and Shaw absent from the dais. Alpert quickly gained consensus from her colleagues to continue the discussion until the commission’s Sept. 18 meeting and adjourned the meeting until 6 p.m., when the evening session routinely begins.

Flexter confirmed a Sarasota Herald-Tribune report that Freeland Eddie and Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown accompanied Shaw to the hospital.

A retired postal worker, Shaw first was elected to the District 1 commission seat in 2011; he was re-elected without opposition in 2015. He served three consecutive terms as mayor.