Cutsinger named vice chair during board retreat
During their annual planning retreat on Dec. 10, the Sarasota County commissioners selected Alan Maio, who represents District 4, to serve a third term as chair in 2022, maintaining the role in which he has served this year.
Typically, the vice chair moves up to the chair’s seat — as indicated by past board action. However, speakers during recent County Commission public hearings on election-related issues have pointed out that Vice Chair Christian Ziegler may have difficulty winning re-election in 2022.
In 2019, during a redistricting process they said was necessary because of the passage of the Single-Member Districts county Charter amendment, the commissioners moved most of the traditionally African American community of Newtown out of District 1 into District 2. Opponents of redistricting that year contended that the action was designed to secure the re-election of Commissioner Michael Moran to a second term in the District 1 seat. Newtown voters generally support Democratic candidates, speakers pointed out.
All the commissioners are registered Republicans.
This year, when the board members again approved new district lines — using data from the 2020 Census — they did not move the majority of Newtown back into District 1. Therefore, political observers — including Sarasota attorney Dan Lobeck, president of the nonprofit Control Growth Now — have said that Ziegler likely will have more difficulty retaining his seat.
As of Dec. 14, the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office website showed no one having filed to represent District 2, The Sarasota News Leader found.
Along with naming Maio chair again for 2022, the commissioners selected Commissioner Ron Cutsinger of Englewood, who holds the District 5 seat, as vice chair. Ziegler was named as pro tem.
The terms will begin on Jan. 1.
Maio first was elected to the commission in November 2014. After winning re-election in 2018, he is term-limited; in other words, he will have to step down from the board in November 2022, following the next General Election.
He previously served as chair of the commission in 2016.
A graduate of Seton Hall University in New Jersey, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting, Maio is a past principal of the Kimley-Horn consulting firm in Sarasota.
Over recent years, Kimley-Horn has won a number of county contracts. Among them, the firm was selected to design the North Extension of The Legacy Trail, from Culverhouse Nature Park on Palmer Ranch to Payne Park in downtown Sarasota; and the North Port Connector of the Trail.
Maio retired from Kimley-Horn before he began his first campaign for the commission.
His biography on the county website notes that, prior to his winning a seat on the commission, he held positions on the Sarasota County Code Enforcement Board (1987-90), the Sarasota County Board of Zoning Appeals (1990-94), the Sarasota County Planning Commission (1994-2000), the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council (2000-06) and the Florida Regional Council Association (2005-06).
He also is a member of the board of Sarasota Habitat for Humanity, the website adds.
Additionally, Maio is a former member of the boards of directors of the Venice Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Suncoast Blood Bank and Goodwill Manasota.
Further, he served as commissioner and vice chair of the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department, and he has held positions on the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Advisory Board.
Maio and his wife reside in Nokomis. They have three adult children and four grandchildren, the website says.
During the Dec. 10 retreat, the commissioners also “laid the foundation for next year’s strategic priorities and goals,” a county news release noted.
The commissioners will continue to focus on water quality initiatives, capital project management, planning for new facilities, mental health and substance abuse, destination athletic fields, and affordable housing (see the related article in this issue), the release added.
Among specific projects, the release pointed out, they discussed plans for an indoor multi-use sports facility and construction of sidewalks to connect schools to The Legacy Trail.
The board members will finalize their strategic priorities during the Jan. 11, 2022, commission meeting, the release said.