SEMINOLE – Following a request by Councilor Patricia Plantamura, the City Council voted unanimously Oct. 9 to have the city administration produce a written version of the policy used to select voluntary advisory board members.
The discussion followed a unanimous vote to appoint former Recreation Teen Board member Noah Sweeney to the Recreation Advisory Board and reappoint former Mayor Dottie Reeder as a trustee to the Municipal Firefighters Pension Trust Fund.
Plantamura pointed out that she agreed whole-heartedly with the appointments of Sweeney and Reeder, but wondered what process is used by the city to make appointments.
“In the three-plus years I’ve been on council, we’ve only voted on applicants that have come to us,” Plantamura said. “They’ve already been preselected and then we simply vote on these people. So I was wondering what our procedure is to make these selections. Is it a written procedure? If so, I’d like a copy of this procedure to open this up for more people.”
City Manager Frank Edmunds explained that reappointments are more informal than the original appointment of board members, who must go through a selection process.
“Our procedure for reappointment is that they come back before you under the assumption the council previously had approved the original appointment,” Edmunds said. “On new appointments, we also workshop the new appointments and require the candidates to come before council so they have an opportunity to answer questions. The only exception is teen appointments to the advisory boards. We didn’t feel comfortable requiring the younger folks to come before council in a workshop session. But all the other appointments, if it’s a new appointee, they are presented to council in a workshop so you have an opportunity to meet with them one-on-one.”
Edmunds went on to explain that boards generally screen their applicants before making a presentation to city leaders.
“It particularly happens on vacancies with the Recreation Advisory Board, which is, for the most part, an adult board,” said Edmunds. “That committee will actually screen the applicants and they present the recommendation to the recreation director. The recreation director will then present it to city administration. Our philosophy is to provide the applications to council but at the formal meeting it’s not the multiple candidates.
But the council does have the right to defer action.”
• In other action, Belleair Bluffs City Commissioner Joseph Barkley spoke briefly about his desire to represent the city on the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority board of directors.
The board vacancy came open recently when former South Pasadena Mayor Kathleen Peters announced her candidacy for the Florida House of Representatives.
The person selected to fill the seat would represent Seminole, Belleair, Belleair Bluffs, Gulfport, Kenneth City and South Pasadena.