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Holly Smith appointed to City Council

By Staff | Dec 5, 2017

Holly Smith, the newly appointed City Council member took the oath of office with her husband, Jason, standing besides her.

Planning Commission Vice Chairman Holly Smith was appointed to the City Council Tuesday morning filling a vacant seat left behind by Jim Jennings, who moved to Fort Myers.

After she was sworn in, with her husband, Jason, standing beside her, she took a seat at the dais.

According to the resolution, Smith will serve from Dec. 5 until a newly-elected council member is qualified.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you gentleman for your confidence in me. I look forward and am honored to be working with you. I appreciate everything the city of Sanibel has done for me in helping me get prepare for this with my time on Planning Commission that I am certainly going to miss. That was a passion,” she said.

Mayor Kevin Ruane said 10 people applied for the City Council position.

“I certainly thank everyone for applying. I certainly had the privilege of talking to the different applicants in that regard,” he said.

Katie Reed, with Island Seniors, spoke during public comment sharing they were able to meet with seven of the 10 candidates. The remaining three, she said were not interested in coming down to see the Center 4 Life and what they do as an island senior’s group.

“You got a good handful of candidates before you,” Reed said.

Doug Congress also spoke, encouraging the council to appoint Smith.

“I think there are a lot of great candidates that are worthy of this position, but this is somewhat of a sprint. For three months you need someone very competent, knowledgable to fill this position to have an immediate impact. I think that is obviously Holly Smith,” Congress said. “I think Holly has proven herself over the years. I think she has been on the Planning Commission for over a decade. She’s a mom. She’s a wife of 30 years. She’s a leader. And most importantly, she is a workhorse, and I mean that positively. I look at your liaison list and there are a lot of holes. There are a lot of areas that I know Holly can have an immediate impact.”

Ruane said it was a difficult process to go through because of the good qualified people. Many of the candidates, he said he knows on a personal basis.

“The job has changed dramatically,” he said of the four terms he has sat at the dais. “You sit up here and you have to make difficult decisions. There are many times I sat up here, especially in the early years, saying ‘this is a tough decision.'”

Ruane spoke about the importance of having a five person council. Council members sometimes have different obligations, and travel for the holidays, eliminating their presence at a meeting.

“I have certainly not hidden the fact that I have five herniated disc in my back certainly is problematic. I don’t remember being in as much pain as I possibly am standing. As much as it was honor to serve Sgt. (Jared) Ciccone and Jim Jennings, I was really looking forward to sitting down,” Ruane said. “I have taken this to the furtherest possibility I possibly can and dread the day I wake up and am not able to come up here. That’s probably something that I need to at least put on the table just because if that happens we are then down to another less body. I don’t like four, it is two, two. We need to do something to say the least.”

Ruane, Vice Mayor Mick Denham and Chauncey Goss first vote was Smith, and Jason Maughan’s vote was for Jeff Powers.

With the vote 3-1, Ruane made the motion, Denham seconded, to appoint Smith.