Proclamation presented to Jennings for years of service
After a reception was held outside of MacKenzie Hall Tuesday morning, Jim Jennings was recognized with a proclamation for his 14 years of service as a councilman for the City of Sanibel.
Jennings served from March 18, 2003 to Oct. 18, 2017. The proclamation stated that “the honorable Jim Jennings served as the second longest tenured elected official for the City of Sanibel with a total of 14 years.”
Jennings was also recognized as an esteemed representative for the city with the Florida League of Cities, where he served on the board of directors and serving as president for the Southwest Florida League of Cities.
During his tenure, he helped with the recovery of hurricanes Charley, Wilma, Frances and Irma, as well as Lake Okeechobee fresh water releases and water quality issues and was instrumental in the funding and development of the Sanibel Recreation Center.
“I, Kevin Ruane, mayor of the City of Sanibel, on behalf of the members of the City Council and the citizens of Sanibel do herby express our heartfelt thanks and commend James ‘Jim’ L. Jennings for his dedicated service to the City of Sanibel and his commitment to making Sanibel an exceptional community.”
“Honestly, it has been an honor Jim. I came up here some 10 years ago, going on my 11th year and you were instrumental in leading us into the Florida League of Cities,” Ruane said. “The Florida League of Cities today, people don’t recognize the things that we have been able to leverage. When we had three feet of algae on the beach, you actually got us into Governor Crist’s office at the time. Today, honestly it was really your individual efforts to put us with the Florida League of Cities.”
After Ruane thanked him for everything he has done, a round of applause erupted from City Hall.
Jennings thanked the many good friends he has made.
“This has been a joy for me. I felt I was led by God to be here. I feel that God has something in store for me, which is why we felt we had to go somewhere else. This is an amazing community. You people will do well. This is a great council. We are in good hands. We went through a lot of concerns over the years and we prevailed,” Jennings said with tears filling his eyes.
Vice Mayor Mick Denham said he served with Jennings coming up on his 13th year.
“There is always a story behind a story. When I first came on council it was frowned on that we should do anything off island. Why should we talk to people off island? Why are we involved with Tallahassee? Why are we worried with Lake Okeechobee? Jim was one of the first who decided having relationships off island was a very important thing,” he said.
Denham shared a story about Jennings and the Florida League of Cities. He said after a long City Council meeting he traveled to Tallahassee to attend legislative meetings. When Jennings arrived in Tallahassee he could not find a hotel, and decided to sleep in his car.
“As a consequence of Jim reaching out to Tallahassee, he was able to introduce me, and other new councilmen to people we did not know,” Denham said. “He opened doors for us. Jim was responsible for arranging me to meet with the governor, Governor Crist at the time. He opened a lot of doors for me and made my job a lot easier. He proved that building relationships with both the county commission and Tallahassee is extremely important.”
He thanked him again for his 14 years of service.
“Thank you everybody for the opportunity to serve this community. It’s the honor of my life and I do believe you are worth every effort that this council puts in and more,” Jennings said.