Goss picked as appointee for open seat
The Sanibel City Council bid farewell to Mayor Kevin Ruane and wished him the best in his new role as county commissioner at its recent meeting, as well as made an appointment to its recent vacancy.
On Nov. 3, the remaining council members, city officials and community members thanked the outgoing mayor for his dedication and service to the island over the years and the work he put in to improve upon it. Some shared personal stories, and others voiced appreciation for his guidance.
“It’s been a privilege sitting up here,” Ruane said.
Also at the meeting, the council filled the seat of former Councilmember Jason Maughan.
The city received 11 applications for the position; a special election will be held in March.
They were from Mary Bondurant, James “Jim” Brady, Jennifer Braun, Aaron Cohen, Robyn Cook, Arlene Dillon, Chauncey Goss, Maughan, Jerry Muench, Charles “Chuck” Sterret and Michael Wood.
Ruane opened the discussion, noting that each one was worthy, but pointed out the times.
“We’re in the middle of a pandemic. I believe we do need someone who is battle tested, someone who can do the job,” he said of backing Maughan. “I do believe this is Jason’s seat. He served us well.”
Councilmember Holly Smith explained that there are three council seats up for election in March. She noted that she wants the position seated on an interim basis to let voters make the permanent choice.
“It’s my opportunity to do what I feel is best for Sanibel here and put in an interim position,” Smith said, explaining that she feels seating someone who is running in March provides an advantage.
“I look forward to the election in March and letting the citizens decide,” she added.
Vice Mayor Mick Denham echoed that view.
“We’re looking to appoint someone today. We’ll also be looking to appoint someone in December,” he said, referring to Ruane’s seat. “At this time under the current circumstances, we should appoint someone in a temporary position in this position.”
Denham voiced support for Maughan if he runs, but said he was going with a different applicant.
“I am humbled by the qualifications of folks who applied for this position, not just the number of folks who applied,” Councilmember Richard Johnson said, adding that he has read all the communications submitted by islanders. “I thank the community for reaching out and letting us know where they stand.”
He agreed that experience in the position is important, however, Johnson also wanted to let voters decide in March on their permanent representative. He encouraged Maughan to run if still interested.
“I’m going to support someone with experience,” Richard said of his selection.
A motion to appoint Goss passed in a 3-1 vote, with Ruane dissenting.
Councilmember Chauncey Goss then took the oath of office to take up the seat.
“I’d like to thank council for giving me the opportunity to serve again,” Goss said, adding his thanks to the other candidates for applying. “I’d like to encourage everybody to run. Let’s have an election.”
IN OTHER NEWS
– The council approved opening the Sanibel Recreation Center on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. effective Nov. 21 at a cost of $38,108 and expanding programming within the existing hours effective Nov. 16 at a cost of $129,476. It also approved reopening the Center 4 Life effective Jan. 4 at a cost of $21,325.83.
– The council approved an ordinance to reinitiate the sale of beach parking decals to residents and property owners and to temporarily sell “C” permits only to residents during the current state of local emergency, which is consist with a prior decision to suspend the sale of non-resident “B” and “BC” decals. The sale of “C” decals to non-residents is also suspended.
– City staff provided a summary of the 2019-20 report cards for the Golf Course Nutrient and Lake Management program. The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club earned a 94 percent and was in full compliance; The Sanctuary Golf Club earned a 92 percent and was in full compliance; and the Sanibel Island Golf Club earned an 86 percent and was in partial compliance. All the scores matched those of last year.
– The council approved an ordinance regarding the establishment of manatee protection areas, including penalties and enforcement.
– The council approved a request from the Sanibel Sports League to reinitiate its organized youth soccer on the Sanibel Athletic Fields, as approved by the School District of Lee County.
– The council turned down a request from The Community House and the Sanibel Community Association to host the Sanibel Masters Art Festival — an outdoor art fair — on Nov. 27-28.
– The council approved a letter to be sent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opposing Ocean Era’s, formerly Kampachi Farms, permit application to construct the Velella Epsilon net-pen offshore aquaculture pilot project and reaffirming the city’s position in opposition to the proposed aquaculture project in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.