From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
May 12, 2017
Congratulations to our two new At-Large City Commissioners who were elected on Tuesday and sworn into office today:  Jen Ahearn-Koch and Hagen Brody.  With many projects ongoing, the administration will work diligently to brief the new Commissioners about significant projects and policies.  This will be especially important with the 2017-2018 budget cycle right around the corner. We bid farewell to outgoing Commissioners Suzanne Atwell, who served for 8 years, and Susan Chapman, 4 years.  Their dedication and love of Sarasota has always been apparent and their service was greatly appreciated.  We wish them all the best -- and good luck to our new Commissioners who will hit the ground running with a regular meeting on Monday.


  • General Employees' Pension Plan Board
    Mon., May 15 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers

  • City Commission
    Mon., May 15 - 2:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Community Workshop
    Tues., May 16 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Development Review Cmte
    Wed., May 17 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Parks, Rec, & Environmental Protection
    Thurs., May 18 - 5 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers

  • Bobby Jones Golf Club - Master Plan Input
    Tues., May 23 - 9 a.m. & 1 p.m.
    Bobby Jones Golf Club - 1000 Circus Blvd.
    Meeting Notice
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

Golf Course Attendant (Part Time)
Landscape Maintenance Tech I (Part Time)
Lifeguard I
Maintenance Mechanic (Part Time)
Maintenance Mechanic I (Part Time)
Maintenance Mechanic II
Pension Plans Administrator
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant (Children's Fountain)
Rec Attendant (RLTCC)
Utilities Reliability Engineer
Utilities Mechanic I

This Week's Items to Know:

Bird Key - Medians & MURT    Work on the extended MURT on Bird Key and companion landscape improvements continue, with the project approximately 90% completed.

The 10-foot wide recreational trail has been installed.  That path will
Planting new trees in the median along Bird Key. 
connect the Ringling Bridge and Coon Key. So ultimately, pedestrians will be able to move safely around our scenic Sarasota Bay, between Marina Jack, St. Armands and Lido Beach using this trail.

A new irrigation system has been installed and trees and vegetation are now being planted. 

The contractor has until June to finish the project, however, we're optimistic it will be completed sooner...offering an alternative for mobility and a healthier lifestyle for residents and visitors.  

International Compost Awareness Week    It seems there's a recognition week for most everything citizens are passionate about....and, this week it's International Compost Awareness Week!  So, this is a good opportunity to provide an update on our compost pilot program.

After 10 weeks, the Gillespie Park Neighborhood compost program is going well with good participation.  20+ households are diligently saving their fruit and vegetable scraps, and bringing them once a
The pilot program is helping to build a sense of community. (Photo Courtesy: Tracie Troxler) 
week to earth bins located in Gillespie Park.

This is a collaborative effort between residents, the City, and a nonprofit called Sunshine Community Compost, spearheaded by Tracie Troxler.  Tracie is providing the training and education for residents and the City is providing a safe location in the park for the compost bins.

So far, 680+ pounds of food waste has been collected.  When you consider that material is not going into our local landfill, that's impressive!  Plus, the compost material ultimately will be used as a natural high quality soil supplement.

Kudos to the Gillespie Park residents who are participating!  Our Sustainability Manager, Stevie Freeman-Montes, is monitoring the pilot program and will assess interest and opportunities for future expansion. If you'd like more information, feel free to contact Stevie:

Our Senior Communications Manager Jan Thornburg stopped by the drop-off site earlier this week and provides a quick peek at the operation:

YouTube:  Composting pilot program in Gillespie Park.
Bobby Jones - New City Champion!    Congratulations to K.C. Fox, winner of the 46th Annual Men's City Championship!  The tournament was held the past two weekends at our historic municipal golf course, Bobby Jones Golf Club, and it was an exciting finish!

K.C. claimed this coveted amateur title with an overall -6 under par.  This was particularly impressive, since he overcame a sluggish first round score of 77 -- that's 5 over par.  He rallied the next three rounds with a 66, 68 and finished with a 71 -- strong enough to become the new Men's City champ by one stroke!

2017 Men's City Championship winner K.C. Fox with
Bobby Jones Golf Club Assistant Manager Christian Martin.
The runner up was Bradley Knight with an overall score of -5 under. Congratulations to all the competitors for another exciting Men's City Championship! 

And, thank you to the dedicated staff at Bobby Jones who ensured this popular event went off without a hitch.   

Van Wezel - Volunteer Appreciation  - With season winding down, Mary Bensel and her staff at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall hosted a well earned appreciation dinner earlier this week for the 500 ushers who volunteer their time during performances.  Without them,
Honoring long time volunteer Suzanne Christner with
House Manager Dave Colston.

the shows wouldn't go on!

Many individuals and teams of volunteers were recognized for their longstanding dedication, including Suzanne Christner who has served as an usher for an incredible 35 years.  That's commitment!

The dinner buffet, provided by Mattison's Bayside, was delicious, the flower arrangements from Beneva Flowers gorgeous, and the setting in the Grand Foyer on Sarasota Bay perfect. All the City Commissioners were in attendance, and outgoing Commissioners Atwell and Chapman were recognized for their strong support of the Hall over the years.

The Grand Foyer was filled with volunteer ushers for  
an appreciation dinner.

Thank you, volunteers!  And, thank you to our staff at the Van Wezel, especially House Manager Dave Colston who coordinates this complex usher program.  Juggling so many schedules and performances is no simple feat!  There are many opportunities for volunteerism in our special community and it's impressive our staff is able to recruit and keep so many dedicated individuals.

With our great staff and volunteers, it's easy to see why the Van Wezel has been rated the #1 performing arts hall in America by "Venues Today" in the 2,000 seats and under category. 
Congrats, Graduates!   - With so much going on nowadays, sometimes it can be a challenge to get through the work week.   Imagine going to college full-time in addition!

We have two full-time City of Sarasota employees who graduated this week with bachelor degrees from USF Sarasota-Manatee campus (without assistance from the City):  Aurelio Vazquez, Jr. and Erica Jones. 

Aurelio has been with the City for seven years as a maintenance tech.  (Many at City Hall also know his father, Aurelio Sr., who retired after working for the City for 25 years.) For the past 2.5 years, Aurelio Jr. has juggled work and family while taking a full load of classes online each semester.  His degree is in Information Technology, an ever growing field with many opportunities.

Our other graduate is a new employee -- Erica Jones in the Permitting Division.  After serving in the Army, she moved to Sarasota in 2014 and began studying business management at USF.  She's elated to have her Bachelor of Science and wonders what she'll do with all her "extra" time.

Full-time employees Erica Jones and Aurelio Vazquez, Jr. graduated
from USF Sarasota-Manatee this week.

Their dedication to obtaining their degrees highlights the impressive caliber of individuals employed with the City.  By the way, both plan on staying with the City for the foreseeable future.  Congratulations, Aurelio and Erica!  

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The following is a list of shows through Nov. 2017.  To view the entire Van Wezel season visit 
Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
Sat., May 20 8 p.m.

Idina Menzel
Sat., May 27 - 8 p.m.
Catch Idina Menzel on Sat., May 27 at the Van Wezel.


Friday Fest:  Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones
Fri., June 16 - 5 p.m.
FREE Concert

Diana Ross
Fri., June 23 - 8 p.m.

Friday Fest: Kettle of Fish
Fri., July 21 - 5 p.m.
FREE Concert

Friday Fest:  Jah Movement Reggae Band
Fri., August 25 - 5 p.m.
FREE Concert

Friday Fest:  Reverend Barry & the Funktastic Soul
Fri., September 15 - 5 p.m.
FREE Concert

Doo Wop Spectacular 
Sat., November 4 - 7:30 p.m.

To purchase tickets over the phone call 941-953-3368 or stop by the Box Office at 777 N.Tamiami Trail. 

For a complete schedule of events, visit

Thanks for reading this week's edition.  If you'd like to receive Weekly Briefs directly to your inbox click 'Join Our Mailing List ' below or send us an email at

Tom Barwin
City Manager