From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
September 14, 2018
And they're off....leash!  Many happy pooches (and their owners) joined us earlier this week as we celebrated the grand opening of the Canine Club at Gillespie Park.  These were just two of the dozens of furry friends who romped in the designated leash-free areas, one for big dogs and the other for little canines.  More on the opening and featured amenities at the park below in Weekly Briefs.


  • City Commission
    Mon., September 17 - 2:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.

    City Hall  - Commission Chambers

  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., September 19 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Special City Commission
    Wed., September 19 - 5 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Parks, Rec & Environmental Protection Board
    Thurs., September 20 - 5 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Community Workshop
    Thurs., September 20 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112

City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

Assistant Head Usher
Commercial Plans Examiner
Commission Reporter
Computer Support Specialist
Deputy City Auditor & Clerk
Engineering Tech III - Utility Construction Inspector
Flood Zone Specialist
GIS Coordinator
Information Technology Manager
Maintenance Tech - Municipal Building
Network Analyst
Parks & Rec - Facility Maintenance Tech - Part Time
Parks & Rec - Rec Attendant - Part Time
Parks & Rec - Rec Leader - Payne Park Tennis
Parks & Rec - Rec Specialist - Part Time
Parks Service Worker - Part Time
Pension Plans Administrator
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant - RLTCC
Senior Internal Auditor

     Volunteer/Unpaid Intern    

This Week's Items to Know:

Red Tide Update   While the effects of red tide have returned to parts of Sarasota County -- fish kills and respiratory irritation -- the impact in the city limits this week has been limited.
Regular site inspections continue.  Earlier this week, the Sarasota Police Department marine patrol reported that Sarasota Bay and adjacent canals appeared okay with no dead fish or strong odor.  Approximately 2-3 miles off Big Pass, though, the water turned dark
Sarasota Bay adjacent to Centennial Park earlier this week.

brown and was reddish brown in 35 feet of water.  Many dead fish, both large and small, were witnessed and the telltale red tide smell was very strong along with respiratory irritation causing itchy eyes and throat.  Last weekend, a deceased manatee was removed from Sarasota Bay with assistance by Mote Marine Laboratory.  
Water samples taken from New Pass earlier this week by Mote Marine showed increased counts of Karenia brevis, the red tide organism.
This massive bloom still stretches approximately 125 miles from Lee County to Pinellas, which has been hit hard with red tide effects this week.  The latest oceanic forecast predicts the bloom may move slightly southward in the coming days.  The National Weather Service is prognosticating a change in wind patterns which could prompt increases in respiratory irritation over the next few days as well.
There is a bit of good news:  Fish kills in the city limits have been minimal this week, not requiring cleanup at Lido Beach or Sarasota Bay.  And we're not sensing that distinct odor associated with red tide.   
We will remain vigilant and will continue regular site inspections.  The red tide State of Emergency will remain in effect.
For regularly updated red tide information, including small business bridge loans through the State of Florida, please visit www.SarasotaFL.Gov 

Florida Housing Coalition -  New Local Leadership   Congratulations to Don Hadsell, the City and County's General Manager of Housing and Community Development, who was named the new Board Chair of
Don Hadsell is the new Florida Housing Coalition Board Chair.

the Florida Housing Coalition. 
With nearly 30 years' experience with affordable housing issues, Don has vast knowledge and insight with federal and state housing programs and grants.   
As the Board Chair, Don will oversee the Florida Housing Coalition Board with 25 members, as well as Board Committees, and serve as spokesperson for FHC advocating for quality affordable homes for all. As we seek to weave needed affordable housing into future developments in Sarasota, it will be helpful to have Don's leadership at this important agency. 
Gillespie Park - Dog Park    The Canine Club at Gillespie Park opened this past Monday on what may have been the muggiest morning of the year, but that didn't deter excited residents and their furry friends.  Dozens of two- and four-legged residents descended upon the park to help open the second dog park in the city limits.
A portion of the small dog area at the Canine Club at Gillespie Park.

Located at the north end of Gillespie Park, near 10th St. and Osprey Ave., the Canine Club is within a short healthy stroll for residents and pooches.  
To help create a fun, safe environment for all to enjoy, the park is divided into two off-leash play zones:  one fenced area for big dogs (30 lbs. plus) and another fenced area for little ones.
Shade structures and benches are available for humans to rest while the pooches frollick.  With plenty of fenced-in space, the furry ones can run around a decorative "fire hydrant," play fetch, sniff noses or just lounge in the grass.   
So far, the Canine Club has passed the sniff test!
Vice Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch, City Commissioner Willie Shaw, Former City Commissioner Susan Chapman, Former City Commissioner Eileen Normile, Parks & Rec Director Jerry Fogle and staff members 

Thanks to Gillespie Park resident Dale Orlando who championed the park and our dedicated Parks & Rec crew who turned the idea into a reality.  We hope it will become a great neighborhood gathering place for community building.   
Check out more photos from the grand opening on our Facebook page
Remembering Steve Seidensticker     The Sarasota community is mourning the loss of a kind spirit whose generous philanthropic nature impacted many individuals. 
Beloved by many, restaurateur Steve Seidensticker, whose Tableseide Restaurant
Miss Susie's groundbreaking ceremony.  Steve Seidensticker is second from the right. 
Group includes Libby's Cafe & Bar, Louies Modern and Muse at the The Ringling, offered meaningful outreach through his nonprofit Tableseide Cares.
We will be forever grateful for Steve's personal interest -- and hands-on action -- with a chronic homeless individual, Michael, who had fallen through the cracks for 20 years until Judge Erika Quartermaine and her newly formed Comprehensive Treatment Court reached out to Steve.  Ultimately, Steve became Michael's permanent guardian, helping to pave the way for Michael to obtain disability benefits and proper housing and care.
Wanting to enhance minority involvement in all aspects of the  restaurant business, Steve conceptualized a community-driven diner with a focus on training and education.  This past February, we were thrilled to break ground on Miss Susie's Newtown Kitchen along the Dr. MLK Jr Way corridor.
Late last week, a remembrance was hoisted at the construction site to honor Steve, whose legacy will have a lasting impact on the Sarasota community.  He will be missed greatly.   
The City Commission plans a formal recognition of Steve Seidensticker and his impactful contributions to Sarasota in the near future. 
Thank you, Steve Seidensticker.

Employee Spotlight:  Herald-Tribune   City of Sarasota employees are a talented and passionate group - and not only when it comes to their public service.
Solid Waste division employee Leon S. Pitts II.
Case in point: Leon S. Pitts II of our Solid Waste division. Leon enjoys serving the Sarasota community where he grew up, but his true passion is music and performing on stage. Leon is a longtime member of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe here in town and has thrilled audiences both locally and internationally with his soulful song stylings. 
Leon's inspiring story about the pursuit of his passion will be spotlighted in an upcoming three-day series by reporter Thomas Becnel of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that will focus on talented local artists who also hold a "day job." Our Communications Office recently tagged along and captured this behind-the-scenes video of Leon's amazing singing voice during a photo/video shoot with Herald-Tribune photojournalist Thomas Bender for a sneak peek:
Singing Garbage Man Leon S. Pitts II 
Leon S. Pitts II demonstrates his singing talents for a Sarasota Herald-Tribune photojournalist.
Leon's story is expected to publish on Monday in the pages of the Herald-Tribune and online and with accompanying video and photos at Look for it, and join me in celebrating Leon and all of our City employees and their special talents!

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The Van Wezel's full 2018-2019 season is now on sale. (The Lion King goes on sale November 2.)   
To view the full Van Wezel season, visit    

Dr. Dave Band 
Friday, September 14:  5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
The final Friday Fest for Summer 2018 is Sept. 14.

Jerry Seinfeld 
Thurs., September 20 - 7 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.

Legends of Yesteryear 
Sat., September 29 - 7 p.m.

Eddie Izzard 
Thurs., October 11 - 8 p.m.

Lord of the Dance 
Sun., October 14 - 7 p.m.
Kenny G 
Fri., October 19 - 8 p.m.
Bob Dylan & His Band 
Sun., October 21 - 8 p.m.
Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen 
Tues., November 6 - 8 p.m.
The Simon & Garfunkel Story 
Sat., October 27 - 8 p.m.
Capitol Steps 
Wed., November 7 - 8 p.m.
Neil Berg's 50 Years of Rock & Roll Part II 
Fri., November 9 - 8 p.m.

Doo Wop Spectacular Vol. 3 
Sat., November 10 - 7:30 p.m.
Stills & Collins 
Fri., November 16 - 8 p.m.
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas
Sat., November 17 - 8 p.m. 
Beyond Glory
Mon., November 19 - 7:30 p.m. 
Dave Koz Christmas Tour 2018 
Fri., November 23 - 8 p.m.
KC and the Sunshine Band 
Sat., November 24 - 8 p.m. 
Black Violin 
Tues., November 27 - 7:30 p.m.
Jim Brickman:  A Joyful Christmas 
Wed., November 28 - 7:30 p.m. 
The King and I 
Tues., December 4 - 7:30 p.m.
Wed., December 5 - 7:30 p.m.
Brian Wilson Presents:  The Christmas Album Live  
Tues., December 11 - 7:30 p.m.
A Christmas Carol 
Sun., December 16 - 6 p.m.
On Your Feet will be at the Van Wezel Dec. 26-29.

Itzhak Perlman: In The Fiddler's House 
Mon., December 17 - 7:30 p.m.

Celtic Thunder X 
Tues., December 18 - 7:30 p.m.
The Sound of Music 
Wed., December 19 - 7:30 p.m.
Thurs., December 20 -  2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Moscow Ballet:  Great Russian Nutcracker  
Fri., December 21 - 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 
Sat., December 22 - 6:30 p.m.
On Your Feet! 
Wed., December 26 - 7:30 p.m.
Thurs., December 27 - 7:30 p.m.
Fri., December 28 - 7:30 p.m.
Sat., December 29 - 7:30 p.m.

The Sweet Caroline Tour 
Mon., December 31 - 9 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

Reminder:  The final Friday Fest of Summer 2018 is Friday, Sept. 14.  Live music with the Dr. Dave Band starts at 5 p.m. -- rain or shine!  Hope to see you there. 
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 CityNews@SarasotaFL.Gov 

Tom Barwin
City Manager