Tarpon Springs Appoints Frank DiDonato as Interim City Commissioner

In a recent session, Tarpon Springs City Board of Commissioners has appointed Frank DiDonato as the interim City Commissioner. This decision comes after a special session focused on selecting an interim commissioner to serve until the August 2024 election. The meeting entailed a thorough discussion on candidate qualifications, the selection process, and public and commissioner input on the candidates.

The appointment of an interim City Commissioner dominated the session’s agenda, with extensive deliberation over the selection method. The mayor favored a conversational approach, while another official called for the standard nominating procedure. A suggestion for a ranking system from public comments added to the debate on transparency and fairness in the selection process. The qualifications and needs of the candidates were carefully weighed.

Public comments were taken into account, with residents advocating for an independent-thinking commissioner with a strong record of identifying and addressing corruption. Support for candidates was also based on their experience and commitment to the city’s welfare. One commissioner noted the importance of choosing an appointee who would not use the position merely as a stepping stone for future political ambitions.

During the discussions, former Mayor Frank DiDonato received strong backing from one commissioner, who cited his extensive experience in city management and strategic planning. Another commissioner showed support for Chris Sorovski, praising his measured approach to city issues and service on the board of adjustments. Despite the differing perspectives on the ideal candidate, the discussion underlined the necessity of passion, confidence, and a firm commitment to the city’s welfare in the role of City Commissioner.

The meeting also covered the selection of a new board member, focusing on attributes like quick decision-making and the ability to handle a variety of issues. The possibility of the appointee running for office in the future was considered, with some commissioners favoring the continuity it could bring, while others raised concerns about the potential for instability.

Ultimately, a motion to appoint Susan Mitchell Kip was made but did not lead to a consensus. The debate continued with a motion for Frank DiDonato, which culminated in the decision to appoint him to the interim position. The selection process was marked by a roll call vote, followed by a brief recess before continuing the meeting.

In addition to the appointment, the session addressed various civic matters including the annexation of real property on West Curlew Place. The commissioners also approved a budget resolution for the fiscal year 2023-24, allowing for the reallocation of funds from the previous fiscal year to support ongoing projects.

The creation of a temporary part-time senior administrator position was authorized to aid the transition following a staff retirement. Concerns were raised about the potential for this temporary role to evolve into a permanent position, prompting assurances from the city manager about the limited nature of this appointment.

Public comments brought up environmental concerns, particularly regarding the usage of chemicals in water treatment. Residents questioned the necessity and potential health impacts of herbicides, fertilizers, and pesticides, with one commissioner highlighting a substantial cost increase for a water treatment product. Despite these concerns, the appointment of Paul Smith as the temporary part-time Senior Administrator was approved.

The meeting also underscored the importance of institutional knowledge with the appointment of Thomas Kiger as the Public Services Director, acknowledging his professional background and community engagement. Additionally, a Change Order for the architectural services of the Cops and Kids Youth Center was approved, enabling the continuation of design work.

The city manager emphasized the strategic importance of the acquisition, which was presented as a step towards pollution control.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Costa Vatikiotis
City Council Officials:
Michael Eisner, Panagiotis (Peter) Koulias, John Koulianos, Frank DiDonato

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