From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
October 23, 2015
It takes a lot of dedication and hard work to maintain the extensive landscaping throughout the city limits.  And, we're proud to announce the Sarasota Garden Club recognized the Landscape Division within the Public Works Department with the 2015 Civic Beautification Award for "continually maintaining outstanding landscaping".  In addition to caring for 49 parks, the Landscape Division also is responsible for maintaining the medians throughout the city.  In this photo, we caught up with Doug Baldwin (foreground), Tony Woods and Greg Davenport this week as they spread mulch around the plants along Washington Court.  The entire Landscape Division is comprised of just 24 individuals, and their commitment to keeping Sarasota beautiful shows.  Congratulations to the entire team!  And, thank you to the City Commission for their continued support of parks and landscaping.  To see a group photo of the Landscape Division and their award, visit the City of Sarasota Facebook page.


  • Special City Commission
    Tues., October 27 - 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Board of Adjustment
    Wed., October 28 - 1:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Police Complaint Committee
    Wed., October 28 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.
Landscape Maintenance Tech II
Maintenance Mechanic II
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
       Traffic Signal Tech I    
Windows System Administrator

This Week's Items to Know:
Roundabout Sculpture Accepted     We now know what the public art piece will look like that will be installed in the center of the new Orange Ave./Main St. roundabout.  On Monday, the City Commission unanimously accepted "Embracing Our Differences", a stainless steel sculpture that will be placed within the roundabout.  The piece will be an infinity symbol with four
A maquette of "Embracing Our Differences" which will be installed at the Orange/Main roundabout. 
different colors within it (representing the Embracing Our Differences logo), which at night, will glow via interior lighting.

The sculpture fulfills a public art requirement for the new One Palm development.  Rather than installing an art piece near their new Aloft hotel, the developers received City approval to place it in a more prominent location.  The developers partnered with Embracing Our Differences in Sarasota, and that organization spearheaded a national search for an artist who would create a piece to be showcased in downtown. 

The artist will begin work soon.  It is hoped the sculpture will be finished and installed by Spring 2016.

We appreciate Embracing Our Differences taking the lead with this project.  Congratulations to everyone involved and we look forward to expanding the City's robust public art inventory.  
Remembering Rod Warner    Monday evening, the City Commission recognized the passing of long time resident and roundabout advocate, Rod Warner.  Many Sarasotans understand and support roundabouts because of Rod's passionate but gentle approach, educating people about the safety advantages of roundabouts.  Known as "Mr. Roundabout", he served on the Citizen Advisory Committee to the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning
Rod Warner would have been 80 on Oct. 19.

Organization and was a regular speaker at civic organizations as well as City Commission meetings.  With his ceaseless dedication, Sarasota transitioned from a community that once was skittish about roundabouts to one that is planning a series of them along U.S. 41.  He was recognized by the Federal Highway Administration for his grassroots citizen-led efforts.  And, when he passed, the City was in the process of completing its second roundabout in downtown in the past five years, which would have pleased Rod.

Prior to his interest in transportation, Rod worked in electronic media and was recognized in 2005 by the cable industry as a 'Cable TV Pioneer' for his outstanding contributions to the industry, including serving on the founding board of C-SPAN. 

A Sarasota resident for 38 years, Rod had a positive, meaningful impact on our city, one which will remain for many years to come.

Development - Update    Over the past week, the Building Division issued permits for two significant projects:  one for a new hotel and the other which will set the stage for an apartment development downtown.
An artist's rendering of the Embassy Suites & Spa.

On Thursday, the green light was given for construction to begin on an Embassy Suites & Spa at 202 N. Tamiami Trail.  The project, which has a construction value of $40 million, will add 180 rooms to the hotel inventory in the city limits.  Visit Sarasota County recently noted again that as Sarasota continues to experience higher volumes of tourism each year, more hotel space is needed.

Also, demolition permits were issued for the old United Way building on Second Street.  This is in preparation for the development of 2nd Street Apartments -- 180 rental units with ground floor retail and office space.

Job Fair:  Nov. 5    The City, in partnership with several other local agencies, will host a significant job fair at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex on Thursday, November 5 from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.  Over 50 local employers will be there with many conducting on-site interviews.  Job opportunities will be available in a variety of fields, including:  retail, heath care, customer service, construction, manufacturing and government. 
Since there will be on-site interviews, attendees are encouraged to be prepared when they arrive and bring several copies of their resume.  For those who need help developing their resume, the CareeerSource Suncoast Mobile career center will be at the job fair to provide professional expertise.

Lack of transportation should not prevent anyone from attending.  Arrangements will be made for those who need a ride.  Please call 941-358-4200 by November 3.

The fair is sponsored by CareerSource Suncoast, Goodwill Manasota, CareerEdge, Sarasota County and the City of Sarasota.

We hope those seeking employment take advantage of this opportunity and many successful job connections occur as a result of the fair.

Eat Local Week:  Oct. 24 - 30      Are you ready to celebrate the benefits of local foods and farming?  The 5th annual Eat Local Week begins tomorrow (Sat., October 24) and runs through October 30 with a variety of events planned.
Transition Sarasota has partnered with 23 organizations and will host  28 events.  From educational workshops to farm tours to local brewery happy hours, opportunities will abound for everyone in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. The celebration kicks off tomorrow at the Sarasota Farmers Market, where 200 tote bags will be given away.  So, make sure you're out there early to try to claim one!

For more information, including a calendar of events for Eat Local Week, click here.

Garage Sale Oct. 31:  Benefiting United Way    Every year, City of Sarasota employees have the opportunity to participate in the United Way fundraising campaign.  Some give via payroll deduction, while others contribute by purchasing a hearty all you can eat pancake breakfast or a grilled hotdog lunch hosted by employees.  All the proceeds go to the United Way Suncoast.  This year, the City's United Way Committee is mixing things up -- and inviting the public to participate!
The City will hold a garage sale at City Hall on Sat., October 31  from 7 a.m. - noon in the City Hall parking lot on First Street.   All items for sale will be donated by City employees -- and you're invited to be a customer.  All you have to do is bring your wallet, an eye for a good deal, and a generous spirit to help a good cause.  All proceeds from the garage sale will go to United Way, which in turn, will help a multitude of organizations in the Sarasota area. 

United Way Suncoast just released its annual list of 100 Most Generous Workplaces.  We're pleased to announce the City is on the list at #98!  And, in the Sarasota-area we're ranked #16.  Congratulations to everyone involved! 

Certified Public Finance Officer - John Lege   Congratulations to Finance Director John Lege who recently added to his outstanding credentials by earning the designation of Certified Public Finance Officer from the Government Finance
Finance Director John Lege earned a new  professional designation.

Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada.  Fewer than 600 public finance officials have earned this professional certification. 

John successfully completed a series of exams focused on governmental accounting, auditing and financial reporting; cash management and investments; debt management; pensions, procurement and risk management; and operating and capital budgeting.

Our Finance Director voluntarily earning this designation underscores the professionalism and high standards within the Finance Department.  We are fortunate to have such a remarkable team overseeing the City's finances.  Congratulations, John! 

Upcoming Events 

Coin Show & Sale
Municipal Auditorium 
Fri., and Sat., October 23 & 24:  10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun., October 25:  10 a.m. - 3 p.m. 

Pumpkin Festival

Payne Park 
Fri., October 23:  5 p.m. - 10 p.m. 
Sat., October 24:  Noon - 10 p.m.
Sun., October 25:  Noon - 8 p.m.

Stepping Out Against Domestic Violence 
J.D. Hamel Park & Ringling Bridge
Sat., October 24
9 a.m.

Fall Arts & Crafts Show 
Selby Five Points Park
Sat., & Sun., October 24 & 25
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

St. Armands Boat Show 
St. Armands Circle Park
Sat., & Sun., October 24 & 25
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Davis - Cancer Support Book Signing 
Bayfront Community Center
Sun., October 25
3 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Sarasota Farmers Market Harvest Ball 
Payne Park Auditorium
Sun., October 25
5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Tickets:  $75 per person

Trunk or Treat 
Robert L. Taylor Community Complex
Fri., October 30
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.


Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 
Van Wezel Interior

The following is a list of shows through February 2016.  To view the entire Van Wezel season visit 

The Ultimate Doo Wop Show
Sat., October 24 - 8 p.m.

So You Think You Can Dance
Thurs., October 29 - 8 p.m.

All Hands On Deck
Wed., November 4 - 8 p.m.

America's Got Talent Live:  The All-Stars Tour!
Thurs., November 5 - 8 p.m.

Wed., November 11 - 8 p.m.

Lewis Black:  The Rant is Due:  Part Deux
Fri., November 13 - 8 p.m.

Cirque Dreams ~ Holidaze
Sat., November 14 - 8 p.m.

Straight No Chaser
Thurs., November 19 - 8 p.m.

Creedence Clearwater Revisited
Sat., November 21 - 8 p.m.

Dave Koz Christmas Tour 2015
Fri., November 27 - 8 p.m.

Craig Ferguson:  The New Deal Tour
Tues., December 1 - 8 p.m.

Daryl Hall & John Oates
Wed., December 2 - 8 p.m.

Kenny G 
Thurs., December 3 - 8 p.m.

Women of Ireland ~ Celtic Angels' Christmas 
Thurs., December 10 - 8 p.m.

Carrot Top 
Sat., December 12 - 8 p.m.

Bowzer's Rock & Roll Holiday Party 
Sun., December 13 - 7 p.m.

A Christmas Carol 
Wed., December 23 - 7 p.m.

Moscow Ballet:  Great Russian Nutcracker

Mon., December 28 - 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.

The Producers
Wed., December 30 - 8 p.m.

The Ten Tenors
Thurs., December 31 - 7 p.m.
Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert
Sun., January 3, 2016 - 7 p.m.

Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story
Tues., January 5, 2016 - 8 p.m.
Wed., January 6, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Black Violin
Tues., January 12, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Jim Witter - The Piano Men II
Wed., January 13, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Catskills on Broadway
Thurs., January 14, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Lisa Lampanelli
Fri., January 15, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Air Supply
Sat., January 16, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Paul Anka
Sun., January 17, 2016 - 8 p.m.

DL Hughley
Mon., January 18, 2016 - 8 p.m.

42nd Street
Wed., January 20, 2016 - 8 p.m.
Thurs., January 21, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Wynonna & The Big Noise: Stories & Song
Sun., January 24, 2016 - 8 p.m.

ABBA Mania
Mon., January 25, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Renee Fleming with the Sarasota Orchestra
Wed., January 27, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons
Thurs., January 28, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Dancing With The Stars:  LIVE!  Dance All Night Tour
Fri., January 29, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Joshua Bell
Sat., January 30, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Tues., February 2 - 8 p.m.

Masters of Illusion - Believe the Impossible
Thurs., February 4 - 7:30 p.m.

The Book of Mormon
February 9 - 12, 2016:  8 p.m.
Sat., February 13, 2016:  2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Sun., February 14, 2016:  1:30 p.m. & 7 p.m.

Neil Berg's 107 Years of Broadway
Wed., February 17, 2016 - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Michael Feinstein and his 17-Piece Band
Thurs., February 18, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Patti LaBelle
Tues., February 23, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Moscow Festival Ballet - Cinderella
Wed., February 24, 2016 - 8 p.m.

The Beach Boys
Thurs., February 25, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Vince Gill & Lyle Lovett
Fri., February 26, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Kristin Chenoweth
Sat., February 27, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Josh Groban
Sun., February 28, 2016 - 8 p.m.

The Australian Bee Gees Show
Mon., February 29, 2016 - 8 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