From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
April 29, 2016
Photo of the Week
It's a wonderful time to sit bayside and soak up the natural beauty of our special city and watch for dolphins -- perhaps in between reading the pages of a good book -- like we encountered this resident doing recently at Bird Key Park.


  • City Commission
    Mon., May 2 - 2:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Downtown Improvement District
    Tues., May 3 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio

  • Development Review Cmte
    Wed., May 4 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

Arborist I
Arborist II
Code Compliance Inspector
Control System Technician I
Criminalist I
Electronic Traffic Signal Tech
Facility Maintenance Tech
Golf Course Attendant
Junior System Administrator
Landscape Maintenance Tech I
Lifeguard I
Maintenance Mechanic I
Maintenance Mechanic II
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant
Spray Tech
Utilities Capital Projects Manager 


This Week's Items to Know:
Van Wezel - New Website   We're proud to announce the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall has a brand new website with a new
The Van Wezel's new logo. 
logo!  The site has a fresh, clean look and, we believe, is easier for users to navigate and find upcoming performances.  The website is still at the same location:

Congratulations to Executive Director Mary Bensel and her team, particularly Digital Media Manager Jason Fedele, who designed the website with support from GravityFree, a local digital marketing firm.  In this day and age, websites need to provide users with a fresh interactive experience.  And, we appreciate the Van Wezel making that happen to ensure they continue to stand out in our vast and popular cultural arts community.
A snapshot of the new Van Wezel website.    
Public Art - Call to Artists    A Call to Artists is now underway for a sculpture that will be placed within a future roundabout at Orange Ave./Ringling Blvd and will become part of the City's extensive permanent public art collection.

We're seeking an experienced artist who has a proven track record creating a significant public art piece which can withstand the  weather conditions in Sarasota.

There is no predetermined theme for the sculpture.  Specific details about the submission process are posted on Call For Entry, a popular website for such listings:

The deadline for submissions is June 5, 2016.  The Public Art Committee will review all the proposals and will make a recommendation to the City Commission, which will make a final decision.

The public art piece will be placed in the middle of the future roundabout at Orange Ave./Ringling Blvd.

We encourage all artists who have successfully completed a major public art commission to apply.  We have many talented artists in Sarasota, and we hope those individuals rise to the challenge and submit their ideas for consideration.

This work is being done well in advance of the roundabout being constructed, so, if all goes according to plan, the sculpture will be ready for installation when the roundabout is finished.  We anticipate construction on the roundabout will begin Summer 2017.  

Finance Dept. - Distinguished Budget Award    For the 26th consecutive year, the City's Finance Department has been honored with the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association.  Being recognized once again by other government finance professionals for our team's extensive knowledge and attention to detail when presenting a budget is a significant achievement. While Finance Director John Lege and his team appear to make it seem commonplace, earning an award of this magnitude consistently for more than a quarter of a century is far from commonplace. 
Those who played a key role with this award include:  Deputy Finance Director Kelly Strickland, Budget Manager Michelle Valentich, Assistant to the Finance Director Susan Dodd and Chief Financial Management Analyst Marjorie Holman  --  congratulations, everyone!  And, a special thank you goes to all our departments who work closely with the Finance team throughout the year with the budget process.

Each professional award accrued by our Finance team is a tangible sign that our finances, which are at the heart of City operations, are in good hands.  

SPD - State & Congressional Awards    Congratulations 3-times over for our Sarasota Police Department!  The commitment and hard work of our officers and volunteers were recognized recently with three significant awards:  one from Governor Rick Scott, and two from Congressman Vern Buchanan.

Earlier this week, the SPD Volunteer Ambassadors were honored with the Champion of Service Award by Gov. Scott during a Florida Cabinet meeting in Tallahassee.  Volunteers are a significant aspect of our community policing program -- and we're proud of the 70 volunteer ambassadors, who together invested over 1,800 hours of service just last month alone.  Well done, everyone!

SPD Volunteer Coordinator Michelle Rinaca holding the Champion of Service Award with Gov. Scott and his Cabinet. 

And last week,  SPD was recognized by Rep. Vern Buchanan with two 16th District Congressional awards.  A Unit Citation was given to the entire Homeless Outreach Team and their ongoing efforts to connect individuals living on the streets with available social services for housing, mental health, substance abuse and other issues.  Last, but not least, Sgt. Demetri Konstantopoulos was recognized with the Congressional Dedication and Professionalism Award for his work with a prostitute diversion program called Turn Your Life Around.
Top:  Rep. Vern Buchanan with Sgt. Demetri Konstantopoulos; Bottom:  Rep. Vern Buchanan with the SPD Homeless Outreach Team 
Congratulations, everyone!  We're proud of our officers and volunteers who make SPD one of the  best community policing agencies in Florida.

Arbor Day - Remembering Bob Lemond     Bob Lemond was truly  a kind man and dear employee with the City for nearly 10 years.  During that time, he worked in the Landscape Division and loved ensuring that Payne Park, the City's crown jewel park, was in excellent condition for the public.  Residents who use the park frequently saw Bob working and appreciated his great care.  Sadly, Bob passed away unexpectedly earlier this year.

To recognize his dedication to Payne Park, a tree was planted in Bob's memory near the Payne Park Auditorium earlier this week as part of the City's Arbor Day celebrations. We planted a red bay tree -- Bob's favorite.  His co-workers in the Landscape Division attended the ceremony, as well as park goers who became acquainted with Bob over the years. Family members also were able to attend, including his parents,who traveled from  Ocala and helped plant the tree and received a proclamation from Mayor Willie Shaw.  To watch some video highlights click here.

Bob was a exemplary steward for Payne Park and will be missed.
A collage of photos from the tree planting ceremony.  Top L to R:  Frank Murray, arborist, plants a red bay tree; plaque memorializing the tree.  Bottom L to R:  Mayor Willie Shaw takes a shovel from Bob Lemond's mother after she helped plant the tree; Bob Lemond highlighted in a 2015 staff photo.
Lose Big, Win Bigger - Winners Announced     Believe it or not, it's been 8 weeks since we told you about the Lose Big, Win Bigger healthy lifestyle challenge at the Robert L. Taylor Community
Elbert Platt was the grand winner, losing 14.5% of his body weight.  He won a Garmin Vivosmart HR.   

68 participants registered and officially weighed-in to start the program.  28 people (or approximately 41%) made it through the two month challenge and officially weighed-out.  All together they lost a total of 194.6 pounds -- bravo!  We're proud of their perserverance, improving their exercise and eating habits.

The top three winners (based on percentage of body weight lost):

1.  Elbert Platt:  Lost 14.5% (59.4 lbs.)
2.  Anna Yoder:  Lost 8.9% (27 lbs.)
3.  Heather Rambo:  Lost 6.1% (12.4 lbs)

Each winner received a nice prize including a Garmin Vivosmart HR, NutriNinja Blender package and a $150 gift card for Fit2Run (Main Street location).

Congratulations to the winners and to all the participants!  It takes perserverance and mental/physical fortitude to modify one's behavior to make healthier choices.  We hope this was a life changing challenge and everyone sticks to their new, healthier habits.  

Upcoming Events 
Gem & Jewelry Show 
Fri., April 29 - Sun., May 1
Municipal Auditorium
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

March for Babies 
Sat., April 30 
J.D. Hamel Park & Ringling Bridge Sidewalk 
7 a.m. - Noon

Bicycle Rodeo 
Sat., April 30 
Ed Smith Stadium (2700 12th St.) 
9 a.m. - Noon 
Prescription Drug Take Back Program 
Sat., April 30 
SPD Headquarters (2099 Adams Lane) 
10 a.m. - 2 p.m. 

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The following is a current list of shows. For more information visit 
Billy Gardell
Fri., April 29 - 8 p.m.

Celtic Woman
Sat., April 30 - 7:30 p.m.

Friday Fest:  Koko Ray & The Keepers 
Fri., June 10 - 5 p.m.
MAKS & VAL - Our Way
Thurs., June 16 - 8 p.m.

Friday Fest:  Jah Movement
Fri., July 29 - 5 p.m.

Friday Fest:  Rebelheart
Fri., August 26 - 5 p.m.

Brian Wilson
Sun., Sept. 11 - 8 p.m.

Friday Fest:  Dr. Dave Band
Fri., September 23 - 5 p.m.

Celtic Thunder
Sat., Oct. 15 - 8 p.m.

Doo Wop Spectacular
Sat., October 22 - 7:30 p.m.

ZZ Top
Mon., October 31 - 8 p.m.
Tickets on sale September 1

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