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  • New city officials assume office on Monday

    300-CITY-HALL-NIGHTS-LIGHTSFlorida Supreme Court Justice Peggy A. Quince will be in St Augustine Monday evening to perform the investiture of the city’s new mayor, Nancy Shaver. Freshman commissioner, Todd Neville, and returning commissioner, Nancy Sikes-Kline, will be installed by County Court Judge Charles J. Tinlin.

    “This is a historic occasion,” Historic City News editor-in-chief, Michael Gold, said Friday. “This will be the first time in St Augustine’s 450-year existence that a female mayor has been elected directly by the citizens, and Mayor Shaver is only the second woman to ever hold the office.”

    Gold believes the investiture has additional significance.

    “The residents spoke in this election,” said Gold, a follower of local political organizations and a student of public administration. “An entire class of residents, many of whom are voting in St Augustine for the first time, associate themselves with more traditional, conservative values. They say they are fed up with what they see as extravagant government spending at a time when they are having to make sacrifices just to pay their taxes.”

    Gold says this election outcome was predictable, and he called it correctly months ago after first meeting our new mayor. Voter fatigue over Olympic-scale spending on exclusive 450th parties, junkets to Spain for politicians and city staff, as well as a feeling of entitlement by a political dynasty of “insiders” — at the expense of the “outsiders” — spelled doom for the last administration.

    “If you had listened to the residents — you would have seen what I saw coming,” Gold pointed out. “There was a clearly widening disconnect in communications and representation over the past six or eight years. What the voters wanted and what the mayor and commissioners were delivering were two different things.”

    Look for the “new” commission to be more accessible and responsive to the needs of the larger, local community. Improving the quality of life for those of us who live and work here every day will become the top priority. Look for the focus of the commission to be on the business of providing community services, establishing policies that allow growth and promote a healthy economy — without overreaching or over regulating free and competitive commerce.

    Ceremonies begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Alcazar Room at City Hall.

    400-NANCY-SHAVERMayor – Nancy Shaver replaces four-term Mayor Joe Boles. A resident of five years, Nancy is a relative newcomer to the city but not to problem solving, with more than 30 years in business consulting. She promises community involvement in gathering facts and finding solutions.

    400-TODD-NEVILLE-PORTRAITCommissioner – Todd Neville takes the seat being vacated by Don Crichlow who was appointed earlier to replace Bill Leary after his resignation. Todd, a certified public accountant, puts core municipal services at the top of his priority list with a focus on customer service to residents and stakeholders.

    300-NANCY-SIKES-KLINECommissioner – Nancy Sikes-Kline returns for a second four-year term. She previously served for two years. A workhorse who’s brought transportation studies and funding from her representation on the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization, Nancy promises to be a thoughtful, reasonable civic leader who works hard for issues people care about.

    At the midpoint of their four-year terms are:

    Commissioner – Leanna Freeman, a former vice mayor, who’s often challenged city expenditures, particularly the city hall-managed 450th commemoration, joining Commissioner Sikes-Kline recently in voting against both additional 450th funding and the city budget which included it.

    Commissioner – Roxanne Horvath pledged a new vision project during her campaign two years ago and now heads up Visioning 2014 and Beyond, an updating of former Mayor Greg Baker’s 1995 vision project.

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