NORTH PORT — The swearing-in of newly elected North Port city commissioners Cheryl Cook and Rhonda DiFranco has been moved up from next week to 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at City Hall.
On Tuesday, everyone involved, including outgoing commissioners David Garofalo and Mike Treubert, were notified by the City Clerk’s office by noon. The sudden new time and date was not appealing to everyone. “This is a surprise for everyone who thought the ceremony would be the 19th, as advertised by the city and the newspaper,” commission Chair Tom Jones wrote in an email to City Clerk Helen Raimbeau. “Since the special meeting will include the election of the mayor and vice mayor, I believe you have the responsibility to make certain that the public is well advised of the time and place of this meeting. I am certain many will want to attend for that reason and this change, with less than 24 hours’ notice, will deprive many of that opportunity. I am aware you are doing your best, but we must think of our citizens first.” Raimbeau said she didn’t initiate the change. She received a fax from the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office Monday night with the certification of the North Port election. “The city charter says to swear in new commissioners 9:30 a.m. the day after the election is certified,” Raimbeau said. “I didn’t want to go against the charter. I was told it would be late Friday so I planned for Monday, but it all changed on me. Now we are scrambling to get things ready in one day, including a reception.”
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