Longboat Key Election 2013: Profile on Phill Younger

Associate Publisher

On March 12, 2013, Longboat Key voters will decide the winner in the three contested seats up for election. The new commission will be charged with forming the town’s future direction, especially when it comes to redevelopment and the revitalization of Longboat Key.

A total of four seats are up for election with Commissioner Jack Duncan as the sole candidate running unopposed for re-election to his District 2 seat.

The contested races are comprised of incumbent Mayor Jim Brown being challenged by resident Larry Grossman for the District 4 seat; At-Large incumbent Commissioner Phill Younger against former Commissioner and Village resident Gene Jaleski and the  At-Large seat held by Terry Gans is being challenged by south Longboat Key resident Irwin Pastor.

Longboat Key News is publishing the third in a series of in depth interviews in the coming weeks prior to the March 12 election. 

This week, profiles of Commissioner Phill Younger and Gene Jaleski are featured. Here is what Younger had to say:

Phill Younger

Commissioner Phill Younger has served on the town commission for 3 years. He was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and attended schools in Atlanta like Georgia Tech where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Management asw ell as graduate school. Younger subsequently attended Woodrow Wilson College of Law where he received his Juris Doctor of Law.

After Younger finished his Bachelor’s degree, he went into the Army, rising to the rank of First Lieutenant and receiving the Bronze Star. He served in the Vietnam War from 1969-70 and left the Army in May of 1970.

Younger became a practicing attorney in 1978, and during his career worked primarily with Delta Airlines regarding affirmative action and contracts. Younger also had a private practice, but his main focus was with Delta Airlines in the technical operations for 32 years until he retired. Younger still has an active law license in Georgia and is a member of the Sarasota Bar, which is more of an associate membership.

Younger and his wife, Fanny, also met in Atlanta and were married in 1985. With regard to finding their home on Longboat Key, Younger had traveled extensively as a result of working through Delta Airlines, and had been in and out of Sarasota for the weekend many times and decided to invest in the area. First, Fanny and Phill went to Naples, but couldn’t find what they wanted.

“For what they were selling, the cost wasn’t in line, and there weren’t the best beaches. Fort Myers was next, and it was 20 miles inland, and we wanted to be near the beach, so we had no interest,” said Younger. The couple next drove north to Sarasota and Longboat Key.

The Youngers bought their first house on Longboat Key in 1987 in Country Club Shores as an investment. Then after Fanny’s parents retired in 1989, their parents moved into the Country Club Shores home, and Phill and Fanny bought a new house in the Bayou in 2004.

Younger adds that Longboat Key is one of the best locations they’ve ever seen. “We’ve traveled extensively throughout our marriage across the country and overseas, and we’ve seen a lot of nice places, and without a doubt Longboat Key is within the top ten,” said Younger.

In terms of his skills and what he brings to the town commission, Younger says he brings his ability to do research, his objectivity and his leadership skills from his past experience as an attorney.

“I’ve brought the ability to do objective, in depth research to get to the heart of the matter, to look at the economics and the overall feasibility of something and weigh it and present it. I feel like I bring a lot of financial experience from being with Delta,” said Younger.

Younger has helped change the way some of the town’s policies are performed, including the beach renourishment. Younger did some research and found a new way to do the renourishment that would save the town money.

“I was able to put enough information out there that we could do the beaches in a more efficient and effective way and saved the town $30 million while still protecting the beaches,” added Younger.

Younger has also been involved with the town’s employee pension contract negotiations. He notes, “This was the first time I was able to get involved with the contract negotiations and start to address this. I didn’t do anything by myself, and you’ve got to convince others of your ideas and what we have out on the table right now is a unique, milestone proposal that is frankly going to be the model for other towns. Longboat Key and this commission and myself are putting something out there that is going to be a model for the entire state. It’s a huge thing that is going to cap our liability.”

Younger also has worked on the transparency for the town’s finances and working with Town Manager David Bullock for making the towns’ financial information more accessible.

Telecommunications are also something Younger feels needs to be addressed, and said, “We’ve got to protect our island’s beauty and property values and we’re setting up procedures to do so.”

Younger also notes that if re-elected, he will be focusing on the town’s codes and reviewing them and getting them in line is of the utmost priority.

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