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Mayor Duncan steps down; Spoll back on board

Longboat Key Mayor Jack Duncan resigned his District 2 Commission seat on Dec. 1 citing that he should heed his doctors and allow a full recovery after his heart surgery.

Duncan said that he is recovering quickly and on the mend, but it is a lengthy process and that his personality is very driven and he does not wish to be in a position of shortchanging his health and his duties as mayor and commissioner.

Vice Mayor Terry Gans was voted in as Mayor at the Dec. 5 regular commission meeting, and Commissioner Phill Younger was made Vice Mayor. Former Mayor George Spoll was appointed as the fill in for Duncan’s vacated District 2 seat.

Commissioner Phill Younger said that Duncan worked admirably with neighboring communities and performed his duties well.

Duncan was due to leave the commission on March 20, 2017, due to term limits after serving six years on the commission. Part of his decision-making was due to the fact that his medical condition wouldn’t allow rejoining the commission until February and he believed the disruption and amount of energy needed to stay involved with the myriad of issues made little sense and would not enhance a smooth transition.

Duncan said his work on cell towers was probably the biggest issue he became involved with while on the commission. He questioned the value of adding cell towers on Longboat Key and he got the Town Commission to agree to perform a study that showed other technology was emerging that would not make cell towers necessary.

Another effort made by Duncan was the Urban Land Institute study. He said long-term strategic thinking really didn’t exist in Town Hall.

“We needed to bring in outside experts. We were in a continuous argument between ourselves. It helped give the community a focus,” he added.

For Duncan, the most difficult issues the Town faces are traffic and sea level rise.  Duncan said both are regional and state problems and they are not local Longboat Key problems.

“The state, Longboat and the region are doing very little to plan for this effectively. We are not even asking fundamental questions to help resolve these issues,” said Duncan.

Duncan says the next commission will function properly when it focuses on figuring out what the voters want, not personal interests and biases.

“The strength of the commission is its tremendous experience; the weakness is that same experience can leave you stuck with thinking that doesn’t reflect the future and what residents want.”

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